Akaneiro: Demon Hunters
Frequently Asked Questions
If there's anything not explained in this FAQ, then simply reply to the thread and we'll do our best to answer all questions you have.
Closed Beta testers should also read the User Guide
What is Akaneiro: Demon Hunters?
Akaneiro is an Action Role-Playing Game with mechanics in the vein of Diablo, Titan Quest and Torchlight. It’s being developed for initial release on PC and Mac.
Why an ARPG?
The “Red Riding Hood hunts in Japan” concept has been floating around the studio for some time. We wanted to experiment with some RPG systems, but not abandon the action game mechanics that had originally been tied to the high concept. So an Action RPG was also the most compatible choice. Also, we love playing ARPGs and always wanted to make one that deviated from the typical western high-fantasy setting.
GAME CURRENCY - KARMA
What exactly is Karma?
Karma is the crystallized blood of fallen demons. Red Hunters use themas a form of currency. Karma is used to unlock new areas, resupply, upgrade equipment and purchase training. Collecting Karma Shards as they fall from defeated enemies also provides a small amount of instant healing.
How do I earn Karma Shards (game currency)?
In addition to killing enemies, completing missions provides a Karma reward. Equipment and some items can also be sold or transmuted to earn Karma.
Transmute items to Karma? What do you mean?
Hunters can extract Karma from any equipment item. This process is called transmuting. It will provide less Karma than selling the item at a vendor, but can be performed during missions when vendors are often unavailable.
Will the game really be free?
Yes, you will not require any investment of real money to play Akaneiro. All purchases made in the game can be made with Karma.
How will Spicy Horse make money, if it's all free? What's the catch?
There's no catch, and no need for one. Karma can be earned through investing time in gameplay - the more time you play, the more you will earn. Not all players have the same amount of time to invest in the game, however. For these players we provide the option of directly purchasing Karma. We're implementing a system that caters to both types of player, whilst excluding neither. Much like actual Karma, it's about balance!
So can players pay to become more powerful?
Though players may choose to purchase Karma to make life a littleeasier, they cannot purchase experience. Missions must be completed in sequence,and this is not a step players can skip. To access more powerful abilities, SpiritHelper Pets, defeat stronger enemies and earn better items all players must completemissions and earn experience.
What specifically can Karma be usedfor?
· Unlocking new Areas expansions (3 mission set) and raising player levelcap.
· Reviving hunter on collapse or other mission failure condition. This cost scales with player level, and grows with subsequent deaths in a singlemission (resets on return to village).
· Training in Abilities and Mastery.
· Summoning Spirit Helper Pets.
· Manually controlling mission Threat Level.
· Purchasing Equipment, Consumables and other services in Yomi Village.
For more discussion on Karma and the Payment Model, check out this great thread on SpicyWorld-http://spicyworld.spicyhorse.com/social/thread-616-1-1.html
PLAYER CHARACTERWhat options do I have at character creation?
Though we don’t feature prescribed class paths, a new character must select abase Discipline from Prowess, Fortitude or Cunning. These Disciplines represent the 3 main branches of hunter training within the Order, and determine what base stats, weapon/armor mastery and abilities the character will begin with.After creation you are free to deviate from this path.
How does my character grow more powerful?
When leveling up, you can select a Discipline focus which determines base stat increases. New levels improve abilities, attack power, defense,critical attacks, health, energy, etc. Training in new abilities, weapon and armor mastery opens up new possibilities.
How is experience earned?
Each common enemy killed provides a small amount of experience. Bosses and Rare enemies provide larger amounts. Killing several enemies in quick succession earns bonus experience. Mission rewards deliver the largest lump sumof experience.
Are there any restrictions on what abilities or equipment my character can use?
We don’t apply any class-style dividing lines which prevent your character from learning a given skill or using an item. As long as level and stat requirements are met, you can use it. We want players to experiment and find exactly the right build for personal play style.
Furthermore, any armor and weapon item can have any stat applied – so you can look exactly as you prefer without sacrificing power or versatility. Are you a monk with a giant claymore? Perhaps a geisha with dual hand scythes? Go for it – it’s your character, so do it your way.
Can I have multiple characters?
Yes. All characters share the same pool of currency (Karma), mission completion and world status.
What are these pets you can summon? Do they fight for you?
You can choose from a range of small Spirit Helper companions that provide effects supporting various play styles. Spirit Helpers become more powerful as your character gains levels. They do not engage directly in combat.
GAMEPLAYHow does the game begin?
After sailing from mainland Japan, your hunter arrives at Yomi Village – which is under attack by Yokai. After the village is safe, you a free to undertake missions issued by the Order of Akane.
What can I do in Yomi Village?
You can engage in the usual trade activities, purchase food and drink, upgrade your equipment, review world/mission state and train.
How is the game levels presented?
The first world region is Yomi Forest, which contains several Areas. Each Area presents a different environment style, and introduces new enemies. An area contains several missions that must be completed before the following area is unlocked. The initial release will feature 24+ missions over 8 different areas.
What are the areas available in beta?
· Shigemori River – Flowing down from the central mountain ranges of Yomi Island, this river borders a deep pine forest and runs alongside the Temple Highroad.
· Jawbone Ravine - Craggy ravines cut through forested areas and expose caves passages that lead to a vast underground lake.
· Bloodroot Cemetery - Gnarled roots choke and grasp at clusters of forgotten gravestones and weathered monuments.
· Bloodfang Fort - Long abandoned, this temple ruin serves as a base for the Bloodfang Werewolf Clan. A large Yokai army is gathering here.
· Shivering Pines - An unearthly cold has settled over this ancient pine forest, freezing the nearby lake solid.
Will more missions be added later?
We will be constantly working on new expansion packs that provide completely new area sets with differing environments, enemies and items as well as increased level caps. Our production cycle should allow us to keep feeding our players new and exciting adventures before the old content becomes stale.We can certainly achieve this goal more easily than some of our grandiose, but less agile contemporaries…
In the month immediately after release, we'll add 4 new areas (12 new missions) that go beyond those featured in closed beta. You'll see new environments, enemies and an increased level cap with each area added. The new areas are as follows-
· Yurei Caverns - Underground water has slowly carved out this immense hive of caverns. Many foul things have taken up residence.
· Melon Fields - The coastal edge of the forest is home to a small farming community, often besieged by Yokai.
· Temple Depths - The catacombs that run under the temple adjoin a series of deep caverns. It's rumored some of these run even deeper into the earth below.
What do missions involve, and how do I complete them?
Each mission will set your hunter a variety of task objectives that must be completed. Usually this involves a whole lot of demon killing. Missions feature randomized loot and enemy spawning, branching paths and rare spawns. Almost all missions culminate in a boss encounter.
You’ll receive an experience and Karma reward on successful mission completion. The amount will depend on the mission itself, and how well you performed during it.You’ll also receive some item based rewards.
So what happens if I die or fail amission?
If, for any reason, the mission is failed – you’ll have a chance to continue if you have enough Karma on hand. Should you be unable or unwilling to continue, you will be whisked magically back to Yomi Village – the potential mission reward and any experience earned in that mission would be lost.
What is Mission Threat?
Essentially this is a system that provides difficulty variance, as well as a scaling reward based on the amount of Threat (from Yokai) an area is under.
Overtime, missions and areas will increase in threat. Higher Threat Level means stronger enemies, new bosses, new quests and higher mission rewards. When a mission is completed, Threat Level will drop.
In missions with lower threat, the enemies are easier to dispatch and do less damage. Mission rewards are lessened,reflecting the lesser need for Red Hunter presence in the mission location. Go where you're needed for greater reward!
What effect do my actions have on the world?
The overall threat levels of all areas in the world contribute toward a global “Karmic World Balance”. Depending on the state of this balance, enemies and drops will be modified. Lower total threat will increase the quality of loot dropped. Higher total threat will increase experience rewards. Achieving balance between these two extremes provides a bit of both benefits.
How can I control Threat? (not available in beta)
You can exert direct control over threat level for each mission by energizing Runes of Danger and Safety, shown under the Threat Panel in the mission list. Energizing a Rune costs Karma.
TRADE, EQUIPMENT & ITEMSHow do I get equipment? Is it randomized?
Equipment loot is earned from killing enemies, as per usual. It can also be purchased in the village, though this is primarily to support crafting and upgrading. The best way to get quality loot is to pry it from cold, dead Yokai hands/claws/tentacles.
We have a fully randomized loot system in place, which any ARPG enthusiast will find familiar. Each piece of equipment has randomized properties that define the appearance, base stats, enchantments, element and color. All of these can also be customized independently by the player through our crafting system – so you can build the weapon that suits your needs precisely.
How many different types of weapon andarmor will you feature?
Initially we’ll we have 10 different weapon types, each with 10 design variations across 4 different attack styles. There are 30 different armor sets, each with 3 distinct pieces visible on player. From samurai to actor and everything in-between. We’ll continually be expanding this large list.
Each of those may feature any combination of the 3 special properties (with varying property levels) when randomly generated.
What sort of weapon & armor trainingis available?
Your character can further specialize in specific weapon and armor via mastery training, which unlocks bonus effects associated with that mastery type. Example: Two-Handed Mastery provides a chance to stun enemies with regular melee attacks.
What consumable items are there?
Traditional food and drink items provide passive effects for long durations. They can be purchased in Yomi Village from the Elder Shaman at hermake shift "Shammy Mart".
ENEMIESHow many different enemies are featured?
We have 8 enemy “families” (species), each with several variant designs including unique bosses. At current count we have over 100 enemy variants. With each new area and mission, this list often grows.
Will bosses behave differently than regular enemies?
Bosses, rare enemies and some stronger common enemies will feature more advanced combat behavior. They will use offensive and support abilities to augment regular attacks. Elemental attacks are employed by some enemies, too. Expect a more challenging battle when facing these enemies.
Will co-op be supported?
Yes, we’ll feature co-op; though for now it's limited to asynchronous. We'd love to add real time co-op in future.
How does the asynchronous Co-op work? (Experience sharing not available in beta)
You be able to summon a Spirit Ally - sort of an astral projection of another player’s character to serve as an AI companion during missions. That player will receive experience in return for services rendered the next time they start the game.
What about PvP?
As with co-op, we'd like to include it – though the time frame is less certain. It’s very important to us that we get it right before it’s added, especially as it introduces a completely new dynamic to overall player power and relative value of abilities, items and pets relative to PvE.
ART & SOUND
So… Okami much?
Visually, absolutely - we share the same artistic goal and references. Clover Studio certainly achieved it, and while we're still applying art polish, we're flattered by the comparisons.
What are your other artistic influences?
Beyond videogames (*gasp*), we referenced a long and wide list of Japanese traditional artists and art methods. The LoneWolf and Cub manga and the art of Kawai Gyokudō have been a particularly strong influence; the former on visual effects and the latter on environment art.
Music sounds fantastic, who's composingit?
Our in house master of sound, Kian How, produces SFX and music for all the current Spicy Horse titles. He’s a talented guy - check out his website.
THEMES & SETTING
What does “Akaneiro” mean and why did you choose this name?
It’s derived from Japanese language. “Akane” refers to a specific type of plant. “Iro” means color (of). The roots of this plant, called “Madder” in English, can be used to produce a specific hue of red dye. It’s a name heavy with symbolism, too – roots of blood red, a “madder” color could be interpreted as the color of anger. Thus - “Angry Red”.
So who - or what - is Akaneiro?
Akaneiro is the Japanese name given to a famed demon-hunter. She is believed to have been the same young girl that inspired the tale of Red Riding Hood. After her (well documented) encounter with a not-so-ordinary wolf "Little" Red resolved that rather than wait meekly to be consumed, she would stand and fight against the rising power of demon-kind. Travelling eastward with her close companions - The Dark Huntsman and the Forest Mother, Red battled against demonic evil in every form. Great warriors joined her pilgrimage, drawn to her many victories and great deeds. Eventually they reached Japan, where a terrestrial gate to hell had been breached. This was where the ultimate battle would be fought. Gathering her followers into an army, she founded the Order of Akane. Taking the name given to her by locals - Akaneiro, she lead them to war against hell.
How else does the game reference Red Riding Hood?
As mentioned above, the Order of Akane is rumored to have been founded by the “real” Red Riding Hood. The disciplines and beliefs of the Order are built around the three primary human character archetypes featured in the Red Riding Hood – The Red Girl, The Dark Huntsman and The Forest Mother. Respectively these are based upon Red, The Huntsman and Red’s Mother/Grandmother. We also feature a fair number of wolves and werewolf enemies in our initial areas. They pose the first major organized demon threat in the game. They’re led by the ultimate big bad wolf…
What is the Order of Akane?
The Order is a templar-like group of demon hunters who fight to maintain the balance between humanity and demon-kind. It fights this battle globally, on many fronts – though our game initially focuses around the Japan-based chapter. Order members are commonly referred to as “Red Hunters”.
So who is my character?
The player character is a young Red Hunter, dispatched as a scout to ascertain the true threat posed to Yomi Island by the rising Yokai numbers and aggression. If the danger is real, then leave has been given to eliminate the threat by striking at Yokai leaders.
What makes these hunters special?
In Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, the Red Hunters fight against Yokai (Japanese folk monsters/demons). The blood of slain Yokai crystallizes, forming glowing red Karma Shards. The power stored within Karma Shards allows Red Hunters to master almost super-human combat techniques necessary when facing Yokai. Karma acts as the primary currency in Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, used by the player to purchase all goods and services. Apart from this augmented performance, they receive a high level of training intactics, survival and natural magic.
So they kill Yokai on sight?
Recently, human encroachment and conflict has provoked the more aggressive Yokai. The incidences of violence escalate, and some Yokai have begun to organize and prepare for war under the leadership of powerful Demon Kings. Officially, it is this type of demon threat that the Order is sanctioned to prevent.
Do they kill “good” Yokai?
There are many Yokai who pose no threat to the balance between humanand demon. On the contrary, some are quite harmless - even helpful. Those that are dangerous often stay far from human settlements. In these cases, the Order will not act against Yokai.There are some dissenting voices within in the Order, however. These splinter groups would prefer to simply exterminate Yokai altogether.
Besides traditional Yokai, what other enemies are featured?
Some wild animals have become corrupted by demonic influence and very hostile as a result. Later expansions will introduce some human enemies, representing as yet unannounced factions.
Where and when is the game set?
Our setting is mid to late 19th century Japan. The game takes place on the fictional Yomi Island, north of Hokkaido. Yomi Island is inhabited by a mixture of the indigenous Ainu, Japanese and a whole bunch of angry Yokai.
What role do the Ainu people play?
We tap into some Ainu mythology, and the totemic aspects of the culture. Several NPCs are Ainu, and we use some specifically Ainu yokai and folklore too. We also try to use some of that motif in the general design of graphic elements and patterns in the UI and world. The Ainu culture has a quite distinct visual presence. It was interesting to explore and integrate it.
Why the Japanese setting andinfluence?
While the western high fantasy setting functions perfectly well formost ARPGs, we really wanted to depart from that theme. The folklore of Japan and neighboring regions is rich and inspiring, and we were also able to marry our art style to it.The reason we chose that particular time in Japanese history was that it was when Japan properly re-opened itself to relations and trade with western nations. This was a major culture clash, and inspired great change (not all of it positive). Since we’re introducing some western themes into an eastern setting, it seemed like an appropriate time period.
Check out our coverage on Steam GreenLight too.
Further note for Closed Beta testers -
For information on features to be included in future updates, check the Missing/Planned Features list.