As we explored the show floor at PAX West 2019, we couldn’t help but find ourselves drawn to the booth for Alluris. Tucked away against a wall behind the massive PlayStation booth, Alluris beckoned us with classical music and the promise of cookies. Did we take a cookie? We absolutely did. Was it the best thing we ate all PAX? It sure was.
Scarfing down the cookie, we watched the trailer for Alluris play and observed as people tried out the demo. The concept of Alluris is pretty straightforward in that it takes a storytelling style similar to D&D and mixes it with Tinder swipe mechanics. Swipe right to accept a story condition, or swipe left to reject.
Using these mechanics, you can play through the entire game. It’s quick, it’s fun, and it’s wonderfully accessible. Already sold on the game, we found ourselves curious about the development process behind it. How did a group of 3 brothers come together to make something so cohesive and addicting to play? Here’s what we found out!
PAX West 2019: Alluris
Jumping right in, who are you and what are you showing here at PAX?
- Raymond Weiler: We are 562 Interactive. I’m Ray, I’m the artist.
- William Weiler: I’m Will, I’m the programmer.
Tell us more about Alluris!
- Ray: Alluris is a “swipe your own adventure” game. Think fantasy Oregon Trail meets Tinder. You’re a hero out on the road on your adventure and everything that happens, happens as a card. You swipe left and right to make choices, but those choices change contextually based on who you are, who you’ve talked to, what you’ve done, who you kill, or save, or marry. We wanted that feeling of Pathfinder D&D with your friends that’s kind of come off the rails a little distilled down to a single-player experience about making choices and seeing how they ripple out through the world and change scenarios.
What inspired you guys to make Alluris?
- Will: Alluris came from a space where we wanted to be able to build like a really fun sort of adventure-y D&D style RPG but we had a few friends – especially one of my friends who has certain mobility issues – they have a hard time playing really high-energy games or games that have complicated hand stuff.
- Ray: Control issues, so physical disability.
- Will: As part of that, when we went to design this game, we realized this is a great opportunity to build a game that can receive input through any method. Something that, no matter who you are or how you try to play it, there will always be a way for you to play it. Whether through the Microsoft Accessibility Controller – or through touch controls – or if you only use a controller then you can use a controller. It’s all of that.
- Ray: Or just keyboard, or mouse and keyboard. Or just mouse. We wanted to make sure that it was totally compatible with as many ways to play as possible.
- Will: Which is a lot of the reason why we’re coming to Xbox as part of the ID@Xbox program because of their controller and all of that.
- Ray: They have a great initiative for that.
How big is your team?
- Will: It’s 3 people. It’s just the 3 of us brothers; Ray, me, and Preston. He [Ray] does all the art, I program it, and Preston does all the business and marketing stuff.
- Ray: Very much in the family.
What are some of the challenges you face as a small team?
- Ray: Well, we’re brothers so we want to murder each other a lot, but I think that makes the game better because we don’t have a filter. We just want to get it done, we want what’s best for the game.
- Will: With the few people, it’s a lot of like, how many paintings can we get out of him [Ray] in a day? How many cards can we get written in a day?
- Ray: There are hundreds of pages of story in this game and every little piece needs a full-scale illustration. At one point I was making 10-12 illustrations a day for this game. We are fully self-funded, we can’t afford to go out and get a legion of artists to make Hearthstone style cards. So it was, how much can I do? How much can we get done? What is our realistic timeline for getting the game done, and what is the full content? What does that look like? What do we expect people to be able to play at launch?
What are some of the choices players will have to make in Alluris?
- Will: The way that the narrative is kind of built, you get the card prompt, and the card prompts are designed to be largely normal Dungeons and Dragons situations. Like oh, you come across a waterfall. Pretty normal. Players, what do you want to do? At a table, the response will always be along the lines of, “We want to jump off the waterfall!” As a DM you turn around and say, “Hold on, that will do too much damage to you.”
- Ray: Strongly discourage it.
- Will: But they’re like, “Well, hold on, I have this barrel that I’ve been carrying in my pocket for the last 5 months of us playing this game. I’m going to pull that out, and I’m going to ride the barrel over the waterfall!” It’s like, you’ve had a barrel in your inventory? Yeah, I have! Ok, I guess I can’t stop you, go ahead. That’s the point. [Alluris] is like, here’s the situation player, and the swipe options are bonkers.
- Ray: It ranges from mundane choices all the way to just crazy options.
Are there plans to bring this game to other platforms like Nintendo Switch?
- Will: Moving forward, we really want to eventually see this come to things like Switch.
- Ray: We get a lot of requests for Switch.
- Will: Also things like PlayStation 4. The reality of the development is, with 3 people, there are only so many platforms we can do at a time. It’s a lot of development work – engine side, design side – to get it to behave on all the consoles. Look post-launch, the next month or two after launch, to see those things coming out of the pipe for Switch, PlayStation 4, and beyond.
- Ray: We are 5 months in, and we’re a month and a half out. We will wide release at launch for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox One. We will have all that, there will be a place for you to play. We would like to definitely be on Switch, if we can do it we will absolutely do it post-launch.
What’s the one thing players should know about Alluris?
- Ray: One of the big things is we have a community growing on Discord, that’s where we like to engage with everybody. We are all on there, we are doing the Summer Fest for Alluris where we do Twitch streams of me illustrating and playing the game. We do announcements through that as well as giveaways. We’re an official Discord, if you just search “Alluris” or discord.gg/alluris you will find us. If you message The Wizard of Alluris on the Discord, we will give you a Steam key for the demo. You can play right now at home. It’s a small version of the game, so just about 50-ish cards out of 500.
- Will: Assume like 30 minutes to play.
- Ray: It will give you a sense of whether you’ll like this game.