By Simon Moore on February 26, 2015 at 6:17am
Every now and then someone, somewhere tries and ambitious project and Flintlock Studios are doing just that as they take the fantasy genre to a Prehistoric Era with their Real Time Strategy game for the PC, “Lithic”.
An ancient group of reptilian humanoids complete a ritual that aims to bring a powerful demi-god known as a “Creator Spirit” to their home-world. The ritual as it turned out was too powerful, summoning not just the creator spirit but a host of them. Too much energy gathered in a single spot caused a devastating expulsion of energy, wiping out all but a few of the ritualists and their followers. The few that would survive the blast would be doomed to wander the planet, lost, confused and hostile. Some of the spirits summoned found themselves attached to the creatures of the world, with others thrust into the rocks and earth, trees and rivers. Some were fortunate enough to be connected with the minds and souls of primitive tribes. These spirits are now on a mission to aid their hosts, improving them culturally and technologically with the slim hope that they can advance to a point where they can assist the Creator Spirit in re-ascending to the godly plane.
That’s the background to “Lithic” or at least an insight into the world that has been created. It’s an ambitious project because not only have flintlock studios been working on the core mechanics of the title but also the story, lore and history of the world. The great attention to detail seems like an arduous journey, is one that creates a rich world filled with diverse races and will also be helping to shape the world from a development standpoint. The game is still in early development so the character models are not perfect, but from the pieces we've seen of the world, it certainly has the potential to be a beautifully crafted world.
“The mythology of Lithic helps to inspire the design of the game. Everything in the game is influenced by the story and the universe we are creating” - Lead Designer Jon Hughes
In “Lithic” you will control one of the trapped spirits. You guide a tribe of one of five races in exploring the land they call home, helping them advance the concept of their cultural and technological evolution; from primitives incapable of speech through to advanced stone tool creation. The game is primarily an RTS and is not designed to focus on micro-management. This is something lead developer Tom Stevenson was keen to make clear saying,“The AI in the game will deal with the tribe’s basic needs such as sleep and hunger, allowing the player to focus on the more important game events.”
As the player you will have to survive against not only against other tribes and prehistoric creatures but also the environment and world. It’s a dangerous enemy that will need thought beyond food and weapons, being an ever present danger. Capable of striking any tribe member down. Death however doesn’t necessarily mean the game is over, it just means there will be consequences for the rest of the tribe. This is one of the more interesting aspects on offer, and one which will bring its own set of challenges to the player as discussed by the lead developer,
“In Lithic the death of a character will lead to the loss of any knowledge that character had. It then becomes a vital part of the game for the player to make sure knowledge is passed on between tribe members in case a death should happen.” - Jon Hughes
Knowledge has the potential to become the most valuable resource, generation after generation will improve only if you dedicate the time to learning and progressing as a society. With an interesting set of mechanics and a potentially expansive world, “Lithic” is certainly a game which could expand and re-imagine the RTS genre.
Lithic has been in active development since May 2014 and is currently on Steam Greenlight. An Early Access release is planned for Early 2015. You can find “Lithic” on Twitter @lithicthegame
Lithic Steam Page