Arena of Ares has been taking Kickstarter by storm, with over 50% of their goal in less than a week! I’ve had the pleasure to talk to Jacob Beckerman, the CEO of Prodigy Games, and have been granted permission to post the interview right here on Caffeine Gaming, for your daily gaming news!

A Game like Arena of Ares hasn’t really been done before on an up to date engine. What would you say is the most unique part about Arena of Ares that makes it stand out of the crowd of Indie games?

“As you said, Arena of Ares hasn’t really been done before. As a game it falls into two categories; it’s an indie game and it’s an eSport. I think it’s unique in both of these. As far as indie games go, Arena of Ares is a lot more ambitious than most projects. I think of it kind of like a startup in that it’s meant to go viral and be played by a lot of people in a lot of places. Pixel art games are cool — and I’ve made and play a lot of them — but I wanted to make something that looked like it could have come from a AAA publisher. As eSports go, Arena of Ares offers a lot more customization. There’s no “champion” model, for example. You make your build from a selection of thousands of items, crafted from things you earn by beating other players. The ELO ladder is similar to other games, but our planned tournament features — that is, letting gamers make tournaments in the game — put ahead of the rest.” – Jacob Beckerman

So far the main spells in the game are cast with one’s hands. Will it be possible to form a sword or a bow using mana?

“We want to enable all types of Mage, from destruction to conjuration to alteration to things we haven’t even heard of. We have already begun implementing ideas from Reddit — we did a Reddit giveaway to people who came up with spells. After the game launches, we will have gamers submit spells for review that we might then implement. And I’m not saying this just for the sake of ‘community outreach’. Thinking of spells is really hard and it’s easier when we pool our collective brainpower.” – Jacob Beckerman

3v3 matches are being considered by your team if the community wants it, but could it possibly be that a 5v5 match in a bigger arena such as a town or castle could prove to be quite a fun experience for the players?

“We’re open to higher player counts if the community demands it. However, I want to focus on the eSport aspect of Arena of Ares. I think that’s hard to do when you have many different game modes because they fragment the community. The great thing about MOBAs is that there’s only really one game mode and one map, so it’s easy for everyone to be on the same page. But yes, we will consider different ideas from the community. Another issue with having different maps and game modes is it adds to the difficulty of balancing the game. We’re serious about Arena of Ares being a competitive game and plan on supporting the eSports scene with tournaments and prizes. For Arena of Ares to achieve eSport status, it needs to be balanced.” – Jacob Beckerman

Arena of Ares Spell

Ares is the Greek god of war, but will it be possible for players to call upon the powers of Asclepius (god of healing at times)? And with that, potentially using other gods powers to help defeat their foes?

“Yes! We haven’t showcased healing in our marketing materials yet, but it’s already in the game. We have a few healing spells and a mirror spell that creates a dome around your Mage and reflects all incoming projectiles.” – Jacob Beckerman

Will there be a campaign?

“No. We have a rich lore embedded in Homeric legend supporting the game, but there will be no campaign.” – Jacob Beckerman

What game modes are planned?

“Deathmatches. 1v1, and possibly 2v2 and higher player counts. But again, we’re developing this with community feedback.” – Jacob Beckerman

Arena of Ares Screenshot

How did the idea start?

“I had just finished classes for the summer and really wanted to play a game like (what would become) Arena of Ares. I looked long and hard on YouTube and Google for a game to satisfy my itch but found nothing so decided to go ahead and make it. I approached my friend Theo to help out, and my father to let us use his office space.” – Jacob Beckerman

Will it be possible for players to refrain from using spells and simply walk into the arena with a speed booster, armor and a sword to defeat their foe?

“Each player takes five spells, two elementals (e.g. teleport, slow time, telekinesis, etc.), and one obelisk. If you want to do this playstyle you could take a sword and make all your spells melee-based or damage-enhancers. For elementals, you’d probably want to take teleport and slow time so you don’t get kited around.” – Jacob Beckerman

Arena of Ares will be released on Steam (potentially early access), so be prepared to add it to your wishlists if you haven’t backed it on Kickstarter yet!

-Gregory Neale (X_Pilot)