“Codename: Islands” is a multiplayer survival craft game project by indie studio Treehouse Games that was suddenly announced in July 2023. Game*Spark spoke to Treehouse Games about this game, which aims to be a 100% cooperative game and was inspired by Minecraft, Valheim, and Terraria.
The person who received the answer was studio CEO Michael Chu. This is a voluminous Q&A that gives a glimpse of the goal of this work, for which there is still little information.
A fun survival craft game for both small and large players, in which you build a village on an island as someone with a special connection to nature. First, please
introduce yourself. Please also tell us about the development studio Treehouse Games and the overview of Codename: Islands.
Michael Chu (hereinafter referred to as Michael): Treehouse Games is a studio founded by myself, Michael Chu (CEO), Ryan Sullivan (Development Director), and Andrea Sepenzis (Creative Director). Michael handles business, and Andrea and Ryan work on our debut title, Codename: Islands. Andrea leads the design team and provides overall direction for the project, while Ryan handles the operational and technical aspects of development.
Codename: Islands is a cooperative survival craft game where players work together to build settlements on magical islands in a mysterious ocean world. Players are called “Runeborn”, people with a special connection to spirits and nature, who will restore the balance of the world’s natural forces, protect the defenseless, bond with the island’s spirits, and enrich the island. . While building their island village, players explore different regions of the world with different magical resources, enemies, island villages, and treasures. You can use the items you earn to make your island more powerful and build beautiful advanced homes, buildings, and equipment.
This game is a multiplayer online game, but it is not an “MMO”. Players play on private servers with up to 16 players. If you want to play with new friends, you have the option to make your server public so other players can find and join. You can play in small or large groups, and if your friends are offline, you can support the group and take care of the island on your own. If your friends are online, there are a variety of activities available to help you progress through the game together.
–Please tell us about the features of this work and the development process.
Michael: Firstly, the setting is a magical ocean world for players to explore, sailing, surfing, and riding magical sea creatures. There are many islands around the world, and new and surprising islands will be added after the game’s release.
It also features a building system that allows players to work together to create beautiful homes, temples, piers, and other structures on a shared living island. With plenty of furniture, coloring, and other customization options, players will feel like they can truly express themselves through their buildings.
I would also like you to pay attention to the themes and roles of the player characters. While many survival craft games require players to harvest everything from the natural environment around them to stabilize or protect themselves and their livelihoods, our game challenges players to live in harmony with the natural environment. We are asking you to move while moving, to balance unbalanced magic, and to remove anything that interferes with natural flourishing.
The idea for this game first came from the company’s mission. Our mission is to help players who use games as a way to connect with something else. The team has worked on many different types of games, but appreciates the value of survival craft games where players with different interests come together towards a common goal, each contributing in their own way.
Art director Mitch Miller created the look and background of the oceanic world of Nera, where the game takes place. We hope players will feel the inviting and welcoming atmosphere and enjoy exploring and building their homes.
Defeat the boss and expand the area! Although it is a finite map, the island is enriched with infinite exploration and resources – it
is said that it was inspired by “Minecraft”, “Terraria”, and “Valheim”, but what part of this work was influenced by it? Do you have.
Michael: The basic gameplay of Codename: Islands is very similar to Minecraft and Valheim, with players sharing a private server, exploring, fighting monsters, gathering resources, and You can make it your own by building together. Players can spend months adding new elements to their home island, allowing it to evolve and expand as the game progresses.
Similar to Valheim, players can sail around the world and enter different “ecological zones.” These ecological zones have different resources, monsters, and world bosses to defeat. By opening different ecological zones and growing the island spirits, you will be able to create more advanced structures and weapons. This is similar to how defeating a boss in Valheim allows you to go to a new ecoregion and get new recipes. Also, similar to Valheim, if you decorate and build your base well, you will be able to get good buffs and defenses for your adventure, so you can proceed in a good adventure.
Another common feature of these games is that you and your companions adventure together to gather resources in harsh environments. You can protect each other as you gather, defeat stronger enemies together, and work together to obtain rarer resources. In Codename: Islands, players will have to work together to face enemies and rare resources in many ocean areas.
The major difference from “Valheim”, “Minecraft”, “Terraria”, etc. is that “the world is randomly or procedurally generated and does not have an infinite size.” However, our world cannot be fully explored. Due to the nature of Sea of Magic, new content is constantly added to the map, allowing players to continue exploring even after reaching maximum level.
Everything built on the island gives back to the strength and character of the island! If you create a legendary healing field, anyone can equip it with legendary weapons.I
hear that this is a work that focuses on multiplayer, and is “100% cooperative.” Could you tell us about the unique aspects of multiplayer, such as how playing with multiple people gives you an advantage or expands the range of play?
Michael: The defining element of Codename: Islands is sharing. Players share the same island and can build individual homes as well as shared facilities such as workbenches and cooking stations. This creates an experience of living together as a community. The building system is designed to make it easy for players to build cooperatively, allowing them to draw inspiration from each other’s creations and build beautiful locations and structures together.
Everything built on the island is shared with all players (although there are also personal warehouses). This allows the “power” and “wealth” of the group to be expressed in the strength and character of the shared island, rather than individually. For example, instead of finding a legendary weapon in the world and using it yourself as in a typical MMORPG, in this game, in order to obtain a legendary weapon, the entire community has to work together to create a weapon that is powerful enough to create a legendary weapon. You need to build a forge. A completed forge is shared with all players, and with enough resources they can all use it to create advanced weapons.
Another unique cooperative element of Codename: Islands is the combat system. Players can take on different roles and support each other with different types of attacks and abilities, making it more like an MMORPG. Players will explore the ocean together, fighting bosses and other monsters.
By the way, there are no PvP battles or attacks on other players. It doesn’t have the elements you’d find in games like Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved.
— Official X (Twitter) has released concept art of fascinating creatures such as a “sheep-like shark” and a “turtle carrying a crystal.” What is the role of these creatures? How do you interact with players?
Michael: Sheepsharks are friendly creatures (as long as you treat them kindly!). They are like pets or farm animals and can be fed, petted, given names, and their fur can be sheared and used for crafts.
A turtle with a crystal gemstone is called “R’ua”. She is part of Leviathan and is a guardian of very ancient magic. She helps stabilize the natural forces of the world. Villagers living in R’ua’s waters offer her prayers and ask for her protection. She asks players for help in-game and then rewards them with special gifts when they help restore balance to her world.
–What stage of development is this work in? Also, when will it be released?
Michael: We are currently in the development phase. We are working on an alpha release and expect it to be ready in late 2023. If the game is ready, we plan to invite players as a beta version in 2024, followed by early access distribution. We are a small team with a limited budget, so early access distribution is of great value and we want to learn from our players about the direction of future development. This game is intended to be a live service, and we plan to continue adding new content and expansions after its full release.
–Finally, please give a message to gamers and Game*Spark readers who are looking forward to “Codename: Islands.”
Michael: I’m very impressed and happy that there are so many players who are interested in this game! We are trying to create a work that is not a “typical game”, focusing on cooperation and support between players, and building an island house together in a world full of “danger”, “adventure”, and “natural beauty”. We want to provide people with a unique experience of building.
We are very excited to develop games for gamers around the world and look forward to welcoming Japanese players to our games when we are ready!