Smalland is a big adventure on a tiny scale! Enjoy multiplayer survival in a vast, hazardous world. Preparation is key when you’re this small, surrounded by massive creatures & at the bottom of the food chain. Craft weapons & armor, build encampments & explore a strange new land.
- A huge open, sandbox-world to explore from a tiny perspective
- Build bases and shelters with a host of upgrades and customization
- Discover the lore behind Smalland through quests and the hidden NPCs scattered throughout the world
- Dynamic weather and random events organically create hazardous situations or fortunate events
- Player upgrades and customization, earn and unlock new abilities
- Creature factions: Work alongside creatures, gain their trust, earn allies and mounts
- Solo, PVE, and PVP game-play
- Smalland was originally a project by a completely different development team, seeking funding on IndieGoGo. Merge Games acquired the IP. (Merge Games interview with Wireframe, 2022)
- Both first and third-person views will be provided to the player.
The vibe I’m currently getting from Smalland is very kinda; open world MMO-lite. In a lot of ways a bit similar to Valheim- or perhaps as if you took one of the popular MMOs out there, like ESO or WoW, and skimmed down some of the horizontal magnitude into a smaller focus area. Watching through development videos from way back in early 2021 kinda enhances that viewpoint- a lot of emphasis on individual character look and armor, lore and player choice- all traditionally more a mainstay of the MMO genre than a typical survival title. There’s even the breakdown/in depth fleshing out of kinda these mainstay lore type characters (The Elder, Witch, and Engineer)- the game play loops of questing/raising ally/faction style rep and earning cosmetics & mounts.
I wonder if it’s the increased depth & emphasis on the building in Smalland that makes them attach the survival tag to the title, similar to how I’ve had folks explain to me that New World is a survival game because of the depth & style of the world and scavenging/farming materials. Or if this is simply another variant of “trying to not die becomes pure survival”. There’s also this rather meandering response to an interview question provided to the games head of production, Ben Averley, located below;
So in terms of the survival genre, do you imagine Smalland as being a relatively welcoming game or on the more harsh end of the spectrum?
Relative to a lot of other competitors in the survival genre, we’re trying to stay true to the original vision of the game, which is that it’s quite whimsical. To put it relative to a game such as ARK or Rust, it’s far less competitive. It’s more about being collaborative with players, so we don’t have that combative player-versus-player nature as a major focus. The challenge is almost as much as you want it to be – players can seek out the challenge. It shouldn’t be consistently overbearing and too difficult. It’s not like starting in ARK and having your entire base destroyed by a T-rex in the first five minutes; we want it to be a bit more accommodating and accessible to players. But there’s certainly challenge there, and there’s certainly threats present throughout the world. It’s at the lower end of the spectrum, though, I’d say, relative to other survival games.Wireframe interview by Ryan Lambie
If the challenge is just surviving not being killed by mobs (animals/humanoid AI,etc) or the ability to sometimes engage in Player vs Player (PvP) – then what really makes this different from World of Warcraft on a smaller (literally) scale? (insert thinking face emoji) Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to get more beautiful & expansive open worlds to explore but (following quote lifted again from the Wireframe article), “…But beyond that, we have a narrative, so we have quest systems that drive players into different areas to explore. We have resources that vary by area, which, in turn, allow different crafting opportunities for gear, weapons, and bases. So we have player progression gated behind the need to explore these things, and hopefully each brings a new point of interest.” I dunno. I guess at the end I agree with Averley in the interview when he mentions that Smalland is a “..game (that) almost sits somewhere between a single-player RPG experience and an MMO.”
If you find the overall look and vibe to be pretty similar to Grounded, there’s actually a paragraph at the end of the interview that kinda addresses the differences/similarities between the two titles. Anyway! I can see my wife and a couple of close friends who prefer that more kinda- relaxing dip in & out experience to really enjoy the title. Interested to see how more details/info develops! And now I’ll tuck away my random TedTalk soapbox and close out this post.