Brand

Brand is our pilot project and is developed using XNA Game studio and is available now on the Xbox Live Indie Games channel. It is also available for PC on Desura, Indie City and Indievania. Brand is an archaic word used to describe a sword.

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Here is the release trailer of Brand, showcasing the various monsters, environments and powers.

Brand is a customization game contained in a 2.5D action game. The player has a very simple task: he is handed a pathetic sword and asked to make it fit for a king. In order to do so, he must get help from a Mage, a Smith and a Chemist to enhance the sword until it is deemed strong enough. The three of them will send the hero to face monsters in a Steampunk Castle, an Alexandrite Mine and a Cursed Necropolis to gather reagents used to upgrade the titular sword.

The player has a wide array of choices in how to upgrade his sword, and these upgrades directly affect the player’s abilities, so that every new game offers a different experience. Expect a few jokes along the way, as you battle ever more powerful monsters with an increasingly ludicrous weapon. A game should last for a few hours, but the high replayability will make up for it. Being a game for the Xbox Live Indie Games channel, it has to be easy to pick-up and play, convincing the player to purchase the full game after a few minutes of trial!


Here are the nine powers that can be upgraded in Brand. Additional rewards await those who upgrade thematically linked powers.

Powers from the blacksmith:

Refine
Refine increases the potency of every other power, changing the blade’s material from pig iron up to mystical metals.

Strengthen
This upgrade increases the damage of the three basic attacks available from the start. It changes the shape of the sword, making it increasingly impressive and ornate.

Sharpen
This process increases the reach of the dashing attack and allows to dash through multiple monsters or through a bigger one. This upgrade makes the sword leave a trail as its sharp edge rends through the air.

Powers from the chemist:

Poison Coating
Any quick attack from a poisonous sword will cause the enemy’s life to wither away. Multiple attacks increase the poison’s potency and thus the damage over time it causes. The blade oozes toxic ichor, making it clear your hero is not concerned with honor but only with dealing death.

Demon Blood Coating
Usually, a blocking hero takes less damage and doesn’t recoil from enemy attacks, but with this upgrade, blocking becomes an attack! Dark tendrils surge out of the blade and shred any opponent while you stay in a defensive stance. This vile enhancement is double-edged however. Block for too long and you’ll start taking damage too, as the hazardous substance ravages your body as well.

Sun Dust Coating
This power gives the sword a chance to randomly deal critical damage on any given hit, which becomes more frequent as the ability is upgraded.  Huge lens flares burst forth from the sword as a critical hit is scored, enveloping the screen in a bright and kitschy glow.

Powers from the mage:

Fire Spell
With this power, every heavy attack sends out a wave of fire forward, making this one of the few ways to attack at a distance. A haze of flames surrounds a blade thus enhanced.

Time Bend Spell
This spell transforms the dash into the ability to teleport through enemies, attacking each of them multiple times. This mighty work of magic cannot be fully contained by reality, causing ethereal time fractures to follow your blade’s every movement.

Shadow Spell
This power creates a shadowy blade that strikes behind the hero while he attacks enemies in front of him. A spiral of  eldritch litanies surrounds the blade, ominously humming, ready to be activated.

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  • Comments (17)
    • K. Mac
    • April 14th, 2011

    Hmm, you might want to distinguish yourself from Minecraft as much as possible. So since its steampunk, maybe Swordpunk? Also this sounds interesting, sounds oldschool with modern mechanics. Checking this out for sure.

    • Atlas
    • April 14th, 2011

    Sounds great, guys! I think Swordcraft is a fine title.

    • Dominic Parent
    • April 23rd, 2011

    - “The King’s Sword” or “The King’s Steel”

    – “Forged by/Forged in ” I.e.: Blood, fear, magic, etc.

    – “Royal Steel”

    – Name the game after the name of the sword.

    – “Swordsmith”

    – “The path/road/way/fate of steel/the smith/etc.”.

    – Doing linguistic research on forein languages such as scandinavian may yield a very nice idea for a title that may translate to any of the above suggestions, use some of the game’s main key words or even equate to “Swordcraft” itself.

      • Dominic Parent
      • May 13th, 2011

      One of the comments of one of the devs made me come up with this:

      ”Tales of a Nameless Squire” – a variant of this could be interesting. It offer up the opportinity to make this game about the sword, but the series be about this or any nameless guy/s.

    • I’m going to throw my two cents in.

      I like the sound “forge” in the title. It’s a word I cannot seem to say without sounding epic in some way.

      Maybe something like:Battle’s Forge/Battle Forge/King Forge/”Forge” on it’s own?

    • Jim
    • May 5th, 2011

    Sounds like an intriguing concept, and I can’t wait to see the final product.

    As for names, the only one I can really think of is “He Who Lives by the Sword”. I really like some of Dominic Parent’s suggestions.

  1. I think brand is a great name, short sweet and different. Everything nowadays has “..craft, or call of… ” In front of it or back of it. Looks great and alot of fun. Good luck. :)

    • Yeah well, the working title was Swordcraft (because, you know, you craft a sword in the game) but we wanted something that sounds more unique. It took a ot of time but we came up with this title.

  2. Saw your episode of extra cedits, came to check this out. A metroid vania game. god we need more of these. I’m broke as crap, but I’ll be trying to get my hands on a copy of this.

    • Thanks Keinushi! Glad to know our game fills a void :)

        • alex
        • November 3rd, 2011

        i’m here from extra credits too and i’m just wondering how this will be released. console or pc, which consoles etc.
        great work, thanks a lot

      • It will be released both on Xbox360 and PC. On the 360, it will be available on Xbox Live Indie Games and on PC we don’t know yet on which platforms the game will be distributed. We are looking at our options right now. We will post any news on this matter as soon as we can.

  3. This is looking good, I’m happy to see the steady return of platformers thanks to the viability of 2.5D perspectives.

    How about an alternate female avatar as well? Provided there are no gender-specific references to the player it would not be entirely difficult, would it? That niggling notion that girls don’t play these kinds of games is something definitely on the way out these days.

    I realize the focus is on the sword mechanics and something like a female avatar seems like it wouldn’t matter much, but it can make a difference with a lot of people out there.

    • We are indeed focusing on the sword rather than the character itself. But more than that, creating a new version of the character would imply new model, animation and textures. Since we’re a limited team with a limited budget in both time and money, we chose to make only one character. However, we intend to add the possibility of playing as your Xbox avatar in a post release patch, and thus players will be able to customize their hero to their liking.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Just wanted to leave a message to say that I am very much looking forward to playing this, and huge respect for making the games the way you believe they should be made.

    Was the music in the demo video going to be in the game? Who is the music composer for Brand?

    Again, really looking forward to this. Good luck in all your future projects as well, I believe 9-dots will be very successful.

    • Jacoby Noctis
    • December 14th, 2011

    The game looks amazing. It really does look like you are trying to farther the gaming medium, and I love seeing that. I have no 360 but I would l

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