Locals create massive videogame

By Joseph Pratt - Special to the Daily Times

Locals Andy Fenton and Derek Bradley are inviting the world inside their heads with the upcoming release of Bevontule, a high-quality videogame they call a modern fusion of Western, Japapese and strategy roleplaying games.

The two friends graduated as co-valedictorians at South Webster High School in 2005, before attending Shawnee State University, where they attained bachelor degrees in Simulation and Game Engineering Technology. Upon graduation, they began writing software for a local technology company, where they say they gained valuable experience working on large projects in a collaborative environment. They have also spent more than 10,000 hours working on the game, claiming they often work double-digit hours making Bevontule a reality. They also have hundreds of hours between contractors and interns recorded in their success. According to the synopsis of the game, “Bevontule is a tactical role-playing game that occurs primarily on the surface of the continent of Onich, a vast and isolated landmass surrounding a central ocean known as the Inner Sea. Discovered some 1,500 years ago by a number of refugees fleeing their own war-torn homeland, it quickly becomes clear that – despite its welcoming appearance – Onich harbors dark and deadly secrets that were presumably left alone for good reason.”

“In present-day Onich, the continent is slowly being ravaged by a blight known as the Kelvari: an expansive, semi-sentient and root-like network of unknown origin and composition that has already ‘claimed’ nearly 60% of the surface of Onich, primarily in the north and west. At the same time, grotesque creatures known as ‘Rootsouls’ accompany the slow but certain spread of the Kelvari. While massive regions of the continent are safe – either via proximity or outright delusional thinking – other nations are on the immediate boundary of the Kelvari fields and have, at times, had limited success in fighting back the scourge. Politically, this leads to much tension between disparate nations, many of which do not understand the existential threat posed … and as such, do little in the way of offering up material support to those fighting.”

The friends say Bevontule has been a hard-earned dream come true, with Bevontule’s roots stretching deep to their days at South Webster,

“The original novella of Bevontule was conceived and written primarily during study hall at South Webster High School,” Bradley explains. “We were later educated and trained to make video games at Shawnee State University. The most exciting part about this whole process is definitely being able to follow our dream right here in Scioto County. No one thinks of Portsmouth, Ohio when asked about video game creation, but we hope that with the help of Shawnee and local talent that we can change that.”

The friendship between Bradley and Fenton was actually sparked by their shared love of videogames. The two met in third grade, immediately bonding over mutual tastes in games. The two would rush home from school, where they had stacked televisions on top of each other, so they could simultaneously play different roleplaying games.

“Having long accepted the fact that we were nerds, we decided to go all the way with it – endeavoring to one day create an RPG ourselves,” Bradley says. “In particular, we were interested in turn-based RPGs, namely the Final Fantasy series and other ’90s SquareSoft gems, including Vagrant Story, Parasite Eve and Suikoden.”

The videogames played as third-grade boys had a huge impact in creating the world of Bevontule, according to Bradley.

“When we set out to start a video game development company, we decided to take the best parts of our favorite games, innovate and modernize them, and merge them into a game the likes of which we’ve never before seen,” Bradley explains. “Tactical games like Ogre Battle and Final Fantasy Tactics influenced the combat system, multiple Japanese RPGs – Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Xenogears – inspired the story and character customization, and the large overworld environments that encourage exploration are largely Western RPG influenced.”

Bevontule is currently slated for release on PC, Mac and Linux.

While the game is only currently prepared for a computer platform, the two are also looking at a future release on other game systems.

“Bevontule already supports controllers, and we’re in the process of obtaining publishing licenses for the new generation consoles,” Bradley says. “We grew up playing RPGs on console, and feel that Bevontule belongs there as much as anywhere.”

The consoles that the two are looking at include Playstation, Xbox and Nintendo.

The two are currently selling their dream on Kickstarter, where people can pre-order their own copy. The Kickstarter will also allow the company to continue development on the game, as well as open doors to other projects. The Kickstarter also offers plenty of extras that investors will be able to purchase. The two say that those who invest through Kickstarter are guaranteed a copy of their new game and also making a tech company possible, in a region where they feel it is needed.

The Kickstarter campaign can be found by easily searching Bevontule: Altar of Roots. The goal is $50,000. The two currently have raised $20,993, with 490 backers showing support. The Kickstarter will end Thursday. The goal must be met for the Kickstarter campaign to be a success.

“If the campaign is successful, we hope to have the game out in early 2019 and move on to the next project, whether that be the continuation of the Bevontule story – the original novella proved so long we couldn’t get the entire story into one game – or an entirely new project is uncertain. Either way, we’re excited to continue developing video games right here in Portsmouth, Ohio.”




By Joseph Pratt

Special to the Daily Times