Friends, Foes, and Sellswords: Salt and Sanctuary Multiplayer Detailed

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Friends, Foes, and Sellswords: Salt and Sanctuary Multiplayer Detailed

If you’re not yet familiar with us or our game, hi! We’re Ska Studios, a husband and wife team that’s been making deliciously bloody indie games for like eight years now (what!?). We’re working on a game called Salt and Sanctuary, an insanely ambitious platformer that aims to capture the “Soulslike” genre, faithfully reimagine it as a mechanically solid 2D platformer, and explore and develop the interplay of wonderful mechanics and themes like difficulty and danger, stylistic action and complex combat, and diverse, branching, and versatile character building.

Salt and Sanctuary

One of the coolest things about RPGs is the party dynamic, but up until about a year ago Salt was purely a game of solo exploration. We wanted to explore cooperative multiplayer, and perhaps some PvP, but how? Online multiplayer was (and is still) a crazy dream of mine, but trust me: online gameplay is an absolute nightmare to implement anywhere, and PS4 development is still pretty new to us. So we settled on the idea of sellswords.

Salt and Sanctuary centers around sanctuaries. A sanctuary takes on the role of a bonfire, archstone, Hunter’s Dream: it’s a place of rest, replenishment, and — when things go south — respawning. In Salt and Sanctuary, sanctuaries can be populated with NPC villagers. Tiny statues are scattered throughout the world, and placing a statue on a sanctuary’s altar permanently summons a villager of that type to the sanctuary.

Friends, Foes, and Sellswords: Salt and Sanctuary Multiplayer Detailed

Salt and SanctuarySalt and Sanctuary

The sellsword facilitates cooperative play. Placing a sellsword statue on the altar will summon a sellsword. Telling the sellsword that you’d like to “Hire” prompts a second player to pick up a controller. This player now gets to pick anyone in his or her roster, jump in, and get jolly!

Having a companion present tweaks a few things: enemy health is scaled up a hefty bit, and enemies will do a little extra damage. Prayers of healing aid cooperative players within a radius. A Revive prayer might even make an appearance. The synergy is something I wanted to experience in Salt years before implementing coop, and Michelle and I always tend to balance out our builds like we would in Dark Souls 2: tank and caster style.

Salt and Sanctuary

But the sellsword doesn’t just connect adventurers with brave companions; he also sells Eggs of Wrath. Crushing an egg in the universe of Salt is a tradition of war, meant to signify the commencement of battle. As such, crushing an Egg of Wrath immediately initiates PvP. Once battle has begun, it cannot end until someone dies. But fear not! Your fallen companion will be found alive and well in the next sanctuary or shrine you visit.

PvP in Salt and Sanctuary is an interesting beast. Not all fights will be fair, but all fights tend to be interesting. Stamina and focus (spellcasting) management, parries and counters, crucial I-frames, and weapon ranges are all super important. And because of the nature of the Egg of Wrath, you can pretty much spring PvP on your ally anywhere. Boss fight? More like three-way free for all! Need a human punching bag to try out a new weapon you just crafted? Crush that egg.

We’ll be letting you know when Salt and Sanctuary will be launching really, really soon. In the meantime, we hope you enjoyed our little foray into Salt and Sanctuary’s awesome multiplayer mechanics.

– James and Michelle, Ska Studios

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13 Author Replies

  • SO excited for this game. Nice to have an update on it!

  • Yooooo! I need to get my hands on this game. Please come out ASAP.

  • I can’t wait for this game!!! When is it coming out??!!!

  • You guys sound adorable. Definitely looking forward to this.

  • I’ve been waiting for this one since I read about it about a year ago. This game looks amazing, and I hope it turns out as awesome as it seems. Can’t wait to be playing it soon!

  • You people look funny, love the chatting between you. Looking forward to this game!

  • Have you cancelled the Vita version? =/

    • I was coming here to ask if there was a Vita version because that’s my pretty much the only system I use to play platformers these days and this looks like it would fit quite well.

    • It was announced for Vita alongside PS4 like two years ago. Of course, they haven’t mentioned the word “Vita” since and every time they’ve been at PSX etc it’s always been referred to as a PS4 game only.

      Would not be surprised if this gets cancelled on Vita. They might be saying yes now, but so were the people behind the likes of Galak-Z, Road Not Taken, Broforce and Not a Hero. This looks more taxing than most of the games Vita gets from indie devs, so I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if it goes silent for about a year after the PS4 release and is suddenly cancelled. Unless the devs or PlayStation can show me something to make me think otherwise.

    • God, I hope not. So many Vita cancellations these days.. this game will be amazing on Vita, I’m sure of it.

    • The Word “Vita”.. I think that the Ps Blog staff Cant say that word anymore, in every post like ps store update etc.. Theres No mention, even in the 4th anniversary week they Dont Care about VITA Owner.. Is unbelievable that Vita still live even without any kind of suport by Sony..

    • The Vita version is definitely promised and planned, but we won’t be handling it ourselves. I too would like to be able to play our game on planes, buses, and difficult family gatherings.

  • I got to play this at PSX in December. Absolutely loved it. Looking forward to purchasing this when it releases.

    Any chance of a physical release, for us collectors?

    • Thanks! Hope you said hi, Michelle and I were there (and probably a little ragged :) ). We’re aiming for a physical release, but no details on that. In fact — thanks for the reminder, that’s a thing we need to ping some folks about :)

  • I will buy and play this with my wife. Friends to the end

  • Terrific sounding game. Definitely looking forward to playing!

  • So excited for this game, and excited to have an update for it.

    • Awesome! Sorry we had to go a bit dark. Head down, power through, all that (except for our weekly D&D sessions on twitch, those are sacred)

  • Looks like it is inspired by the old wizards and warriors games.

  • PLEASE tell me this is still coming to the Vita!

  • Co-op is great and all but for those of us with no one to play with it doesn’t mean much. This game looks awesome and I can’t wait to play it. I just hope, for us out there with no one to play with, that you don’t implement any co-op only trophies. That’s my only hope.

    • No co-op trophies! Honestly, that never occurred to me. I like to think there’s a distant possibility of some sort of expansion or megapatch or something that would introduce online multiplayer, but we’re just focusing on all the local stuff for now.

    • This makes me very happy. Can’t wait to play! Hopefully there’s a platinum?

  • Been waiting for this game for so long. I cannot wait for it. It’s been looking better and better every time I see it. It’s probably my most anticipated title even above Uncharted 4 right now. I just want it soon, but I want it perfect too.

  • Hmmm, this looks fun!

  • Can’t wait for this, Necroplis, Deaths Gambit, and of course Dark Souls 3! Gonna be a great year for brutal games like this.

  • What a clever way to add co-op and PvP! Part of the fun & challenge of games with good co-op is when there’s friendly fire, or a way to impede the progress of your ally (gobble their health pickup, etc.). It adds to the tension & excitement between friends :-)

    • You jest?…friendly fire completely ruins the experience of any game.Specially if its meant to be co-op or worked as a team.

    • Just for clarification — multiplayer is co-op with no friendly fire as a default. When you initiate PvP, it becomes a friendly fire enabled battle to the death.

      True story: first time I did Dark Souls coop, I was terrified to do any melee attacks near my buddy, lest I hurt him. Everything in DS is so punishing, why would they do you such a kindness as no friendly fire? :)

  • I’ve been looking forward to this game for a while now, PS Vita still happening?

  • Did they cancelled the Vita version?

  • i want this for PsVita

    BTW, In the page of Ska Studios you can see that the game say “Ps4 and PSVita”. So, i hope they haven’t cancelled the vita version

  • Please do not cancel the Vita version, i was really looking forward to the Vita version

  • Thank you for the update. I’ve been anxiously waiting for Salt and Sanctuary to release. I’m looking forward to playing it on my Vita. (Hopefully that’s still on the table.)

  • I met you guys at E3 last year, and got to play your game, and it was quite wonderful. I’ve been eagerly awaiting it’s release on PS4 and Vita. I love the atmosphere, and you two were incredibly friendly and personable, and answered all of my questions, and encouraged me when I died a billion times against the first boss, and cheered with me when I finally took that bastard down!

    I’m hoping a release date is coming soon! It’s one of my most anticipated games!

    • Awesome! So glad that all got to happen! E3 with Playstation was a really fantastic setup all around, but my voice was pretty much ruined the whole time :D

  • Hey James! I’ve been looking forward to this game since it’s reveal. It looks awesome and I’m very happy to see the passion your putting into it. As Souls players know, its very difficult to translate that experience outside of the original games, but thankfully you guys seemed to have cracked it! S&S is going to be something special, and I really can’t wait to play!

    • Thanks! It’s a very weird line between being original and creative and treating the genre the way I want to see it treated as a souls fan, but we really did pour everything into it, and I’m really happy with how that turned out! :D

  • Vita, please!

    I’m that guy who has a Vita but pretty much only plays PS+ titles on it (I did buy FFX when it was on sale). I will buy this day one full price.

    If it only comes out on PS4 I will probably never play it – I have yet to get a PS4, and once I do I’m sure Bloodborne, DS3, and even DS2, which I never played on PS3, will keep me busy. But there’s nothing like this on Vita.

    Anyway I’m sure you will get lots of sales on PS4 and the Vita doesn’t look particularly worthwhile right now but wow, I would love this game there.

  • I remember the announcement of this game,it looked very promising and it still does.All I see is people talking well about it and everyone seems pretty hyped as well.It already looks good as it is but a demo of it wouldn’t hurt.


  • I think local co-op just sealed the deal for me.

  • Going to support this game so hard! Loved the dishwasher series. So much fun. Thank you guys so much for bringing us these awesome games!

  • If its on Vita? I’m DEFINITELY getting on Vita!!!

    PS4(pretty sure it will be on STEAM), then I’ll pass. Never played a Souls game and this from what I’ve seen, heard and read about is a TRUE Souls experience in 2D. Hope it comes to Vita.

  • Vita version is the only version of this game I’ll buy. If they choose not to support it I can’t support them.
    Love the Souls games & Soulslike games but there aren’t really any for handheld (hoping Eitr really considers Vita as well) which is a tragedy.

  • so yeah every comment in here is a clear indication that a vita version will be enough and a ps4 version will just be a bonus. this game is fit to be on a handheld. heck, any 2d sidescroller game fits on the vita.

  • I played this a bit over a year ago at the Playstation Experience in Vegas. I’ve been waiting for this game! I was the first person to finish your demo you guys said :p can’t wait! bring it out already!

  • Any update on the PS Vita version?

  • For those of you concerned about a Vita version, it will appear some time after the PS4’s release.

  • Sorry man, but any developer who likes to encourage people to be a jerk won’t get my money. The concept of rewarding people for betraying their friends/allies, or for bullying those weaker than them, is a really bad design ethic to aim for, but I guess it DOES cater towards the lowest common denominator among gamers… which I guess is what most fans of the souls games tend to be.

    So you know your market well. Either way, best of luck with your game, I hope it succeeds as I don’t wish ill upon others even when I disagree with them personally… but your pvp concept has 100% cost you a sale on my case.

    • Every time I come across one of your comments I always know I’m in for a special treat. You never fail to deliver. Truly astounding!

    • Not sure where you’re getting this notion about us encouraging PvP. We encourage it in the sense that it’s something to try out that might lead to great duels with certain build and level pairings, but as far as game mechanics go, it is probably the most optional of optional modes.

    • Inaccuracies… if encouraging people to be polite and reasonable amuses you so much(since that’s what the majority of my comments amount to), you must be a part of that LCD I was talking about. But either way, if my comments bring joy to you… then I’m glad. lol

  • the commentary was a bit extreme, the character was? for lack of a better description, zombie, vampire crack heads? At least the character Michelle popped in as was. With the shield it was hard to tell how the other looked. Anyway wish there was a little more in those regards. While it’s something easily overlooked the character design, lead character goes a long way sometimes. Overall though, considering the style and what you’ve set to achieve it definitely looks interesting and great. It’s now on my radar and really looking forward to it. Must truly be a passion project so congratulations and best of luck. Hope it gets the success it looks to deserve.

  • Most indie “roguelikes” are already far more “soulslike” than roguelike anyway thanks to their extreme difficulty and heavy arcade/action elements, so I welcome this change in term. Let’s have save “roguelike” for TURNBASED games, truer to the spirit of Rogue, Nethack, Moria, Angband, etc.

  • Please come out soon! I could never get into the “souls” series but this game looks right up my alley!

  • I have a feeling this will be part of the Spring Fever PlayStation Store promotion this year.

  • I’m waiting for the Vita version. I’m really hoping it doesn’t get cancelled or take a year after ps4 release to come out.

    If it doesn’t come out for vita, I won’t be buying it. Just like Not A Hero, etc.

    In the end, these indies are losing sales and fan base by cancelling their Vita versions.

    It’s bad business to announce/promise a vita version than cancel it, plain and simple.

  • I’ve always loved your art style and this game looks fantastic. Looking forward to checking it out.

  • Game looks like it has some good mechanics.

    I just say I tire of that indie game hand drawn comic art style. Mostly because too many games have it.

  • Simply put. If the developer choose not to support the Vita, I simply can’t support them. The Vita version of the game is the only I’m getting. Plus, we need to teach those developers a lesson; they keep promising us a Vita version just to fail us over and over again (Never Alone, Galak-Z, Not a Hero, Road Not Taken, Broforce, Nom Nom Galaxy, Space Dave, Unmechanical …etc).

    • That’s right I agree 100%.. Look at Galak z, now is coming to mobile phone but still not for VITA even if Vita is more confortable to play and i dont think about tecnical limitations when VITA can easelly running games like Killzone and Borderlands 2 with the latest patch.

  • Very much looking forward to this! Love the co-op aspect!

  • I have been awaiting this game since it’s announcement, look really cool!

    Now if you tell me Dishwasher and Vampire Smiles are hitting PSN I’ll be the happiest person alive!

  • Seems really good. Looking forward to it.

  • 1. Dark souls kind :)
    2. Release date?
    3. Digital/Retail?
    4. Price?

  • looking forward for it, hope game will still have single player story! let me know

    • Yup! The game as a whole was SP focused as we developed it. It’s just up to you and a friend if you want to try to play it together. :D

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