Every wondered why you should be excited about NecroVisioN, the up and coming WWI shooter from Farm 51? No? Well how about if we told you how instead of playing hide and seek with your enemy, you’re so fearsome that your enemies will turn and run? What about the fact that it promises to be more of a fantasy-horror title, rather than a standard run and gun affair?
Don’t believe us? Well, read our interview with project lead, Wojciech Pazdur who says all this and much, much more.
Strategy Informer: To put it mildly, FPS genre is a rather crowded one, what gameplay elements will NecroVisioN bring to the table to make it stand out from the crowd?
Wojciech Pazdur: Definitely not mildly, that’s for sure. The competition is extremely tough, so instead of just coming up with a few gameplay elements, we wanted to make the entire game unique. What is the common feature of all modern shooters? Well, they’re all based on cover shooting. This makes them more realistic and also makes it easier for console players to aim (or even auto aim) with their pads. You spot where your opponent is and then you duck behind cover, so you can lean out and shoot, hoping that you’ll hit someone. We’re not saying it’s wrong and some people probably think that’s the way war looks. But, aren’t you a little bored of this “hide your butt” gameplay? Aren’t there times when you just want to leap out of cover and go medieval on a bad guy’s ass? Your enemies should be afraid of you, not the other way round.
This is certainly the case in NecroVisioN, particularly because it’s an exclusive PC title, so the mouse and keyboard setup ensures that players are far more agile in the 3D world. So instead of camping behind cover, you’re running and smashing your enemies in the face at close range and rather than hiding behind obstacles, you’re dismembering them with some heavy tools. But if you still want slower gameplay, then you can shoot from cover and go for headshots. In NecroVisioN there are always different options in any fight: you can be tactical or you can rip off limbs in a face-to-face challenge.
Of course, the gameplay mechanics aren’t the only thing that NecroVisioN has to offer and there’s also a unique story, a mix of realistic and fantasy weapons, a horror theme, great visuals and amazing music... it all adds up to a great game.
Strategy Informer: The team seems to have chosen not only an over-populated genre, but one could argue the World War 1 setting is also something we've seen time and time again, what will be brought to the table in order to persuade people that it's worth their time and money to invest in what could be construed as 'yet another' WW1 shooter?
Wojciech Pazdur: Ah yes, but have you ever played a GOOD World War One shooter (not WWII, which is very over-populated). I think The Darkness is the only action game with WWI element that’s enjoyable to play, but it’s not quite World War One and it’s for consoles. Plus, NecroVisioN isn’t just a WW1 game, it’s a fantasy-horror shooter, that’s set in the WW1 era but the war itself is not the big deal.
At the beginning of the game you’ll be fighting German soldiers but soon there are plenty of other enemies. We chose the historical setting to help immerse the player in ruthless hand-to-hand combat, the rush of adrenaline as you dash through trenches full of poison gas, deadly snipers and almost indestructible tanks. But that’s only a prelude to what you meet in the underground world, which includes vampires, demons, magic machinery and dark monsters. This pushes NecroVisioN much closer to Lovecraft’s novels, rather than Hemingway’s war stories.
Strategy Informer: From the official blurb it says players will fight enemies using environments. Can you elaborate on that? What types of environments are we talking?
Wojciech Pazdur: To be more precise, it’s not just about the environments, it’s about the whole physics system. In NecroVisioN you take out about four or five times more enemies than the average modern FPS. So we wanted to create endless possibilities finishing bad guys in imaginative ways and to ensure the player never gets bored by repetition.
For example, in addition to regular shooting and melee attacks, you can also kick enemies. Doesn’t sound very exciting, right? Wrong! Imagine that with a simple kick you can push away one German to make him bash into another enemy, then they’re both pushed into a campfire and they start to burn and run around wildly. Or you could be more merciful and finish him by plunging a stake into his heart, which pins his body to a wall so that he becomes a torch lighting up a potentially dark tunnel. And that was only kicking, in one particular situation. But there are also gas lamps which can be shot while they’re hung up (so they fall down and explode), thrown on enemies to set them on fire or shot in mid-air to spray fire across a large area.
Strategy Informer: We can see that in the past, titles like Creature Conflict: The Clan Wars also found their way to Xbox. Is it possible we could see a NecroVisioN Xbox 360 port in the future?
Wojciech Pazdur: Of course, a lot of games are released on PC and are then converted to console. However, we’re not ready to reveal the future of NecroVisioN just yet.
Strategy Informer: Whilst on the subject of next-gen hardware, are the capabilities of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 something the team is interested in working on - both in terms of NecroVisioN and for possible future titles?
Wojciech Pazdur: We’re certainly looking at the possibilities of bringing future games to both consoles.
Strategy Informer: Talking of future releases, are all the team's resources focused on NecroVisioN or do you have any other project on the go? If so, what might they be?
Wojciech Pazdur: The world setting of NecroVisioN is so rich and open that we could be making games based on it for the rest of our lives – and each game would be completely different. Let’s just say that, this first game is only the beginning for NecroVisioN.
Strategy Informer: We anticipate the game will feature online play, will NecroVisioN feature a level editor of sorts or will you sit back and let the modders do their thing? In fact, how does the team feel about user generated content in general?
Wojciech Pazdur: Most of the people in our development have a history of making user-generated content, so we definitely want to try and include something in NecroVisioN; we’re just not sure how big it will be. Unfortunately though, we’re using licensed middleware, which causes some problems for creating user-generated content.
Strategy Informer: This leads neatly on to the subject of piracy. With statistics such as 9 out of 10 copies of hit PC title, World of Goo, being downloaded illegally, why choose the PC as a lead platform when the profit seems to be with a console version?
Wojciech Pazdur: Obviously, we’re aware of the problem of piracy. But we wanted to create a game on PC as it’s the platform with the best technical possibilities for the game we wanted to create. We believe there’s a huge gap in the market for games that resemble the glory days of Quake and Doom that are released specifically on PC. We think they’re missing out on more action oriented and fast-paced fury shooters, so it’s worth the risk of releasing on PC.
Strategy Informer: Also, in terms of safeguarding against piracy, and with the recent Spore DRM debacle, what do you think the best way to combat people playing a game they haven't paid for is? Is it even possible?
Wojciech Pazdur: I believe that the future of the campaign against piracy will be a better approach to making special downloadable editions, as traditional DVD editions will become less important. If the games will be linked more to online – even if they’re only single-player – then there will be more DLC available for registered users only, more online game modes and all this will only be available for people who buy and register. So, I don’t think the problem is just finding a solution to DRM, it’s actually about giving people a better experience and a reason to go out and buy the game, rather than pirating it.
Strategy Informer: NecroVisioN is set for "Q1 2009," can we get any closer to an actual date? Are we talking January or more like March?
Wojciech Pazdur: We can’t confirm a specific date but it’s still scheduled for Q1.
Strategy Informer: Will there be a demo prior to release or do you take the stance that a demo takes up too much dev time and the team would rather concentrate on making the game as perfect as possible?
Wojciech Pazdur: We appreciate the importance of the demo and are working hard to ensure that both the demo and main game are as fun as possible.
Strategy Informer: Finally, is their anything we haven't covered here that you think our audience should know about NecroVisioN and make a beeline for it in the future?
Wojciech Pazdur: Here are some short bullet points:
*to chase instead of being chased,
*to see the look on the enemy’s face when you’re beating the hell out of him
*to kick some asses literally, not only metaphorically,
*to experience some fantasy adventure in land full of horror,
*to use a shovel and bayonet instead of lasers
We at Strategy Informer would like to thank Farm 51 and Wojciech Pazdur in particular for taking the time out to speak to us and stay glued to SI.com for more details on the game as they arrive.