“From the Devs” is a daily feature where we find indie games with potential, and let the developers tell you about their projects and what makes them unique. Today we have John Koukourakis of KoukouStudios talking about his upcoming game, Lethe.
TechZwn: What’s your game and what’s it about?
Koukourakis: Lethe is a fictional horror first person supernatural shooter & puzzle solving game, introducing a character called Robert Dawn and his journey through his own “purgatory.”
In Greek mythology Lethe is a river and those who drank from it would experience complete forgetfulness. In our case, Lethe is Robert’s spiritual journey to the truth and the salvation of his own soul.
In Lethe there are no physical weapons or guns. The entire gameplay is based upon a collection of supernatural powers Robert gains as he moves forward in game. “Telekinesis,” “Swift” (Speeding), Truth (Alt reality), and Levitation are a few of those abilities. We also include aggressive powers such as the commonly used fireballs or bolts but in most of cases we try to suggest the player to use the environment around him and engine’s physics in order to either make his way through Lethe or face his enemies.
That’s all I can say about gameplay at the moment as we’re still working on some aspects of the prototype.
TechZwn: What makes your game unique?
Koukourakis: Although a horror title we try to make Lethe fun to play while keeping the horror part inside psychological borders.
Lethe is about the “impression” of the mind… We make great use of psychology in the game. The most important factor in Lethe is the environment. Each map must reflect certain feelings. We want to feed both the eye but also the brain and the heart of the player.
TechZwn: Where did the inspiration come from?
Koukourakis: There’s no specific source of inspiration. Like I said, Lethe is about the “impression” of the mind. Those little moments stuck at the back side of our brain without our permission. It could be novel books, movies, art, video games, music, or even the nature itself. A broken window in a deserted village that reveals the darkness behind it or the sound of the wind through the small gaps around an old door.
TechZwn: Is there anything you saw in modern gaming that you’d like to change or build on with your game?
Koukourakis: You know I seriously miss those early 2000’s video games. It’s hard to explain but games used to be a lot more atmospheric, if I may use that word, in the past. We might not had the freedom modern games introduced but I believe those old graphic engines had a lot more soul beneath the digits of their source codes.
Today I can barely think of a title that I would personally like to play again and again and most important I can barely think of game that kept me playing to the end credits. By the time modern graphics kicked in, games lost their “novel” feeling. Now it’s all about explosions and fancy effects.
Just like another Hollywood, modern games manage to keep our eyes but not our brains or hearts and that’s something we hope to change with Lethe.
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say or talk about regarding your game (or gaming in general)?
Koukourakis: The modern and the so called “civilized” man holds no ideals or ID beneath his perfect looks and the expensive clothes. The same thing happened with video games. Crushed beneath the weight of the great graphics in the race of perfection they lost their soul. “Triple A” companies cannot and won’t make the difference. Let’s make that difference through the indie scene and produce games that still have something for the player to remember by the time the end titles make their appearance on the screen.
Moving forward sometimes takes a few steps back. We’ve already seen that happening with many art forms and video games, besides entertainment, are also an art form.
At this point I’d also like to thank Epic Games for UDK (Unreal Development Kit) for giving the opportunity to indie dev teams like us, of using a great piece of software such as Unreal Engine for free. It’s a groundbreaking move and I’m sure it’ll change the meaning of video games in the future.