For our From the Devs feature, we find indie games with potential and let the developers tell you about their projects. Today we have Alex, game designer of Frozen State, a post-apocalyptic survival-horror sandbox game.
TechZwn: What’s your game and what’s it about?
Alex: I can speak endlessly about Frozen State, but will do my best to keep it short and concise.
Our game is a sandbox horror survival with an isometric, top-down camera view. You take a role of one of the survivors, and basically try to stay alive as long as possible by scavenging, hiding, scouting, and shooting down enemies in a secret zone located somewhere in Siberia.
TechZwn: What makes your game unique?
Alex: Well, I can’t say we open a new universe, but I believe that we can bring some fresh experiences to the gaming community. There are three main features we want to focus on in Frozen State, which are quiet unusual to see in one bundle.
1) A big interactive world. By “interactive” I mean the world that reacts on a player’s actions and decisions. Those actions will either open or close access to some areas, rooms, or equipment, also they will trigger semi-random or random micro events and quests. For example, you fixed electricity and turned on the lights, now you can search a building without a torch, but in meantime, somewhere in the basement a water pipe blew up and flooded the area. That means you will never get into that basement and never know what was there until you start a new game.
2) Replayability. I like games you can play a hundred times and every time you find something new—whether it’s a place, a weapon, or an unique monster. We are going to make this in Frozen State as well. Every time you play, you character will have some random skills, which effect the game balance and the way you play, also it may influence your decisions. Therefore, the world will react differently.
3) Atmosphere and setting. Many games depict the post-apocalyptic world as a devastated desert—hot and desolate. We want to show what the post apocalypse might look like in cold areas. The cold environment won’t be just a setting, as it takes an important part of gameplay making players find wormer clothes, a place to warm up, and so on. Also, we’d like to bring a touch of retro futurism and diesel punk in the 30s-50s years of the Soviet Union to create an alternative dark, gloomy world full of danger.
TechZwn: Where did the inspiration come from?
Alex: We get our ideas from many sources: books, films, games, even some BBC documentaries. Of course, we are the big fans of Fallout and Half-Life, as you can see from the sketches, these games have a big influence on our vision and visual style.
However, the idea of a game where you have to survive, despite inevitable death, came from a book “I am Legend.” The book just blew my mind, it’s so deep and depressing that I wanted to make a game that would immerse a player in a similar situation and give him/her a chance feel it.
TechZwn: Is there anything you saw in modern gaming that you’d like to change or build on with your game?
Alex: Hmmm… I don’t like criticize, but as a gamer, I think modern games are suffering from a lack of challenge. They are way too easy. Many of them are like movies where from time to time you have to press a few buttons too see the next cutscene, you don’t care how many times you have died, you don’t loose anything… it just stops you for a while and becomes an annoyance. Although there are many brilliant indie games and mods which are trying to break this trend and bring something new.
What would we change with our game? We’d like to make a game that would immerse a person in the environment of fatalism, a world full of freedom and danger. The realistic world where you can spend hours “shaping” and exploring. Where a player would empathize with his character and the death would be the end of the game.
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say or talk about regarding your game (or gaming in general)?
Alex: I think gaming industry has changed a lot. Developing and publishing games has become easier and less expensive. Many enthusiasts make really cool games (DayZ, Project Zomboid, FTL, Minecraft, and many others). Unlike big publishers, they aren’t afraid of experimenting with genres, game mechanics, etc. They are also less concerned about profits, they do what they like whether it’s mainstream or not.
It’s an interesting phenomena, fresh blood in the endless flow of sequels and trilogies. I would describe it with one word: CREATIVITY.
I hope we will see more interesting, breathtaking titles from indie developers.
Thanks for your time, we will be working hard to make one of those games.