Housemarque Games has emerged as one of the better PS4 developers today even though it’s primarily focused on shooter titles. This is due to RESOGUN, the best launch title the console saw in 2013, and the additional content and support that the title saw down the line. Housemarque is looking for more shooter action and goes back to the Dead Nation well with an intriguing twist. Instead of zombies, you’ll be battling, well, aliens in Alienation. There’s more to the overall game than just an enemy change though.
GamingBolt spoke to Housemarque community manager Tommaso De Benetti about Alienation. How did development on RESOGUN help in bringing the game to PS4 and what is the studio focusing on this time around? Find out below.
"In Alienation we tried to also build a rich metagame revolving around loot that will allow players to build their character exactly how they want. "
Alienation seems like a return to Housemarque’s Dead Nation but faster paced action. What served as the motivation for Alienation’s gameplay?
Tommaso De Benetti: We see Alienation as a step forward from Dead Nation, in the sense that – technical aspects aside – the game is much richer when it comes to customisations and character development. Dead Nation is pure action. In Alienation we tried to also build a rich metagame revolving around loot that will allow players to build their character exactly how they want. While we tried different things for the core loop during various stages of development, I think we are now at the point when we’re satisfied with it and we’re just adding details. The sci-fi setting also allows us to create situations that are different from those of a zombie apocalypse.
How did development on RESOGUN help when creating Alienation?
Tommaso De Benetti: I think we learned a lot especially from the RESOGUN expansions. People love challenges and in-game trophies (called Feats in RESOGUN), so you can expect a similar approach to Alienation. We also learned what works and what doesn’t, and we’ll try to adjust the aim on a couple of details, like for example biasing rewards mostly towards super-skilled players – maybe there’s a way to make sure everybody is having fun and feel satisfied with the game.
We’ve seen a ton of impressive alpha and atmospheric effects from recent gameplay trailers but there’s also lots of chaos. How do you balance the two aspects out, providing a rich visual while also emphasizing on a smooth gameplay experience?
Tommaso De Benetti: Polishing a game is an art in itself, and usually the part where we spend more time. If there’s visual clutter that impacts gameplay it must go, it is at simple as that. We have a good internal Q&A team, I trust their judgment on what needs to be addressed. We keep regular test sessions, so I’m not worried.
What can you tell us about Alienation’s campaign mode? How many players can join in co-op, how many levels are there to complete and what kind of weapons are available for wanton alien slaughter?
Tommaso De Benetti: The campaign can be played in single or up to 4 players, in every class combination they prefer. For levels and weapons you’ll need to wait for more details, I believe they will be discussed in a future announcement.
"We’re touching up the details right now, so perhaps this will be unveiled later on, but players will have to make choices and experiment with their build to progress through the game."
What kind of experience can co-op fans look forward to? How do the mechanics lead to different strategies and such?
Tommaso De Benetti: Class powers can interact and used for combos, so a safe way to go is to use the various class powers to support your team mates, being it healing them or protecting them or whatnot. Each player can also customise his own built, so you never end up with the same combination of elements – working together can be key in many encounters.
What can you tell us about the classes in the game? How many classes will the final game have?
Tommaso De Benetti: The game will feature 3 classes at launch. The names are not final yet, for now we call them “Heavy Assault”, “Biospecialist” and “Recon and Sabotage”. We’ll release more details on their powers later on, but those who played the E3 build can confirm that they are loosely inspired by archetypes such as Tank, Healer and… uhmmmm… perhaps Ninja?
Can you talk about the progression/skill/abilities system in the game?
Tommaso De Benetti: I believe the E3 build still didn’t feature the final design of the skill trees. We’re touching up the details right now, so perhaps this will be unveiled later on, but players will have to make choices and experiment with their build to progress through the game. We also hope that for how we’re implementing things, players will feel compelled to try different approaches to the levels.
Will Alienation also see strong post-launch support like RESOGUN? What kind of content can fans expect in that period?
Tommaso De Benetti: That is most definitely something we’re looking into, but for now all our energies are focused on the core game.