Immortal Redneck Interview: Procedural Violence in Egypt

Roguelite gameplay meets twitch shooting in Crema’s FPS.

Posted By | On 29th, Mar. 2017 Under Article, Interviews

When you think Egypt, you think of Serious Sam. Immortal Redneck from Crema isn’t all that different from the craziness that defined Croteam. The first person shooting is highly twitch-based but there are a lot more layers to uncover. There are skill trees, procedural dungeons, nine different classes and so much more. In a way, Immortal Redneck looks like Enter the Gungeon but from an first person perspective.

GamingBolt spoke to creative director Guillermo Andrades about the game and what defines it in this generation.

"I’ve always loved Egyptian culture and I think there’s so few games set in Egypt. Giza pyramids are the perfect setting for a game and Egyptian culture is vast and there’s a lot to explore there."

How did development of the game start? What challenges did you face both before and after arriving on Steam Greenlight?

The development started with just a prototype and a visual reference of what we wanted to achieve. That way we could focus on the aesthetics, the core mechanics of the game and the feeling of the controls. Before Greenlight we faced the typical challenges of game development most notably the delays on development times and the constant adding of new features to improve the game. We’ve been working very hard on making the best game we can and that’s very time consuming.

After Greenlight we’re facing new challenges, closing the final build of the game, filling the endless paperwork and creating the assets needed for all stores… All that while crazy-testing the game to ensure it’s not filled with bugs and glitches.

Tell us about the premise of Immortal Redneck. What influenced you to come up with such a ridiculous yet comedic storyline?

The idea came very organically. I’ve always loved Egyptian culture and I think there’s so few games set in Egypt. Giza pyramids are the perfect setting for a game and Egyptian culture is vast and there’s a lot to explore there.

Also, Rednecks characters in movies/series are always memorable and again there’s almost no games featuring a Redneck protagonist. I think the mix between the Egyptian epicness and the Redneck humour is just perfect.

Immortal Redneck takes a roguelite approach to its levels. Considering the relatively small number of FPS/roguelite titles (Strafe is the other that comes to mind), how do you feel fans of both genres would react?

Almost every good FPS Roguelite has been successful and I think that makes sense. Both genres fit perfectly and share some core mechanics between them (precise controls, quick gameplay, hard experiences…). We’ve tried to come with the perfect mix between Roguelite and FPS so let’s hope fans will think the same!

What are the different classes that can be played and how do they accommodate different play styles?

Each class will be defined by a variation of stats, an active and passive ability and a unique set of weapons. The first class you’ll play is the Redneck (obviously!). It’s the most balanced one and it’s aimed at new players so you can get the game mechanics without complicating it too much with complex abilities or more advanced weapons.

All the other classes will be defined by a God favour. The God will grant the Redneck their weapons and abilities. Each class is designed with a play style in mind. For example there’s Apis (God of Strength) really slow and can’t double jump but has a huge life bar and some heavy weapons. On the other side you have Thoth (God of Knowledge) which features double jump and a blink ability so you gain a lot of mobility.

"We tried to make everything procedural in order to add more variety in the game, but it’s really not compatible with the aesthetics we wanted for the game."

Can you tell us about the skill tree and some of the abilities that players will be able to acquire?

The Skill Tree is one of the biggest features of the game. It allows you to improve your character in many ways and also unlock the other classes in the game (initially you can only play with Redneck).

You will be able to upgrade every stat (attack, defense, health…) and also some other abilities like extra jumps, better ammo pickables or the chance to find new objects in chests.

In randomly generated dungeons, how do you avoid any one level, layout or asset being repeated too often? How do you manage to keep things fresh?

It’s one of the worst things in Roguelites and there’s very few things you can do in order to avoid it. We have some rules in place to try to keep the layouts fresh but since our rooms are pre-generated in order to make the best decoration possible you’re going to notice repetition from time to time.

We tried to make everything procedural in order to add more variety in the game, but it’s really not compatible with the aesthetics we wanted for the game.

With permadeath being an issue, will Immortal Redneck feature some kind of unlocks that players can use on their next run through?

Yeah, the Skill Tree upgrades will be permanent so every time you die you’ll become better by spending your money there. Also, we have a Merchant in place who will sell you Medallions that affect the gameplay. These Medallions will be unlocked with Blueprints you’ve found inside the pyramids and also will be permanent.

Will there be weekly and daily challenges, perhaps modifiers as well to allow players to up the difficulty?

Sadly, not for the release. We have some ideas on how to implement them (since our game has progression the daily/weekly quest presents some additional challenges) but we wanted to focus on the campaign and the content for the release.

Daily and Weekly quest is one of the first planned updates for the game so you’ll have to wait a bit more for these game modes.

"We’re aiming at around 15 hours to complete the full game. That’s beating the tree pyramids, all the bosses and reaching the final point of the game (aka the credits)."

What can be expected in terms of boss fights?

We have six bosses, two in each pyramid. One will serve as a “checkpoint” (somewhere around the middle of the pyramid) and the other one will be the final boss at the pyramid apex.

The bosses are huge. All of them implement unique mechanics so they’re going to be interesting and hard fights. They’ll also feature custom cinematics, we’re working on every detail and trying to make them memorable.

As a whole, how long do you think it will take players to clear a single run? How long will it take to see everything the game has to offer?

It’s very difficult to come up with the time of a single run in Immortal Redneck. A single run can be something between a minute and an hour. Completing a pyramid from the bottom to top it’s around 40-60 min but since you’re going to die (a lot) you’re going to spend a lot of runs dying really quick and then trying again.

We’re aiming at around 15 hours to complete the full game. That’s beating the tree pyramids, all the bosses and reaching the final point of the game (aka the credits). But seeing everything in the game and getting all of the achievements is going to take you longer. We have 50+ weapons and 100+ ingame perks so you’ll need to keep playing after beating the final boss if you want to see everything.

What are your plans for the PS4 Pro version? Any plans to provide higher frames and resolution with Immortal Redneck on the PS4 Pro?

We’re aiming at 1080p@60fps in the non-pro PS4 so we will have a lot of margin to improve the game on the PS4 Pro. We want to up the resolution (4K native or scaled) while keeping the 60fps and also put some custom posteffects to improve how the game looks.

How do you rate Sony’s relatively more conservative approach with the PS4 Pro versus Microsoft’s more radical overhaul with the Xbox One Scorpio? Which excites you more, from a development perspective?

PS4 Pro is awesome and the development tools are even more awesome. It’s a breeze adapting games for it and testing them in the devkits. We’re really excited to support PS4/PS4 Pro. We haven’t tested Scorpio yet, but I hope the development tools also allows you to easily adapt the game and to squeeze all the power it has.

For us as developers both approaches are fine, we’re just thrilled to make our game available in more platforms and with more customization in each one.

"Most of us are not going to notice the difference between real 4K and “fake” 4k with Checkerboard."

With the PS4 Pro, Sony have increased the memory bandwidth a little bit, but they have kept the overall memory pool the same as it is on standard PS4 systems. Is this a fair trade off? Or do you foresee RAM becoming a bottleneck for game development as we move further on with this generation?

In Immortal Redneck the bottleneck is the CPU on consoles and GPU on PC so we don’t have a lot of problems with the memory pool being the same as the standard PS4. I think it makes sense in order to maintain compatibility between the standard and pro versions and developers are going to adjust to it just fine.

What is your take on Sony’s Checkerboard technique for 4K rendering versus native 4K rendering that Microsoft are espousing with the Scorpio? To the naked guy, what will the difference be? And what are the differences from a development and programming perspective?

Most of us are not going to notice the difference between real 4K and “fake” 4k with Checkerboard. Unless your TV is HUGE or you’re sitting so close to it you’re not going to notice anything but even with the Checkerboard rendering you’ll notice an upgrade from 1080p so it’s good to have it. Let’s wait for reviews on the Scorpio and comparisons of the two systems.

The Xbox One Scorpio is being touted as the most powerful console ever made. And yet, given Microsoft’s diktat that all games have maintain parity with standard Xbox One systems, and that there can be no Scorpio exclusives, do you really think that the Scorpio’s power will be able to be put to any meaningful use?

It all depends on the developers. Right now what we’re seeing with PS4 Pro is that most games are the same and the changes between the versions are really small (resolution, framerate or more effects). If the power difference is really that huge developers are going to need a lot of time and tweaking to take advantage of it.

Are there any plans to bring the game to Nintendo Switch?

I’d love to. We’ve been in talks with Nintendo and we’re waiting for the devkits to become available to all developers. I think Immortal Redneck would look great on Switch and would be a really good addition to the catalog.

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