Survival, first person shooting, rogue-lite elements and much more collide.
Charting a new home for humanity isn’t easy, especially in Radiation Blue’s upcoming Genesis Alpha One. Heading into space, players are tasked with navigating the far reaches of space in their vessel, upgrading and defending it as time goes by. Your main goal is to clone more humans, improving them as time goes by while fighting off aliens and exploring a randomly generated universe. It’s a lot to take in, especially when the whole deal incorporates first person shooting as well.
GamingBolt spoke to creative director Sascha Jungnickel about Genesis Alpha One, what to expect and the challenges faced.
"The core activity though is building the spaceship and balancing it between personality, security and efficiency."
Genesis Alpha One is a survival game set in space that combines first person shooting and rogue-like mechanics. How did the idea first come about?
We wanted to merge our favorite topics into one game. We love exploring, sci-fi, FPS, base building and also felt a strong lure towards rogue like / survival gameplay. We made a small prototype to prove the ambitious real-time ship building feature was technically possible. Then we created the universe and Genesis lore around this feature.
What was the biggest challenge in making the game a reality? How did the design change throughout the years of development?
The biggest challenge is not having many formulas to follow. Genesis is a unique game and we can’t look much at other games to get inspired, at least not on a higher level. This fact makes balancing and feature interconnection very challenging. Otherwise, this is very rewarding from a design perspective; Genesis isn’t like any other game.
Players can choose many different directions for their vessel from farming to repelling enemies and cloning creatures. What are some of the other activities that are possible?
Aside from what you mentioned, players can research and construct weapons, follow transmission storylines or complete their artefact collections. The core activity though is building the spaceship and balancing it between personality, security and efficiency.
How does the human cloning aspect play into the gameplay?
Cloning is very central to Genesis gameplay. Clones are needed to initiate a Genesis on habitable planets and they operate various ship systems during the voyage. Alien DNA can improve stats, resistances and abilities of humanoid clones. Clones also serve as ‘lives’ if players get killed – their best clone can be selected as their successor. As long as there are clones on board, the game is not lost.
"The are many nonlinear narrative elements to discover in the randomized universe. These stories are interconnected and follow the fortunes of characters in Quadrant Alpha One."
What kinds of upgrades can players unlock as they diversify their base? Will there be research and skill trees, perks, etc. to choose from?
As players progress, they get access to new ship building modules. These modules provide improved functions for space travel, weapon construction and cloning. Players can also upgrade their character with artefacts (suit-upgrades, legendary items, weapons).
With a randomly generated world, how do you balance between interesting events occurring while keeping things unique and fresh on each playthrough?
The Genesis game world consists of many elements. The randomized procedural universe makes sure players won’t encounter the same, or the same combination of events. Also, the Metagame progress enables players to explore parts of the universe they can’t access in the beginning of the game. This will mean that later playthroughs feature different content.
Is there a story or lore throughout the experience or are players tasked with endless survival? How much does exploration play a role in the experience?
The are many nonlinear narrative elements to discover in the randomized universe. These stories are interconnected and follow the fortunes of characters in Quadrant Alpha One.
How responsive is the shooting in the game? What about the FPS action do you believe will appeal most to fans of the genre?
Shooting is a central element of Genesis and will be fast paced and responsive. We also implemented monster gibbing and physics effects to intensify action / weapon feedback.
What is the current status of development and when can we expect the game to release?
Genesis is currently in Alpha status and we aim for a release in 2018.
"Fidelity in visuals is already on a very high level. In general, we think that players will enjoy games for their play mechanics and art design and (technically) for their framerate."
With a game of this magnitude, have you considered going into Early Access beforehand like some other survival games?
The game will be a full release, no early access.
What resolution and frame rate will the base PS4 and Xbox One versions run at?
We can’t confirm yet, but we will aim for a very smooth experience and we will favor framerate over resolution to grant a fast paced, fluid experience.
Can you tell us what frame rate and resolution will the PS4 Pro version run on? What kind of enhancements will it include?
We aim for 60fps on PS4 pro, if possible in 4k.
I am sure you must have heard about the Xbox One X’s announcement and how powerful it’s. It has a powerful GPU and a ton of memory, I am sure Genesis Alpha One will run at native 4K/60fps on this machine, right?
We haven’t gotten our hands on that system yet, but we will aim for 60fps on the new Xbox.
In terms of pure hardware perspective, the picture is clear. The Xbox One X is far ahead of PS4 Pro in terms of GPU and memory bandwidth. The differences in ROP counts and bandwidth are public knowledge. As a developer, who is the face of pushing visual boundaries, what is your take on the differences between the two and do you think this difference will be visible to the general audience?
Fidelity in visuals is already on a very high level. In general, we think that players will enjoy games for their play mechanics and art design and (technically) for their framerate.
"We aim to create a very unique experience with Genesis. We combine established mechanics and new gameplay into something we always wanted to play ourselves."
Despite being powerful in the memory and GPU departments, the CPU is a tad disappointment and is slightly better than the Xbox One. Do you think that could stop developers from realizing its full potential?
No, GPUs are strong enough to provide amazing interactive experiences.
The PS4 Pro despite being a powerful system is actually weaker than the Xbox One X. As a developer, will you aim for parity between the two or will you push the Xbox One X to its strengths?
We will aim to equalize the performance in general but given the memory advantage.
The Xbox One X features 12GB of GDDR5 memory. Now that is a ton of memory…how do you think this will be beneficial for the developers?
The greatest benefit will be the possible usage of higher resolution and variety of textures.
Is there anything else you want to tell our readers before we let you go?
We aim to create a very unique experience with Genesis. We combine established mechanics and new gameplay into something we always wanted to play ourselves. We hope players will enjoy this voyage into space as much as we do.