Imperative’s Steve Bowler talks about the action adventure based on the TV series.
The Heroes Reborn TV series may be on the ropes following NBC’s cancellation but the story itself is still on-going, as indicated with Imperative Entertainment’s Heroes Reborn: Gemini. As a first person action adventure title, Gemini sees players taking on the role of Cassandra, Dahlia’s younger sister, who can use telekinesis and time travel to fight. It’s an intriguing experience for fans of the show and GamingBolt had a chance to speak to lead designer Steve Bowler about the game and its development following release on current gen consoles.
"We built the game with the hope that players would find their own groove using the abilities."
What inspired the first person perspective for Heroes Reborn: Gemini?
Steve Bowler: Right off the bat we wanted this to be a personal experience for the player. So much of what made Heroes a powerful TV series was witnessing how characters discovered they had powers for the first time. We wanted to capture that sensation as much as possible for the player, so putting you not just in first person, but in “full body awareness” first person seemed the way to do it most effectively.
Can you tell us about some of the adventure elements and where the action comes in? Is Heroes Reborn: Gemini more in line with your typical first person shooter or more like Soma with its adventure elements?
Steve Bowler: Adventure elements-wise we definitely tried to do a few puzzle type things with your abilities. At times we want you to do a couple of cause-effect things by manipulating the time stream (move something in the past, and it’s where you needed it in the present type stuff), but mostly we try to keep it 70% action and 30% puzzle level-to-level.
What are some of the feats that players will find themselves pulling off in Heroes Reborn: Gemini?
Steve Bowler: We built the game with the hope that players would find their own groove using the abilities. Some players might want to do time-stealth takedowns where they would jump between time periods and take each guard down individually by looking through time-scout for their position, then shifting through time and catch them from behind, where other players may want to rush in using Time-Stop and sort of TK bull-rush everyone while they’re stuck in slow-mo. It’s really up to players to see what kind of ability/object/enemy combinations they can come up with!
"I don’t even know if I could encapsulate what the average critical response is to the Reborn series! Some people love it, some disliked it."
Tell us about some of the mysteries that players will be exploring in Gemini. How will they tie into the main show and will there be any connections for original Heroes fans?
Steve Bowler: I don’t want to go too into the depth of the story and spoil the game! So we’ll just say that you start playing as a new character in the Heroes Universe, named Cassandra, who thinks she’s an everyday normal human, who discovers she has an amazing combination of abilities. She’s looking for some clue as to who her family is, as she was adopted and doesn’t know who her parents are, so we begin the mystery with her on a self-discovery voyage, and she learns some shocking things about herself, and the facility she hoped to find information on her parents at.
The game itself has no concrete connection to the series; we like to say it’s a side-story in the Heroes Universe and you don’t need to have any background knowledge about either TV series to enjoy it. However, if you were a big fan of either series and you’re playing the game, we have tons of little “secrets” for you to uncover that are nods to both show runs that we hope fans will enjoy uncovering.
What are your thoughts on the average critical response that Heroes Reborn (the TV show) received and has it affected development in any way?
Steve Bowler: I don’t even know if I could encapsulate what the average critical response is to the Reborn series! Some people love it, some disliked it. Some liked it, then disliked it towards the middle and then said it got way better towards the end. Honestly I’m not sure if there is any real consensus on it. As far as it effecting development, we were mostly done with the core of the gameplay mechanics, levels, and story elements around the time the first episode began airing, and have been doing mostly polish and bug fixes/enhancements since. We definitely wouldn’t have had any time to react to the show direction/reception, as I think we started production on the game technically before the series even began shooting.
Heroes Reborn: Gemini is also interesting because it directly interweaves with the recently released Heroes Reborn: Enigma. Could you tell us more about how Enigma connects to Gemini and what players of the former can expect?
Steve Bowler: We got to do something really fun when we took on both projects, and pitched them as companion games. Both characters in both games have very similar ability sets, and both games take place within the same facility. Enigma starts in the Past and goes from the bottom of the facility to the top, and Gemini starts in the Present and goes from the top of the facility down. Eventually, both characters cross paths and time, and give each other insight into their personal objectives and goals! It was a huge challenge figuring out how that would all work out, and we hope there are some fans out there that play both games and get to see the big picture of how both stories work together to make one bigger cohesive story.
"Developing for any console in any generation has been about trying to fit something in a box that’s always just slightly smaller than you want it to be."
How long of an experience can players expect from the game?
Steve Bowler: Our internal focus tests saw players taking anywhere from 4.5-6 hours per play through, depending on player preferences.
Heroes Reborn: Gemini is heading to the Xbox One and PS4 along with PC. What obstacles did you face, if any, when developing on consoles as opposed to the PC?
Steve Bowler: Developing for any console in any generation has been about trying to fit something in a box that’s always just slightly smaller than you want it to be. UE4 makes our jobs a lot easier by having build tools that package the game neatly for each console, but we still always have a bit of performance tweaking to do to the game to get it to run at 30fps and look as good as we can make it look on consoles.
Did you see any advantages of developing on one console versus the other?
Steve Bowler: I’m not the most technically inclined person when it comes to console vs. console details, but from my understanding the hardware is super similar on both.
Is the game going to run at 1080p and 60fps on both consoles?
Steve Bowler: We aimed for a consistent 30fps on console (and PC), as we’re not a multiplayer e-sport title, and that allowed us to focus on making the lighting and effects as good as possible for the single player experience.
Are there any plans for more Heroes Reborn games in the future?
Steve Bowler: Not that we know of at this time! We’d love to do more as we had a ton of fun making both Gemini and Enigma!