Alex Golebiowski of PixelNAUTS on what makes Lost Orbit special.
Lost Orbit is centered around the player exploring space in which they control of a lone astronaut who undertakes a journey to rejoin his civilization. Players will be able to use use the gravitational forces of planets to navigate and make their way through the space.
In order to know more about Lost Orbit, I sat with PixelNAUTS Games’ founders Alex Golebiowski and Chris Iacobucci. Check out the full interview below.
Rashid Sayed: Before we begin, can you please introduce yourself and the company you are working for?
We are Alex Golebiowski and Chris Iacobucci, Co-Founders of PixelNAUTS Games.
Rashid Sayed: The game is supposed to come out in 2015. How close are you to the final launch day?
For the past few months we have just been bug testing and polishing the game. We are now in the process of finalizing our builds and getting them ready for distributor approval. We’re close! Too close actually, I feel like something bad is going to happen suddenly.
"First, we wanted to do a bit of a cartoony look for the game, exaggerated scale and colours, we wanted to stay away from the typical drab “space” look. "
Rashid Sayed: PixelNAUTS consists of team members who have worked on Darksiders. I must add that I am a big fan of the series. Having said that did Darksiders played a role in any way in developing Lost Orbit?
While we didn’t work for Vigil itself, we had the privilege of working on Darksiders at Silicon Knights. SK had the opportunity to take on some of the environment work for Darksiders and we were lucky enough to be on the team selected to help out. We learned a lot from our time on Darksiders, primarily the importance of getting the game functioning early, and making it fun long before art gets their hands on it.
We were given a build of the game with no environment art and only WIP characters, but all the mechanics worked and were really fun! All we had to do was make it pretty. We took that to heart and approached LOST ORBIT in the same way. We got the locomotion and base mechanics working and polished them until the game was fun. Only then, did we start to think about what the game should look like.
Rashid Sayed: The game has some of the best cel-shaded visuals I have ever seen for an indie game. What was your approach for the same?
Thanks a lot! 😀 First, we wanted to do a bit of a cartoony look for the game, exaggerated scale and colours, we wanted to stay away from the typical drab “space” look. Secondly, we wanted the game to still have a bit of grit to match the harsh realities of life in space. We tried a lot of different styles and we settled on the mixture of cell shaded outlines and dynamic lighting that you see in the game.
"We decided to focus on Steam and PS4 first and look into other opportunities later on. We’re a very small team, funding the game ourselves, each platform adds quite a bit of development and testing time which can get expensive quickly."
Rashid Sayed: Fast-paced shoot’em up games are found in abundance. What do you think makes Lost Orbit unique?
We’re calling LOST ORBIT a Dodge ‘Em Up.It’s incredibly fast, deadly, and takes quite a bit of skill to excel at. We wanted to combine the energy of a shoot ‘em up, without focusing on combat, and the twitch gameplay of a platformer, but from a new perspective.
LOST ORBIT makes players focus on speed and skill through four systems and over 40 levels. Each system is filled with unique mechanics, obstacles and ways to die. LOST ORBIT is a fresh game and we think players will really find something to love about it. We’ve had a difficult time likening the game to other titles, but the best description we’ve had so far is Donkey Kong Country, meets Frogger, with a splashof Nights and awhole lot of blood. A Dodge ‘EmUp Death Simulator.
Rashid Sayed: You might have been asked this question a lot but why is Lost Orbit skipping the Xbox One?
We decided to focus on Steam and PS4 first and look into other opportunities later on. We’re a very small team, funding the game ourselves, each platform adds quite a bit of development and testing time which can get expensive quickly. We had the opportunities to launch on Steam and PS4 first so we took them, we would love to see LOST ORBIT on as many platforms as possible. We’ll see how it does and move on from there.
Rashid Sayed: For players looking to finish the game, how long will the experience last, especially that the player will die a lot?
Most players will be able to get through the game in around 4-5 hours. The game also features a time trial mode where you can rank on leaderboards, and race your friends’ ghosts. Each level is also ranked and achieving the highest rank is no easy task. We wanted to make the game tough, but digestible, and still have something for the hardcore fans to invest some serious time into.
"I think Indies have their place as risk takers and innovators and I don’t think that will change any time soon."
Rashid Sayed: As someone who comes from AAA games development background, what is your take on the differences between the PS4 and Xbox One?
As a developer we don’t really know right now as we have only had a chance to work with the PS4. It’s been a great experience and their support of Indies has been pretty amazing. We look forward to having the chance to put the game on other platforms and work with new hardware.
As a gamer I have always been a Nintendo and Sony fan, but have owned all the systems for the last few generations. For me it’s all about the games and each console always has an exclusive I can’t pass by. So the real difference for me is the games, which one has the games I want to play more. I think they’re both doing a great job securing AAA and Indie titles to provide unique experiences for their fans.
Rashid Sayed: Furthermore, what are your thoughts on the PS4’s GPU? Do you think Sony will be optimizing it heavily with updated drivers in the future so that it remains competent?
PS4 has been great to work with and like all previous console it will only get better with time. Sony will keep updating and optimizing their tools and devs will get better at pushing the hardware to new limits. Our experience so far has been pretty smooth and painless.
Rashid Sayed: According to you, where do you think indie games development is heading in the next few years and how will it compare to AAA games development?
I think Indies have their place as risk takers and innovators and I don’t think that will change any time soon. Indies aren’t out to compete with AAA, they’re here give gamers variety. People can play their favorite AAA and take some time to try something refreshing and new with an Indie Game. I think the biggest change to Indie development is the support and acceptance of distributors. That relationship will continue to grow in coming years.