On3D talks about its upcoming Metroidvania-style title.
Though the future has turned out in a less apocalyptic fashion than many of us guessed in the early 90s, the influence of movies like Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and The Matrix still linger heavy. If not for their cinematic brilliance then for the fact that they imagine a future where technology is pretty much inseparable from one’s state of being. Quantum Replica will be looking to capture that feeling while also incorporating Metroidvania-style gameplay from an isometric perspective.
GamingBolt had a chance to speak to developer On3D about the experience and how it mixes time manipulation with cyberpunk and isometric action adventure. Quantum Replica is out in 2017 for PC in Q1 with Xbox One and PS4 to follow in Q2 of 2017.
"One of the main challenges we have had up until now is to find different ways for the player to be interested in revisiting the places once he has passed them."
First, we wanted to ask you about the setting- it’s an inspired, dystopian cyberpunk setting, along the lines of something like The Matrix or Blade Runner. What were your inspirations for this game?
We certainly grew up with the 80’s cyberpunk and the love for neon dystopian movie settings such as Akira or Ghost in the Shell. Visually, I think those would be our main inspirations. Gameplay wise, we like to think of Quantum Replica as a mix of the stealth of Metal Gear Solid 1 meeting the exploration of Super Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
The gameplay that we have been shown has shown us a mix of fast paced action and stealth- what are the challenges of ensuring that it never becomes too focused on one of those two, and that it instead offers a balanced take?
As a stealth game, we have the goal of making fun ways for the player to feel that he is smarter than the environment and the enemies looking for him. This was our first thought in the process of puzzle design. Nevertheless, the player will have a lot of options with different types of items, pickups and developing abilities such as time manipulation, to feel also powerful in front of his enemies.
How will you reconcile the fast action and the time manipulation abilities in the game with the Metroidvania setup?
One of the main challenges we have had up until now is to find different ways for the player to be interested in revisiting the places once he has passed them. We like to think of those time manipulation abilities as ways for the player to cover up greater distances and ways to facilitate and empower the player facing previously resolved areas in new and fun ways. Those time manipulation abilities also offer us the possibility of introducing game mechanics that are not usually seen in the stealth genre (like moving fast in the space or slowing down the time around him).
Narratively, this appears to be a very rich setting you have here- is this something you plan on exploring in the future with a sequel, or another game set in this universe? Or are you focused on just telling this game’s story for now?
Right now we are certainly focused on offering the players an evolving story in Quantum Replica. We want them to really feel inside a cyberpunk dystopian city. However, we would actually love to make a sequel and offer the players new experiences with the universe that we have been creating.
"We are going with the full “Outcast” package as you don’t feel human, neither machine: As the game progress, players will discover their true nature, and why their character ended up being in this mega-city."
Quantum Replica is coming to PS4, Xbox One, and PC- what will be the differences between the various versions?
Quantum Replica will be first released on PC, so right now we are focused on offering the same game quality in all three platforms. As for differences in each of them, we have been thinking of ways to take advantage of the strengths of each platform, without changing the real game experience, but I wouldn’t like to spoil the surprise for now.
What can you tell us about the level design and how do you plan to make it engaging with the stealth mechanics?
As a stealth and Metroidvania combination, Quantum Replica is certainly a different approach to the traditional stealth games, so players can expect a world that is not divided by independent puzzles, but a vast setting with different ways to cover up an area, shortcuts and decisions making such as: Should I go forward or go backwards to that area that was before locked up to me? Should I play this stealth or should I kill my enemies?
Tell us a bit about the story. Who do you play as and what are your goals?
In Quantum Replica, you are a foreigner in a strange and hostile environment. And by saying foreigner, we not only mean that the player’s character is in some strange place. We are going with the full “Outcast” package as you don’t feel human, neither machine: As the game progress, players will discover their true nature, and why their character ended up being in this mega-city.
How long is the game expected to last length wise?
We are thinking about 6 hours of gameplay, and different ways for players to enjoy the experience once they have completed the game. We are looking forward to have some good backtracking.
Is the game going to run at 1080p and 60fps on both the PS4 and Xbox One?
We are aiming at it!
Is there any chance of this game making its way to some other platforms in the future? Any consideration to bring it on Nintendo NX?
As developers, we certainly get excited with the thought of having the game for new platforms, so it would be great if we can bring up Quantum Replica (or a new experience) in Nintendo NX.
"As I mentioned in the first question, we at On3D Studios, we all grew up with great 80’s anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell."
What are your thoughts on the upcoming developments in the gaming industry? VR, PlayStation 4 NEO and Xbox One Scorpio, Nintendo’s NX- as a developer and a player, what is your take on them?
These are certainly exciting time to be a game developer! All of those new platforms are new challenges, but also new ways to offer different and refreshing experiences to players.
As developers, do you prefer the more conservative approach for an upgrade that Sony have targeted with the Neo, or do you think Microsoft’s more radical jump ahead with the Scorpio is more promising?
We are thankful as they are both options for developers to come up with new and more refined experiences to offer to players. We will have to wait and develop on them before choosing our next challenge.
Given that Sony and Microsoft both mandate that there can be no exclusive Neo and Scorpio games, don’t you think that the Neo and Scorpio are effectively redundant, given that there is not much you can do with that excess power?
Although it can be seen as a new and challenging task for the developers, one of our main goals will be to offer a global experience for all the platforms, while thinking on specific contents that would be only enjoyed with the strengths of each platform.
What can we expect from you next?
With Quantum Replica we have learned a lot and came up with various ideas for the stealth genre, so there is a chance that we come up with a new take on this genre (always trying to take elements also from different genres). Also, we want to offer to players experiences filled with an interesting story background.
Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
As I mentioned in the first question, we at On3D Studios, we all grew up with great 80’s anime like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. Giving players an experience in which they could feel an outcast like Tetsuo or major Kusanagi is the main task that we have had with Quantum Replica, so there is a lot of passion involved. Hopefully, players will thrill when the game comes out at 2017! We hope that all of you become a part in Quantum Replica’s universe. We are looking forward to play along in this awesome cyberpunk adventure with you.