Thotwise CEO talks about the upcoming first person survival horror with aliens.
For all the horror games we’ve seen surrounding ghosts, demons, defiled inmates and even Xenomorphs, there’s rarely been a first person survival horror title which focuses on the good ol’ fashioned aliens of yore. You know the kind – the ones that conspiracy theorists like to babble about and which are often presented as large-headed and buggy eyed. The aliens of Thotwise’s The Hum: Abductions aren’t quite as stereotypical but the universe does bear the basis theme that we’re not alone and not necessarily safe.
The Hum: Abductions is currently in development for the PC and PS4, and will focus on exploration and survival. There are various things we don’t know about the game, which is why GamingBolt sat down with Thotwise founder and CEO Ariel Arias to learn more. What are the aliens exactly and how do players go about surviving their brutal influence? Find out below.
"I'm always looking to embody my therapist experiences and my philosophical ideas into my games, books and stories. Our minds are so powerful, that they become double-edged swords. You can get from them the most wonderful and horrible stuff of the universe."
Rashid K. Sayed: The Hum has this intriguing concept of aliens. But there has been some concern regarding the execution of gameplay mechanics since we haven’t seen too much of its. Can you please explain what the game will play like?
Ariel Arias: The Hum: Abductions has a classical gameplay, based on exploration and slow indirect narrative. The game will be telling you more than just “a lonely woman story horror”, while you face an imminent situation.
The Hum: The Alien Invasion Simulator is something strange and very experimental by the moment, taking survival mechanics and procedural generation.
Rashid K. Sayed: The game emphasizes on survival by finding food and ways to get out of a particular situation. Does this the game will be more about survival rather than taking the fight to the aliens?
Ariel Arias: Yes, absolutely. The Hum: The Alien Invasion Simulation is not about epic laser fights, it’s about surviving in a ghetto ruled by aliens, where humans are the prisoners.
Even if you can try a fight for your freedom, the chances of achieve something valuable are, really low.
Rashid K. Sayed: Given your history as a therapist, can we expect it to play a role in the game?
Ariel Arias: I’m always looking to embody my therapist experiences and my philosophical ideas into my games, books and stories.
Our minds are so powerful, that they become double-edged swords. You can get from them the most wonderful and horrible stuff of the universe. And I think it’s very important to try with real effort to bring this wide spectrum to The Hum, where we are telling many things about human nature.
Rashid K. Sayed: What abilities will the protagonist have? Will he share some of the powers from aliens later in the game?
Ariel Arias: In The Hum: Alien Invasion Simulator, you will suffer changes in your basic human nature, so you will be able to make not-human actions. But I cannot say much more about this by the moment. We are focusing in Abductions, and we prefer to leave Invasion’s details for later.
Rashid K. Sayed: Given that aliens are the dominant species in the game, are you looking to borrow certain elements from the fantastic Alien Isolation?
Ariel Arias: I didn’t play many games in the last years… except for “quick-matched” games like some MOBA or RTS or TCG. I don’t know many details about other horror games or even Alien Isolation, it would be great to play them in some moment but now…I don’t have the time!
" I've talked with both companies and, by the moment, the easiest path for us, a really small team of 2-3 people, was PS4. But, first it will be released for Steam/DRM-free and then we will close the PS4 port."
Rashid K. Sayed: The game will have a number of strange aliens that will be an obstacle to the player. What can you tell us about them, especially about their AI?
Ariel Arias: I cannot say so much in advance about it yet, but you can expect different races, different roles and hierarchies!
The story being The Hum, what now I call “The Hum Universe”, is really huge, and it’s very important that the NPCs express what they really are in this universe. That’s why AI is something I’m taking special attention with.
Rashid K. Sayed: The aliens seem to be well equipped with technology as well. Different types of space ships and even Space Time manipulation. How will these play a role in the gameplay mechanics?
Ariel Arias: The Hum: Alien Invasion Simulator is in a very experimental stage, so there are still lots of details to balance and many things to decide if keep them as game design choices or just removes them from the actual gameplay.
Rashid K. Sayed: Why is the game a console exclusive to the PS4? Is there a reason why Xbox One is not getting its own version?
Ariel Arias: I’ve talked with both companies and, by the moment, the easiest path for us, a really small team of 2-3 people, was PS4. But, first it will be released for Steam/DRM-free and then we will close the PS4 port. Making a port and this kind of multiplatform support is not magic, and with our low budget, we cannot just promise lots of platforms by the moment.
Another platform’s ports are not discarded, it would be great to reach more platforms, but I cannot officially announce them yet.
Rashid K. Sayed: Will The Hum run at 1080p and 60fps on the PS4?
Ariel Arias: I cannot answer this yet, since we didn’t make the proper deploys for PS4. The project still needs some time to mature, and some of those specs will be defined later.
Rashid K. Sayed: The game will be running on Unreal Engine 4. Can you talk about the advantages this offers to The Hum, in terms of advanced visual effects?
Ariel Arias: UE4 is just awesome. It was first sight love for me. It has many advantages beside its great visual too but, yes, visuals are really good and powerful in this engine.
The most important rendering feature for The Hum, is UE4 capability of create stunning lights and shadows, which are very important for us in order to create good sci-fi-alien-abduction scenes.
"All along the last 20 years, I was creating a sci-fi universe, which I always called as “The History of the Galaxy” and, now, “The Hum Universe”. I wrote 16 novels, which I have as manuscripts and notes, private wikis, RPG books and many more."
Rashid K. Sayed: As someone who is developing on PC, what are your thoughts about the recent announcement regarding DX12 exclusivity for Windows 10?
Ariel Arias: Well… Microsoft is known for this kind of movements, and, if DX12 is good enough to force everybody to move to Windows 10… I think people will do it. In any case, I don’t think we should make something with DX12 exclusive features by the moment, unless of course you have an Xbox One excusive title.
Rashid K. Sayed: And do you think PlayStation 4’s own API will be up to par when DX12 launches this year on the PC and Xbox One?
Ariel Arias: Honestly… I don’t know what to say about this… but I’m sure that both companies will do whatever they need to be in the top!
Rashid K. Sayed: The game uses expensive GI and lighting techniques. What was your approach towards handling the slower clock speed of the PS4 CPU?
Ariel Arias: We still didn’t make a deep approach regarding PS4, but we are working hard to optimize the game not only for PS4, but for PC / Mac too.
Rashid K. Sayed: Do you guys have a release date locked in? And will you launch the PS4 and PC versions together?
Ariel Arias: The Hum: Alien Invasion Simulator is still in alpha stage and I don’t believe we can define a release date yet. But The Hum: Abductions, is moving fast and is in what we have our focus. Our estimate release date is in some point of Q3 2015.
This month, we joined to River Program of Rothenberg Ventures, so that will help us regarding to budget and mentorship to reach our goals. You can expect more detailed stuff about Abductions really soon.
Rashid K. Sayed: Is there anything else you want to tell us about The Hum?
Ariel Arias: Many people are not aware about the differences between Invasion and Abductions, and what The Hum Universe is.
All along the last 20 years, I was creating a sci-fi universe, which I always called as “The History of the Galaxy” and, now, “The Hum Universe”. I wrote 16 novels, which I have as manuscripts and notes, private wikis, RPG books and many more.
The Hum: Alien Invasion Simulator and The Hum: Abductions are just a small portion of this universe, which is vast enough to tell lots of stories. I engaged Alien Invasion Simulator first, but it’s too huge for such a small team like us, so we decided to switch momentarily to Abductions, which is smaller and more reachable.
I hope I can tell all these stories and universe as games in the next years!