The Trine franchise has consistently delivered gorgeous, entertaining co-op action platformers over the years, and a few years on from its last game, it’s now ready to deliver another one. Earlier in the year, developer Frozenbyte and publisher THQ Nordic unveiled Trine 5: A Clockwork Conspiracy, which is set to to expand upon the series’ formula in a number of ways. From the combat and progression to a new approach to difficulty, there’s plenty to dive into with this sequel, and recently, we reached out to its developers with questions about all of that and more. Below, you can read our interview with Kai Tuovinen, marketing manager at Frozenbyte.
"This time through 20 different levels, full of vibrant colors and various landscapes ranging from places like glistening gemstone caverns and dangerous underwater passageways to a flying airship soaring in the skies."
Trine games have never failed to impress with their gorgeous visuals and some of the dazzling places they take players to. What should players expect from Trine 5 on that front?
Trine 5 will be another breathtakingly gorgeous ride. This time through 20 different levels, full of vibrant colors and various landscapes ranging from places like glistening gemstone caverns and dangerous underwater passageways to a flying airship soaring in the skies. It’s going to be a visual feast.
What are the biggest changes that Trine 5 is making to its combat as compared to the previous games?
In Trine 5, the combat is more akin to what we had in Trine 2, so at times the fights can be skipped and are more organic than in e.g. Trine 4. We’ve tried to adjust enemies so they’d require a bit more tactical thinking, rather than just pure button mashing and charging in.
Some of the enemies we’ve added are pretty tough and require you to use more than one hero, e.g. the big Clockwork Guardians can’t be attacked from the front with Pontius as they’ve often got a massive shield that blocks all frontal attacks, so you have to use the Wizard of Thief to help out. Other enemies e.g. the Rat Gang Necromancers are elusive, and until you defeat them they’ll keep conjuring skeletons, so you have to prioritize the necromancers in fights or the fight will never end.
The Trine 5 boss fights are great fun as they tend to include combat with additional puzzle and platforming elements. They really put you to the test as you need to think a little, dodge explosive barrels, beams and other hazards, all the while also trying to fight.
What can you tell us about Trine 5’s new adaptive difficulty system and how it scales for however many players are playing?
The difficulty system is split into three categories: Puzzle, Combat and Resurrection, and you can change these in the middle of a save, if you feel the going is getting too easy or too hard. We’ve customized a lot of the puzzles and fights depending on the number of players in the game, so e.g. you’ll face more enemies, and puzzles might include additional elements that can only be solved with the help of other players.
"Some of the enemies we’ve added are pretty tough and require you to use more than one hero."
How much depth will Trine 5’s new progression mechanics offer? How will the new skill quest system impact the core gameplay loop?
The skill system consists of two types of skills, Unlockable skills that you gain from Skill Quests, and upgradeable skills that you can train with experience that you gather from the levels.
The Skill Quests are character specific, short side-adventures that you enter in certain points of the game within levels, which reward you with an Unlockable skill that is needed in future puzzles or fights. So for example, in the fifth level, Pontius has a Skill Quest where he learns the Sword Throw ability. After he’s gained this ability, it will be needed to solve some puzzles later in the game, e.g. as a climbing or stomping platform, or a target for Zoya’s rope.
The upgradeable skills are a reward for gathering experience vials, and will make your heroes more diverse and fun to play, especially in combat.
How expansive will Trine 5’s offerings of in-game outfit customization options be?
I wouldn’t say it’s a massive feature, the outfits are there to change the visual appearance of your characters. Some of those look really different and cool, and can help with distinguishing your fellow players in co-op.
Will Trine 5 feature cross-platform multiplayer?
Cross-platform multiplayer is really awesome and we’ve wanted to support that for a long time. I don’t have any news to share at this point though.
Roughly how long will an average playthrough of the game be?
It’s hard to estimate, because of varying experience and skill levels, but I would guesstimate at least 12 hours for a playthrough. It is probably quite a lot more for the average player though. It really depends on the difficulty settings you select, as those can have a massive impact on the challenge.
The Xbox Series S features lesser hardware compared to Xbox Series and Microsoft is pushing it as a 1440p/60 FPS console. Do you think it will be able to hold up for the more graphically intensive games as this generation progresses?
More powerful hardware is always better from a developer perspective! I think for more graphically intensive games the Series S can become a bottleneck as supporting it is required. From a player perspective I guess it’s a nice option to have a more affordable console though.
"Steam Deck is awesome! Trine 5 works on it but we’ll make some optimizations to it still to make sure players get the smoothest possible experience."
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S?
4K/60 FPS on PS5 and Xbox Series X, 1440p and 60 FPS on Series S.
What frame rate and resolution will the game target on the Switch in docked and undocked modes?
Switch will have1080p/30 FPS docked and 720p/30 FPS undocked modes, with some dynamic resolution scaling to keep the fps in check at the most graphically intensive places.
What are your thoughts on the Steam Deck? Do you have plans for any specific optimizations for the device?
Steam Deck is awesome! Trine 5 works on it but we’ll make some optimizations to it still to make sure players get the smoothest possible experience.