We had an exclusive opportunity to speak to the team at LunaVu, Fennec Black and Tyr Edge. We talk about their latest offering, Zero point and what gamers can expect from the same.
1 . For the benefit of our readers, what is the main premise behind Zero Point?
Zero Point takes place in an alternate history 1930’s where you work as a “Lunar Harvesting Technician”, blasting bizarre energy manifestations in creative ways to send the electricity back to Earth. It’s an old-school arcade kind of thing we’re you’re competing with yourself to try and max out the points you can get in a round.
2 . The gameplay sounds like an interesting hybrid of strategy and action-
how did you come up with this idea?
Well we’ve always thought that the best ideas evolve organically during the prototyping/testing phase at the beginning of a project, so going in we didn’t want to nail down any specific plan for gameplay. We knew we wanted to do some kind of shoot-the-alien crazyness but that was about it.
The game went through a ton of different iterations and a lot of things were tried and cut, but once we got to a sort of “Pikman meets Tower Defense” style it started being really fun, and we ran with that.
3 . Your previous work includes some design on the Bioshock series; are
you planning to bring any features of those games into Zero Point?
Well those games were huge collaborations. It’s hard to compare an extended team of over 200 people to our 2 man team! In Bioshock we were shooting for the moon in a big hierarchy, on Zero Point we’re seeing what the most fun thing we can make with two people is.
Probably the main thing the two games have in common is attention to detail and making sure everything is at a high level of polish. We’re big fans of the idea that you have to take a critical eye to absolutely everything, and if even one little bit isn’t up to snuff, you either fix it or cut it.
4 . What weapons will be at your disposal?
The most direct weapon is the Plasma Cannon, which is like a mounted turret at the bottom of the screen. It’s used for killing the enemies as well as interacting with game elements, and represents the twitch-action side of the game.
Then there’s the Lunar Shepherd, which is the sort of “Hero Character” and the main interaction with the RTS/Strategy elements.
Then there are the Bug Builders and Jitterbugs, which are less direct damage and more strategy. You control what sort of Jitterbugs get produced and each one has a unique “dance style” that change how it moves around the area.
After that the last line of defense is the Moxy Bomb, which is like a bonus weapon you get for hitting colored targets with the Plasma Cannon.
It sounds complicated but everything is designed to work together. You do your thing with the Cannon and the Rover and stuff will just pop up and help you. The entire game is controlled with just the thumbsticks and triggers, plus the face buttons for color selection. It’s very much an “easy to play, difficult to master” control scheme.
5 . It has been mentioned that the game will feature local co-op- using
only one controller. How will this work?
We love this feature and wish more games had it (especially for all those people with just one controller)! All the controls for the Plasma Cannon are on the right side of the controller and all the controls for the Lunar Shepherd are on the left. So if you only have one controller and two friends they can each grab one side of the controller and have independant control, as the two sides are meant to work together but not directly.
For our mature players we discovered you can actually get pretty cozy with your girlfriend (boyfriend/significant other) if she sits on your lap and you share the controller that way, so we’d love to see people play the game like that. Even if she hates the game, it’s a pretty good excuse to cuddle up, and who doesn’t like that! The game is designed so that only one of the players has to be any good at games to win, so it’s ideal for introducing new players to gaming in general.
6 . Will there be any kind of competitive online multiplayer?
We considered doing a competitive mode but it conflicted too much with the cooperative design and in the end co-op won. So currently there’s no plan for a competitive online mode, but with the ease of updating the game on XBox Live, you never know.
7 . What is the expected pricing and release date?
The current plan is to release the game for $5, which we think is a good value considering the production cost and time put into the game.
The release should happen sometime in the next month, though really it’s just “when it’s done”.
8 . Are we likely to see a sequel, or will LunaVu be working on another
We’ve already started preliminary work on the sequel, there’s just so much more to try out in this sort of game and of course we couldn’t do everything in the first game.
9 . Any further comments regarding Zero Point?
It’s been really exciting to make a game with just two people and no publisher oversight, I hope people will appreciate the kind of experimental creative games in the Indie scene and “support the little guy” so we can keep making games like this in the future.