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(hx) 08:11 AM EST - Mar,14 2005
GGMania got a chance to talk with Joel Kinnunen of Frozenbyte, Development
Director for Preyground, the upcoming adrenaline-pumping action game that
"brings fresh air to the genre with its explosive action sequences and
innovative weapon upgrade system." Preyground will be released in Q3 2005 for
GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of
your involvement with Preyground?
GGMania: Why did you choosed top-down perspective?
Joel Kinnunen: My name
is Joel Kinnunen and I work as the Development Director for Frozenbyte. I'm part
of the management team, and I'm involved in many aspects of the project,
including business decisions. My direct involvement with the game comes down to
being part of the design team and co-writing the story for the game. I will
shortly finish writing the full story script.
GGMania: Can you give us a brief overview of Preyground, telling us what the
game is all about?
Preyground is an adrenaline-pumping action experience combining today's
technology with addictive gameplay. Preyground is set in the near future and
pits the player against oncoming alien hordes who are invading a colony base on
Jupiter's moon Ganymede. To counter the invading monsters, the player eventually acquires a devastating arsenal of upgradeable weaponry. The player's best weapon might be his own flashlight - the aliens react to light in numerous ways. Intensive sound environment further adds to the atmosphere. Preyground invites gamers to a thrilling ride of epic heights.
Joel Kinnunen: The
top-down perspective gives us a fresh take on the action genre. We didn't want
to do another FPS - there are too many out there already. We felt that the time
and technology was right to recreate the magic of old-school action games, and
thus Preyground was born. I hope gamers appreciate our decision. I must mention
that the camera is not strictly top-down all the time. Players have some freedom
to zoom and rotate the camera.
GGMania: What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?
Preyground's storyline is great. The basic setup is simple: aliens are invading
a human colony base on Jupiter's moon Ganymede. Simple things are very effective when done right, and that's what we have focused on. We have created extremely good characters who move the story forward. We use cutscenes frequently and have a lot of story elements that keep the player
interested throughout the whole game. There will be some surprises, too.
GGMania: What kinds of locations and settings will Preyground have?
Joel Kinnunen: The
story is divided into missions. Each mission takes place on a different location
but everything fits the main storyline and there are no recycled missions. The game starts out at the Vehicle Repair Base (our main character is
a mechanic, after all) and slowly moves towards bigger and more important buildings and locations. A lot of the architecture in the game is simply
stunning, and the outdoor terrain looks nice also. I can't give out too much
information on the locations yet because they would spoil the plot a little.
GGMania: What kind of enemies can players expect to find in ?
Joel Kinnunen: There
are a lot of enemies in Preyground, and each monster has its own
characteristics. The origins of the monsters are a well-kept secret and I won't spoil it, so I have to be a little vague here. Some of the enemies are strictly melee-beasts who try to get close to the player, while others prefer to
shoot from a distance. Some are fast, some are slower, etc... Each enemy has an
arsenal of different attacks, and some have very cool special moves (or special
GGMania: What kind of opposition AI can we expect?
Joel Kinnunen: The enemies have different ways in which they react to
light - i.e. the player's flashlight or the surrounding lighting. For example,
the small spiders - called Scavengers - avoid all light at all times. So when the player points the flashlight in the direction of the Scavengers, they run away rapidly. Scavengers also have a "pack AI" so they move in groups. Other enemies have different ways of reacting to light and different AI as well. I don't want to reveal everything at once. :)
GGMania: What kinds of weapons will there be and how many individual weapons
will be available to the player?
Preyground has a nice arsenal of weapons - ten of them, if we don't count the
flashlight as one. The number of weapons might seem small but you should keep in
mind that every weapon is useful. Even the pistol has its uses in the later
stages of the game. The coolest weapon has got to be the Electric Gun, aka the
Lightning Gun. It shoots lightning bolts and looks absolutely gorgeous. And of
course, the weapons can be upgraded...
GGMania: You claim the game will feature " an innovative weapon upgrade
system". What gamers can expect?
Joel Kinnunen: Players
can customize their weapons with multiple upgrades, resulting in a very
destructive arsenal. The upgrades are varied enough so that the players can
create their own favourite tactics as well. The Laser Rifle, for example, can be
upgraded with a pinpoint laser that cuts the aliens in half. Imagine having a
dozen aliens all around you, and then slicing them all in one sweep... Another
example would be the Railgun that can be upgraded to fire bullets that bounce
from the walls, so you can kill several aliens with a single shot. The upgrade
system itself is not linear, so players have a lot of freedom in choosing the
upgrades they want and there are a lot of combinations. There is also something
else about the system but I cannot reveal that yet...
GGMania: How is combat handled in Preyground?
Joel Kinnunen: Combat
is at the heart of Preyground. The action is straight-forward but the weapon
upgrade system and the flashlight reactions from the monsters give the combat a
lot of variety and keep it interesting. As the player learns more about the
aliens, he will be able to create new tactics that are more effective against
GGMania: How many missions will there be, and how varied will they be?
Joel Kinnunen: There
will be over ten missions, and they will be long. We expect the game to be in
the 10-20 hour gameplay range, depending on how deeply the player wants to get
involved in the story and optional mission objectives. As I mentioned before,
each mission takes place on a different location. The mission objectives have
great variety as well, and some of the highlights include investigating alien
origins, setting up defense lines and helping in a rescue evacuation. Some
missions even have some minor gameplay additions.
GGMania: Graphically, what can gamers expect from Preyground? What are some
of the special effects you're proud of having in the game so far?
Joel Kinnunen: The
atmosphere in the game is amazing, and that's because of the graphics (and the
sound environment). The overall look of the graphics is consistent and of
high-quality. I'll admit that we don't have all the latest DirectX 9 effects but
instead we have focused on the important aspects, including the overall graphics
quality, the shadows and the weapon effects. If I have to name one special
effect that I'm most proud of, it's got to be the lightning effect from the
Electric Gun. Like I said above, it looks absolutely gorgeous, especially when
you are actually playing the game instead of looking at screenshots.
GGMania: Needless to say that kick-ass music make an action game even better.
Can you tell us a little bit about music in Preyground?
Joel Kinnunen: I'm
glad you asked. Our musician has gone all-out in creating a mind-blowing
soundtrack for Preyground. Some of the tracks are very intensive and create a
lot of dramatic tension. But when the aliens start swarming around you... that's
when the action music kicks in. Preyground has a variety of different action
tracks and there are plenty of story-related places where a certain track will
play (especially in cinematics). We will have some exciting news regarding the
soundtrack shortly, and we will also release more music samples, so stay tuned!
GGMania: Will the game have a multiplayer mode? If so, do you plan co-op
Joel Kinnunen: No
traditional multiplayer. Co-op is something we have thought about and it's
definitely one of the most wanted features by our fans, but at the moment I can't promise anything.
GGMania: What aspects of this game do you think are likely to leave the
biggest impression with game players?
Joel Kinnunen: I think
the overall atmosphere and look & feel are going to have a big impact on players
and everybody always notices how cool the shadows and the lighting are in
motion. I think that's the first impression players get, but if they play
through the game, I'm sure the weapon upgrade system will leave a very good
impression as well - maybe the biggest.
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be
done? When will it be released?
Joel Kinnunen: We are
making good progress. There is still a lot of work to be done but most of the
levels are already at some kind of playable stage. This means we have time to
really polish the missions and story, not to mention the gameplay. The game is
good already, but we have an inside "joke" that the game becomes much better
every two months, so I'm very excited to see the end result myself! Preyground
will be finished in Q3 2005.
GGMania: Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there
anything you want to add that we didn't cover?
Joel Kinnunen: Thank
you for asking the questions in the first place, and thanks to everyone who read
this interview. I'd just like to add that Frozenbyte is an independent developer and we really appreciate all the support we get from the fans. I can't wait to let everyone see more of the game - we have a gameplay trailer coming up in the next few months, so that's something to look forward
to. Oh, and don't forget to visit the official site at
http://www.preygroundgame.com/ , thanks!