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Preyground Q&A
(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 the PC.

GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of your involvement with Preyground?

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?

Joel Kinnunen: 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.


GGMania: Why did you choosed top-down perspective?

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?

Joel Kinnunen: 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 attacks).


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?

Joel Kinnunen: 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 them.

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 mode?

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!



genre: action shooter
release: 2005/Q3
developer: Frozenbyte
publisher: homepage

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