GGMania got a chance to talk with Rebelmind's Otton Laskowski and Darek Rusin
as they talk about Space Hack, their upcoming sci-fi RPG/action title with
Diablo-inspired gameplay mechanics. The game is scheduled to be finished by the
end of April 2004.
GGMania: First, thank you very much for your time :) Can you tell us
something about you and studio Rebelmind?
Otton Laskowski: Rebelmind is a game development
company located in Warsaw, Poland. At this moment the team numbers 10 people. We
work together since years so everyone is well experienced at games development.
The company was founded in 1994. Our first game - Megablast was released in 1995
it was just a remake of such titles as Dyna Blaster or Bomberman. In 1996 we
released Dark Moon an arcade style shooter. Then was Treasure Island (1997) -
platform/adventure game full of pirates, ships and gold, Timothy (2000) - a game
for kids. In the same year we secured a deal with CDV for our biggest title as
far - Grom - an action/adventure game- it was released in 2002 and should be
still available in shops. In the beginning of this year (2003) we released one
more game for kids -Great Journey - an adventure with a touch of ecology. Since
then we're working hard on Space Hack.
GGMania: Your newest project is action RPG called Space Hack. What can you
tell our readers about its backstory?
Otton Laskowski: The Earth is strongly
overpopulated and it looks like there's no cure for this disease. It's much to
late for half measures like birth control. The Government decides to speed up
process of migration to other planets. But there are only small primitive
colonies unprepared for such immigration and people don't want to go there. They
prefer to crowd and die on Earth than to live in primitive way on some alien
worlds. There is only one solution - restrictive law. Government can't force
people to leave the Earth but can send prisoners with life sentences to the
colonies. So now for every offence, even the smallest one, you can get a life
The ships that transport prisoners, consists of isolated, self-sufficient
biospheres - people live there just like they will live in the colonies. They
have only primitive tools, no advanced technology. But still there are some
guards in the ship, in some cases they can interfere through the teleport
system. They have full hi-tech equipment. However, they are not supposed to stay
One of the ships Maximus XV has never achieved his destination it was caught by
a terrifying space predator - Black Nebula, a gravitational entity that had been
sucking in everything in its surroundings since the beginnings of the universe.
Soon it tuned out that this catastrophe is not the only problem - people in the
biospheres could survive, but the inner space of Black Nebula was full of other,
not human ships caught same way as Maximus XV. Aliens were quick - they invaded
the ship, killed many people and started to adapt the biospheres to their needs.
A small group of former prisoners and ship crew has survived an has managed to
build a shelter around one of the teleporters. They have just taken a deep
breath and decided to fight with aliens and to rescue themselves.
GGMania: What role plays this story in the game?
Otton Laskowski: The story is only a background.
Still, there is a lot of people who like good stories - they play games not only
for action but for stories, too. The story creates an atmosphere, a climate for
a game. Your imagination works better if you have some story to base on. You're
able to identify yourself with hero much better, to feel the in-game world and
to understand it. That's the role of story in our game.
But like I said, story is only a background of the game - player won't be forced
to learn it. It's possible to play the game focusing attention only on combat
and taking no special notice of the story. And player won't get stuck because of
GGMania: Why do you choose science-fiction settings?
Otton Laskowski: We wanted some fresh air in the
genre. The most of the hack'n'slash games are set in the fantasy worlds. But how
long can you choose between a magician, barbarian and a ranger? And listen to
stories that you were a plain villager but you were bored with you're life and
you want to change something and so on, and so on.... So let's change the
beginning - you start as a hero, as someone who has his history. And let's
change a fantasy settings into the science fiction. So here's the answer - we
wanted something new!
GGMania: Can you tell us some details about main hero in this game? Some
piece of gossip please.. :)
Otton Laskowski: Space Hack is the main hero's
nickname. He earned it after daring take over of a pirate ship on Mars. There
are rumors that he came alone to this ship, armed only with a machete, he
slaughtered all the pirates and rescued many people - hostages kept by pirates
for their safety on Mars.
Well, definitely Space Hack is a real tough hero - strong, agile, brave but also
a little bit hot tempered and naive - that's what has kicked him into the
present troubles. Now he is one of the survived prisoners on the Maximus XV and
has to fight not only for his life.
GGMania: Will he be alone in his journey or will there be some another
friends of him?
Otton Laskowski: Some people survived the
catastrophe of the ship and invasion of aliens. They are Space Hack's friends
(or at least he thinks they are, but shhhh.....!) and they will be helping him
in any way they are able to. They will share with their knowledge, they will
help with gathering equipment but they aren't soldiers and can't fight. So Space
Hack will wage a lone fight with aliens and the players will control only one
GGMania: Will there be quest or missions? How many of them will be waiting
for us and how will they vary? Can you give us some example?
Otton Laskowski: Of course - there will be a dozen
or so quests. All will be connected with current needs of the survivals
community and will support the atmosphere of terror. For example - people in
their shelter discover a threat - aliens will probably try to contaminate a
source of drinking water, they want to put people into coma and use them as a
living food for larvae - someone (meaning - Space Hack) has to stop them.
GGMania: Can you tell us something about enemies in your game?
Otton Laskowski: Hero will have to deal with a real
great variety of monsters. They will look different, they will fight in many
different ways and they will have different characteristics. Maximus XV is
captured by aliens from 3 worlds. Every world has different environment so the
evolution proceeded there in a various way. Aliens originating from one world
are also varied within their group - one are just animals other are
semi-intelligent and other are powerful masters of their world.
There are about 90 different monsters to meet.
GGMania: What weapons and items can we expect in Space Hack?
Otton Laskowski: Weapons and items are very
important part of a gameplay. There is a lot of well-known items and some new
ones. The game is set in the science-fiction world and of course there is a lot
of SF items - energy guns, shields, teleporters, hologram projectors, etc. But
also we didn't want to give up the pleasure, which player can take in fighting
with swords, axes etc. So we put them in our game too.
So, to sum up - there are sci-fi items but they are not very common - the
inhabitants of the biospheres were prisoners and hadn't access to many hi-tech
items, but Space Hack may find them scattered in the biospheres. Also there are
primitive weapons (bladed or projectile) - created by prisoners, used in fights
between them and now very useful for eliminating aliens.
GGMania: This game is inspired by Diablo. How much? Can you familiarize us
with gameplay? Which principles are taken from Diablo?
Otton Laskowski: The gameplay is focused on combat,
story is only background. Player controls only one hero, explores the in-game
world, fights with enemies, collect and uses many items, weapons. Simultaneously
he gains experience and may develop a character. The character is getting
better, the enemies are more demanding. These are principles of an action-RPG
genre, started by Diablo and continued by us. Space Hack has all these elements.
GGMania: How will be combat handled?
Otton Laskowski: Of course, combat will be
real-time. We want the combat to be full of fun - it means a lot of action,
special effects, lot of enemies at a time, etc. But all the combat mechanics
have deep RPG roots. Important are characteristics of hero, enemies and
characteristics of items used by hero. The tactic of combat is strictly
dependent on hero's characteristics.
And one more thing - the combat can't be frustrating for the player. It means,
hero shouldn't die too often and combat has to be easy to control - the player
won't have to spend hours on clicking everywhere like crazy just to point an
enemy to kill.
GGMania: What about character development system? What possibilities will
Otton Laskowski: We consider character development
an element of gameplay that's just as important as combat. It will work like in
other hack'n'slash genre titles. Hero will gain an experience points for
completing tasks and killing enemies. After accumulating enough points he will
advance to the next experience level and will have a possibility to raise his
character's statistics and become tougher warrior, use new, better items, etc.
Of course his opponents are getting harder to defeat, also. One thing we wanted
to avoid in character development is strict assigning hero to only one "path of
development". That's why there are no "character classes" in our game - Space
Hack can become anyone during development - a "sage" or a "bruiser". And when
player after coming through some levels become aware that he is a "sage" but he
would prefer to be a "bruiser" there will be no problem to change this. In other
games you would have to start the game with different character-class.
GGMania: Will there be multiplayer in this game? If so, what will it include?
Otton Laskowski: Due to short development time - we
had to give the multiplayer up. Maybe in the sequel we will have possibility to
include multiplayer option.
GGMania: Which engine is used in Space Hack?
Darek Rusin: Engine used in Space Hack is our own
technology. We've been working on it since Grom, improving and adding features
each day. At this point it supports most of the cool stuff you will see in other
good games, like real-time calculated shadows, static and dynamic lighting,
terrain generation, various atmospheric effects, etc.
However, we weren't going only for eye-candy with this one. Sure, it's important
that the game looks pretty and trust me - our artists were haunting programmers
to give them all the tools and features to make the game astounding so the end
result does look great, in my humble opinion. But our second priority was to
make the game work fine on majority of medium-power machines out there so we
could get to the widest possible audience. That's why we put extra care to make
sure it runs well on older setups like 800 MHz with GeForce2/MX cards and 128 MB
GGMania: What is the current status of the game's progress? When do you plan
release Space Hack in Europe and in USA? Do you have publishers already?
Otton Laskowski: Now we are adding some final touch
to the graphics, animations and closing the generic part of code. We have just
started to build the levels.
Darek Rusin: The game is scheduled to be finished
by the end of April 2004, so you should expect first releases sometime in the
middle of next year. At this moment we're discussing the game with our present
as well as potential publishing partners. One licensing deal has already been
signed (we will announce it soon) and several are being negotiated.
We'll definitely do our best to bring Space Hack to players all over the world
and I encourage publishers interested in the game to contact us and discuss an
opportunity of working together on this (please find the contact info on our
GGMania: Will there be playable demo?
Otton Laskowski: Yes, but we'll probably make it
available only after the game is completed. We want to include all elements of
gameplay into it. Besides, because of the tight development schedule we don't
have enough time to prepare a special, earlier demo version.
GGMania: Is there anything else you wish to say about Space Hack?
Otton Laskowski: If you like to kick same alien
asses - get ready for the Space Hack!!!
(special thanks to Korgull
@ Tiscali Games)