Recently I spoke with Simon Viklund of 10 Chambers Collective about their game GTFO. The game is a very challenging Horror Shooter that requires teamwork to win.
How did the idea for the game arise and how did you assemble the team for the game?
We were a couple of game developers – led by Ulf Andersson – who wanted to get back to a smaller company size again. Since a third of us had worked on Payday The Heist and PAYDAY 2, we felt like we had a good shot at making a game in that same genre – but we wanted to push the co-op aspects further and make it more hardcore. With that decided, the horror element came naturally because then the game’s atmosphere alone inspires the players to stick together. The team grew over the course of about two years from 2014 to 2016 – and we’re all old colleagues, old friends, or both.
What are some of the things players can look forward to in future updates?
Obviously essential elements like matchmaking, player progression, backstory reveals… But also content: New scenarios, monsters and environmental hazards are always in the works, and they will mess with the players in intriguing ways. New interesting gadgets will also be added to the players’ toolbox – right now there are four tools to choose from but there will be more. There are also other features in the design document that we can’t even mention at this time – but GTFO is now a base plate with a gigantic potential, and we intend to explore that to the fullest! We have a public roadmap for anyone who’s interested in seeing what’s currently being worked on, what’s coming in the next update, and what’s in the future! Roadmap
When will matchmaking be added?
We can’t say at the moment. It’s constantly being worked on but it’s a whole package of complex features – as soon as you can find teammates in-game without using an external piece of software, you need to also be able to chat with those teammates without an external piece of software; so the matchmaking update also needs an integrated voice chat feature. And what if it turns out that one of your newfound teammates totally sucks – or even worse; is grief playing or trolling – you need to be able to kick and ban that player. When we work this hard to create features that put players together, we want to make sure that they can stay together too; so we’re adding server migration as well – and that might be the toughest nut to crack because there are so many moving parts in GTFO. In short: The matchmaking update is a package of quite sophisticated features and they’re being worked on – just check the public roadmap – but at this point we don’t dare say when they’re all finished!
Was there any thought to making an A.I. players an option to round out a squad?
No. What you expect your teammates to do in GTFO, no bot will ever be able to do. The heavy emphasis on stealth alone makes it almost impossible to create a bot that performs satisfactory. In PAYDAY 2 the bots weren’t even made to be able to handle stealth and instead just hung out at the spawn point, leaving the stealth tasks to the player – and they only sprung into action when things “went loud”. They mostly absorb some of the enemy bullets, shoot back at the enemies, and revive teammates. A bot as basic as that would never cut it in GTFO. There are also puzzles in GTFO where one player needs to type into a terminal a password that another player reads aloud over voice chat – creating a bot that handles that stuff is, if not impossible, damn near impossible. We’re making GTFO to pioneer co-op gaming, not to pioneer bot programming, so those who feel that they need bots will unfortunately have to look at other games – or dare we suggest they use the official GTFO Discord server to fill out their crew?
Link to the official Discord page
What are some of the new weapons and tools that are coming?
More machine guns, shotguns, SMGs, assault rifles, revolvers, pistols, sniper rifles, DMRs, melee weapons, the works… What’s really gonna be interesting is when our weapon modification system is in! It will allow the player to Frankenstein and customize the weapons to their liking both in terms of functionality and looks. Oh, you have an SMG and a sentry? it’s very! It’s the same with the tool – there will be more to choose from and they will be moddable. A really interesting aspect with the tools is that we’re working these symbiotic relationships into them, so that if I bring a certain tool and you bring a different tool, they might have a third functionality that only unlocks when you combine them. That plays into the co-op aspect in such a phenomenal way! We already have a little of that in the sentry gun and the C-foam launcher, where if you shoot C-foam in front of a sentry gun the monsters who get stuck on the foam will be easy pickings for the sentry. We’ll try to take that further and work similar combo features into both existing and new tools.
The game is very difficult. How did you come to decide to make it so difficult and have there been discussions of a difficulty setting?
We want everyone who plays GTFO to play the same game – to play under the same unforgiving conditions. When somebody says they play GTFO to their gamer friends, we want there to be sort of bragging rights built into that statement alone, because playing GTFO is no cakewalk. That being said, we’re looking into ways to implement difficulty options by allowing players to take different routes through the expeditions – with the harder ones naturally granting more rewards of some sort. We want the game to always try to tempt players to challenge themselves and take a harder route than they initially planned for. A high difficulty is part of the GTFO brand! A traditional difficulty setting would probably cause a lot of players to play expeditions on the easiest difficulty setting just to map it out, then play on the harder difficulty when they know their way around the map – it would become part of the so-called meta. Again, we’d rather see everyone play the same game.
Will new creatures be added to the mix?
Oh yes, and they will not just be bullet sponges but present challenges in more sophisticated and interesting ways. We don’t want to talk much about the monsters though – it’s much more interesting for the players to not know beforehand what they’re going to meet down in the Complex…
Will customization options be available in the future?
Yes, you will be able to customize the look of both your character and your weapons to some extent, and also modify your weapons and tools to tweak their functionality and adapt them to your play style. GTFO doesn’t have a class system – but instead we want players to be able to craft their own “classes” of sorts, by allowing players to gather parts and expanding their “golf bag” of gears and weapons. The idea is for players to slowly build their go-to stealth loadout, their go-to defend loadout, etc.
Any chance for the game to come to consoles and perhaps offer Cross Play?
We’d love to put GTFO out on consoles! It’s just that we’re such a small team and we’d spread ourselves too thin if we even attempted simultaneous multi-platform development. However, if an opportunity of some sort arises, where we get help or resources to port GTFO to consoles, we’d love to! Regarding cross-play, we’ll look into that when the option becomes viable – but needless to say it would be awesome to have! GTFO is a game about meticulous cooperation, and what better cause is there to bring console and PC players together?
What have been your greatest challenges and biggest rewards for the game?
It’s been a great challenge to create all the complicated game logics and sophisticated tools we use, with only two programmers – but it’s the same for every department; marketing not the least. We’ve been forced to be very thrifty and clever with our limited resources. Regarding game development elements, we’ve really had to keep our eyes on the ball and not put time into anything that wouldn’t be reused a lot throughout the game. Then, the biggest reward has been seeing the responses from people, and finding out that more people than we expected were looking forward to a game as niche as GTFO!
I remember the game at E3 and was curious how your marketing plans have adjusted without shows like E3 being possible currently.
We still market primarily online, through social media and with the help of streamers and YouTubers of different sizes – so I’d say not much has changed for us, at least not in the marketing department, because of the COVID-19 crisis. Once things hopefully go back to normal and we have game conventions and shows again, we’re looking forward to coming to those and showing off all the new updates in GTFO!
How much of the game would you say is completed at this date?
Oooh, that’s hard to say. We have an idea of how much content we want the game to have – in terms of interior sets, monsters, scenarios, players equipment, game features, etc. – before we feel we can say it’s at 1.0. So it’s not like we’ve set a time limit for ourselves. We’ll be done when it’s done. However, we’re all rather ambitious and won’t settle for anything half-assed so things take longer than expected and more often than not we add new ideas to the to-do list because GTFO has such potential we just can’t help ourselves! But yeah, it’ll be done when it’s done. At least now the game is out in Early Access and we dare say it’s already very enjoyable – so that makes the wait for 1.0 much easier for everyone, including us! Then we will of course keep updating the game and releasing new Rundowns even after the 1.0 release!
Do you have a target date for completion?
No, we have a target amount of content and features – and we’ve estimated it will take about a year.
Are there features you wanted to add but for whatever reason have not been able to?
Simon Viklund of 10 Chambers Collective: There’s a lot of ideas we have on the backburner because we have to choose what to realize first due to the limitations of our team size and budget. It’s quite frustrating when you can’t realize ideas in the same tempo you hatch them! But all great ideas are kept alive and will hopefully make it into the game at some point down the line!
How did the idea for the security scans come about?
GTFO deprives players of so much – ammo, health, light, knowledge of where the monsters are or where they’re coming from, etc. The security scans are just another in the line of elements that deprive players of something in the game: The ability to choose where to hole up and hold the fort in a combat situation. Essentially, the scans force the players to be out in the open and coordinate their movements on top of the task of killing monsters. We have ideas for how to take this concept further, and make the security stands even more interesting – and dastardly…
What can you tell us about the music and sounds in the game?
The sounds are organic and chunky, to add to the creepy and oppressive atmosphere. It’s a matter of matching the visuals which are retrofuturistic and “worn”. Everything is dirty and rusty, and the sounds are supposed to tell that story too: This place has been abandoned for a long, long time – the machineries in the motorized doors haven’t moved for a long time, things are in a bad shape… The music is a huge challenge because I want to challenge myself both in terms of style and also how sophisticated its implementation is. Right now the music is very much a work-in-progress, especially the combat music – but I’m currently writing new stuff that will take it further, and some time in the future we will most certainly release an official soundtrack.
Do you plan DLC for the game when it is done?
No, not if we can avoid it. GTFO will be updated with new features, content and expeditions for free throughout the Early Access phase and beyond. We might put in some “support the developer” type DLC but for now I think that’s it. So many other companies try to nickel-and-dime their customers and we want to stay as far away from that as we can.