Recently I spoke with Savage Studios General Manager Giannis Kastritis about the retro shooter they have in the works called S.C.A.R.
What is the background and setting for the game?
S.C.A.R. is set in a post-apocalyptic world after a huge war on earth, hunger and death linger and survival is almost impossible.
There is a huge organization, one that ruled the earth at that time, and the organizations lead scientist was tasked by his superiors to perform experiments on animals and everything the earth had to offer in a way to duplicate resources and create food for the rich and the organization itself. Doing this would allow them to be the sole survivors. A catastrophic failure in those experiments turned the animals, and even some of the humans into complete monsters, these were unleashed on the world without anyone knowing.
Understanding his failure, the scientist went mad, but did whatever he could to save humanity. He experimented on himself, making him a weapon of mass destruction and decided to take matters into his own hands. (Our protagonist).
Unbeknown to our protagonist this was all a devious plan of the organization and failure in the experiments was an engineered ‘inside job’ just so they can wipe humanity,
and start a new world from the beginning.
Our protagonist scientist, now a powerful warrior with lots of weapons in his arsenal tries toeliminate all the monsters this organization that have been unleashed. In order to travel fast to all the locations on earth that were invaded by these creatures, he created a cave, where a weird energy source was located, and created portals.
What was behind the idea to do it as an episodic game?
We wanted to make a game as a tribute to the old retro FPS games such as Doom™, Quake™, Unreal Tournament™, Turok™ etc. So, we decided to make a game with a different level theme, based on the games above but implemented with our gameplay mechanics.
How many episodes are planned and how far apart do you plan them to be?
We are thinking between 4-6 episodes maximum. Depending on the impact that we will have with our audience, based on that feedback, we will decide the number of episodes and which themes we will make. Our game is based on the community involvement we receive in Early Access. By the end of the first half next of year the game will be completed.
The look of the game seems retro but there are some modern elements to it. How did you decide on this approach?
If you’re talking about the movement and the abilities that the player has, these are elements that kind of borrow from older games like Doom and Unreal Tournament. On the other hand, if we talk about the visuals of the game, it was the art direction and the decision that while we wanted to pay homage to older shooters, we didn’t want it to look overly retro but to keep some modern aspects of the games that are out right now.
What are some of the locales and enemies in game?
As mentioned, the game is multi-themed, something that makes us happy because it doesn’t restrain us creatively. For the first episode we have the Industrial theme with alien-mutant enemies. We are planning for a medieval theme with armored biotic-dinosaurs or a Cyberpunk theme with augmented and mechanically enhanced enemies.
What are some of the weapons available and do you have a favorite?
For the first episode we have 4 different weapons: A Pistol, a double barrel Shotgun, a Rocket Launcher and a Rifle. All weapons have a unique skill that depending on the occasion, you can activate it so you can escape from dangerous situations. Our favorite weapon is the Shotgun and especially its skill.
Will Multiplayer be part of the game?
So far, this is a requirement that many inhouse testers have suggested. However, the multiplayer mode in a game requires the knowledge and the financial resources so it can be accomplished. Not to mention the time that might take away from the initial game development phase which means that it will slow us down from the completion of the game. Depending of the game’s progress during and after the Early Access period we might consider it.
Will the game come to consoles?
At the moment we are focusing on the PC as a truly retro FPS game. The movement and the transition in the levels don’t favor the usage of a controller. However, because some testers are requesting it, we could potentially implement the code so we can have the same game experience for console gamers.
How does the grappling hook work?
The grappling hook is a feature that helps you in the game in a lot of ways. From transitioning from one point to another up to increasing your movement on the ground so you can escape from precarious situations. Although it is a unique feature, and the game is made in a way to use it often, it is not a necessary skill. We have many other skills to achieve things that you could do with hook. However, the grappling hook is a fun addition to our game and gamers will be…”hooked”.
The game is described as relentless; how do you balance challenge without frustrating players?
The game is made in a way that it is fair to the player. You have a lot of things to do in gameplay terms, but in addition to that we don’t force the player to play the game as it is supposed to be played. There are ways to skip some of the action if you think that it is too much. It was never in our scope to frustrate the player, rather to have a great time with it and for the game to have a lot of replay value.
What can you tell us about the music in the game?
Since the game is all about moving forward quickly and killing enemies most of the time, we wanted something fast, aggressive and adrenaline pumping. We discussed it and the choice was unanimous. There’s nothing better than guitars and drums to match the pace of your heart while playing such games!
What is next for the game after the first part arrives?
Well, there are many things to consider, although, the first things that will probably come are the next episodes. We want everything to be the best quality so there is a lot of hard work coming. As mentioned earlier, we also want to embrace the community feedback after the first part so we can see what everyone wants from the game and proceed from there, this is another significant thing on our to-do list.