Talking The New FPS SPRAWL With Carlos Lizarraga

Recently I spoke with Carlos Lizarraga about the new game Sprawl.

What is the background and setting for the game?

The world of SPRAWL takes place in the late, but purposely ambiguous, 21st century. In the years since, strides have been made in the fields of cybernetics and artificial intelligence. Cybernetic limbs are no longer considered substitutes, but instead could be for the first time characterized as replacements. Artificial intelligences are able to manage most human systems at peak efficiency. However, this is the waning of humanity’s golden age – the afterglow of the 300 years of unprecedented technological, economic, and sociological progress has all but faded. The shadows grow long for the human race, the twilight of former glory gone. This is a world that is broken from wars, ecological disaster, and economic failure. It is somber, and the people that inhabit it are possessed by the specter of HyperNormalization.

What are some of the levels/areas that players will encounter?

Players will encounter everything from dilapidated city streets reminiscent of Kowloon, rooftops where you can bounce off billboards, industrial warehouses, giant decaying technological megastructures, and brutalist hellscapes. SPRAWL is broken up into 3 chapters each with a key theme.

What can you tell us about the enemies that players will face?

SPRAWL is populated with the forces of the omniscient “Junta”, the all-seeing, all-controlling totalitarian regime in control of the SPRAWL. In their service are everything from standard grunts and four-legged military “dog” drones to heavy mechs carrying grenade launchers. Each of these enemies has unique characteristics, some with weak points, that allow you to effectively deal with them.

What type of weapons will be featured and which is your favorite?

This one is easy: the shotgun. It’s a no-brainer for me. I revised it during development about 5 times to get it right. Every aspect of it had to be beefy, from the sound design to the animation. It’ll instantly evaporate basically all the smaller enemy types. Oh, you can also shotgun jump with it.

Does the game offer Multiplay and Cross Platforms?

SPRAWL currently is not a multiplayer game.

What can you tell us about the music in the game?

I wrote the entire OST myself. It’s a heavily electronic, industrial, 90’s tinged dance music album pretending to be an OST for a video game. It’s inspired by all the soundtracks to games from the late 90’s to early 2000’s. It’s also mostly dynamic, meaning, based on your actions, it’ll change pace. Lots of action? Big drum and bass section. Slow parkour area? Slow ambience.

What was behind the decision for the Neopunk style setting, as that seems to be very popular now?

SPRAWL actually predates that trend. I originally was working on this concept (sans the movement shooter aspects) completely as an aesthetic slow-moving shooter in the Source engine around 2016. The narrative remains mostly unchanged, as does the setting. SPRAWL also has always had a slightly different take. Cyberpunk for the most part seems to be borrowing more heavily from the western lineage of the genre, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, etc. SPRAWL (ironic because of the name) borrows more from 90’s anime.

Will your character have any special abilities and can they power up or enhance their weapons along the way?

Nothing special. How badass you are in SPRAWL is directly tied to your mastery of the mechanics. No upgrades except adding new weapons to your arsenal.


What were your biggest challenges and greatest success stories in making the game?

This is my first game ever. Hannah, my co-dev on SPRAWL, has been in the games industry for a very long time. I opened Unreal Engine for the first time 3 years ago, when we started working together on SPRAWL. The challenge is always seeing things through, working even when everything in the world is stacked against you. Overcoming all the adversity. The greatest success is seeing the near universal praise for the world I built, the aesthetic, the acclaim for the music and sound design.

Is DLC planned for the game?

We’d love to do more, but currently our focus is going to be on how to best support this game, fixing all the bugs, making adjustments, and new content for everyone who decided to support SPRAWL day one.