Developer The Farm 51
Publisher The Farm 51
Platform Various Next Gen
Release Date TBC 2015
This interview is with Wojtek Pazdur Lead Designer on Farm 51’s upcoming Next Gen title “Get Even“. Get Even has been gathering a lot of interest from within the industry due to an impressive 3D scanning technology that allows the team to scan large environments and recreate them in stunning life like detail. The game itself is due out in 2015 on PC and Next Gen consoles.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and first off congratulations on the new project everything I have seen and heard about it so far has been hugely positive.
Thanks, happy to hear that! Our first trailer smashed the global gaming industry for one day. People shared, liked and commented it everywhere. It was a huge surprise for us. It seems like everyone is interested in what we are doing with Get Even now.
As an independent developer it must be liberating to be able to take on a new project like the recently announced Get Even and have the freedom to say this is our vision and this is what we want to achieve and to then be able to go and do that.
Yes, it is liberating. Especially when you think about our recent titles were more or less similar to some of the market blockbusters. Don’t get me wrong, Deadfall Adventures is a pretty cool game but still, “Get Even” is something fresh and unique. It is also our most carefully planned project. Our goal is to get to the core of experience, and at the same time we’re throwing away things that doesn’t match that goal. We don’t want to “keep with standards” of other games anymore. This is why we made some controversial (but only from so-called “market” perspective) choices like that we don’t need to create separate singleplayer and multiplayer campaigns. They’re connected in Get Even by a clear design logic, not because market numbers shown that we should have multiplayer.
You recently announced Get Even which is scheduled for release on Next Gen and PC in 2015, I know it is early but what can you tell us about the game?
The heart of Get Even’s plot is the memories of its main heroes which have a dramatic effect on their future. We craft story-lines that mixes elements of thriller and horror with exploration. Sure, Get Even is, above all else an action game (with elements known from classic shooters) but it is also much more than that at the same time. We don’t want to follow used clichés and settings currently inhabiting the FPS genre. We look for something never seen before. There is plenty of interesting things about Get Even, I’ve already mentioned blending of single and multiplayer experience for example. But this is just a beginning. Nearly every aspect of this game may be described with our main slogan from the first trailer: “What is real?”. It relates not only to our photorealistic graphics, but also to the whole structure of the game. Are protagonists’ memories real? Are the things gamer sees on the screen real at all? These and many more questions alike, define design philosophy of Get Even.
What do you hope to do differently from other titles in the FPS genre to stay away from the traditional cliché settings and stories?
First of all, we don’t want to compare our game to other titles out there. This is something we did often in our past projects and we feel like we’ve had enough of such comparisons. If you have seen our first trailer, you definitely notice how different it looks when compared to other games on the market. This was one of the main reasons behind choosing 3D scanning technology for Get Even. We wanted to catch gamers on this first impression like “Whoa, this looks like real world”. We’re not trying to create another flashy shooter here, based on multimillion dollar budgets. We’re indie developer and where big players throw their money, we come up with creativity. So, instead of marketing bullshit we are working hard to deliver freshness to gamers. And what do we mean by that? A whole lot of thing, beginning from single and multiplayer philosophy, unique storytelling based more on non-linear exploration and gameplay mechanisms instead of cinematics, innovative gun selection (along with cool corner-shot weapons) and last but not least, two campaigns showing same events from perspective of two fighting enemies.
The first details you released mention that you merge the single player and multiplayer elements. How will this work for the player playing as the main character, are other players going to be enemies within your story or are there co-op elements?
It’s too early to describe it in details, but I can share at least some information. What we want to achieve is to remove the artificial division between single and multiplayer experience. Along with that we want to tell two different mature stories. As you uncover each story, you might face other gamers joining “your” world as enemies. On gameplay a level, you can’t be sure whether your enemy is a living human being or just AI controlled NPC, this leads to unpredictability on the battlefield. That’s as far as I can go now, but you should catch the idea.
You do mention that the player has a lot of say in how their own story progresses as their decisions determines their personality but how much influence will the other human players have on your storyline?
Well, this is really good question. And to answer it we have to get to the bone of Get Even structure. Simply saying, Get Even is not only about winning or losing. It’s very non-linear game, but not in typical meaning. In our case it often means moving forward in the game whether you lose or won certain battle. So, it’s not like you get shot and that’s the end of fun. Story in Get even often takes place in memories of heroes, so “death” is not always final thing. So, now imagine that you are beaten by some of your human enemies. Their victory is not “game over” for your character, it just shapes new chapter of your story. Had you have won, maybe everything would go into different direction? This is how other players are crafting “your” story with you.
The most striking thing from the first screens and the trailer we ran recently are the photo-realistic environments, can you talk a little bit about this technology and how you have been able to utilize it?
Yes, the whole hype started from this trailer. Now we feel like half of industry is looking carefully what are we going to do next:). We’re really proud of being the first team which use 3D scanned world at so large scale. Some companies used scanned geometry and textures already, but mostly on much smaller range. Our trailer was probably the first sign that it makes sense to create whole game with it. There are many ways you can use this technology, you might want to check Vanishing of Ethan Carter from The Astronauts for example – they use scanning techniques in a different graphic style, more colorful and fairytale. We on the other hand are aiming to picture the dark, creepy places closer to what you can see when you go to sub-urban factories, etc. Technology is based on capturing scans of real environment and then transferring it into game engine. We try to imitate rough and run-down environment you can find in the real world and are achieving it due to usage of 3D scanning.
What are the advantages to having this technology? Does it free up a lot of resources that can be used elsewhere? In terms of artists and processing power/memory normally used to render environments?
Well, as in case of every technology, 3D scanning has its pros and cons. And scanning process is only a part of the final work that needs to be done in engine, like optimization and level design processes that allows us to use this heavy amount of data without losing the visual quality and to customize the game world for gameplay needs. Even if we’re able to run already scanned locations in 60 frames per second on typical next-gen gaming gears, every next level brings new needs and require another routines.
But technology cannot define the game. We choose 3D scanning because it fits our goals we want to achieve with Get Even. Should we have different approach it’s possible we end up using different technology. 3D scanning is just an option out there and this option works well for us, but will not necessary suit everybody. We are developing this technology for some time now and things that seemed impossible in the beginning of development now are being done in minutes. When we started, we could create only one internal corridor and now we are able to create huge locations, also outdoor ones.
At the same time what limitations does it bring, are you still able to alter scenes and manipulate the environment to suit the game or are you stuck with the 3D scanned environment? And I guess if they are all real world scanned environments you need to find them in the real world which takes time and introduces its own issues too.
Well, if you come up with clear planning and replace hours spent on rendering with hours spent on scanning, it turns out that it might be even less time-consuming. That’s the first thing. What more, process of preparation before you actually start working on graphics to any game (not only games based on scanning techniques) usually presupposes some time for research in real environment to get some benchmarks. So, this is more question of proper planning, not technology itself. There are some limitation as well, of course. I.e scanned environments are not so flexible as hand-modeled props, so you can’t expect amount of destructible objects to be as extended as in Battlefield 4 or Tom Clancy’s The Division. But hey, we do not work on the game about destruction in the first place! Shooting is only a part of Get Even gameplay, which focus equally on exploration, inquiries and outsmarting your enemy. This is why we put a lot of effort to deliver rather feeling of presence and fun of exploration than destructible environments.
Thank you: Is there anywhere our readers can go to keep up to date with Get Even’s development?
Keep your eyes peeled for new info! “What is real?” not only relates to the game, but also to some of the unique materials we will post soon on our facebook.com/GetEvenGame and @getevengame on twitter. We also work on new ways of communication with gamers, we want to involve them in development process somehow. More info coming soon!