Dark Amber Softworks were good enough to answer a few of our questions about their title, Avenging Angel.
For those people that are not familiar with the game, could you give us a brief synopsis of what it's all about?
Well, there is no short answer to that! Avenging Angel combines the time tested and familiar FPS dynamics with a deep story layer and RPG elements. The player character is an “Associate of the Inventors Guild”, which in short is essentially freelancer, doing odd jobs around the game world. The story takes place 10000 years from our day and age in the fictional Northern City States. Much of the world has turned into infertile wasteland and no-one seems to remember why. Fossil based fuels are long gone and societies have started using steam-based applications.
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Player character is dropped on an island to perform what would seem like a routine maintenance job. It becomes clear pretty quickly that there is nothing remotely routine about this particular job. One can expect plot twists, shady NPCs with selfish motives, treachery, insults, fire fights, puzzles, difficult moral and ethical choices, and all sorts of weird stuff as the story progresses.
The design of the robots are quite unique and not something I have seen in traditional steam punk type art. What inspired you to go with that look?
The robots are from the vivid imagination of our designer Mr. Janne Pukki. I think the design baseline came from Stephen King’s hallowed “Darktower” saga. There is a robot called “Andy”, which served as the main inspiration for all those designs. We also aimed to do something original and something, which would be immediately recognisable, and not only copy things which are already out there.
The game is stated to be story driven. Would you say it is a game more suited for people that like story over combat or is there a good mixture of both?
I think it is a good mixture of both. There is a deep story layer in Avenging Angel, but we didn’t feel the need to rub it into players’ faces. You can play it as an open world shooter with RPG elements, or then you can really search in-game books and notes, and find out more about the world through NPC dialogue options.
Any specific reason you decided on allowing the character to dual weld guns? Was it more of a design choice or purely an aesthetic choice?
Dual wielding was something we agreed really early on. We wanted player’s to have an option of using both melee and fire arms simultaneously. The next logical step was, of course, dual wielding pretty much any single-handed weapon combination. We are bringing swords like katanas into the game and Vincent’s signature weapon is going to be a Gun Blade. We are aiming to bring that into the game in the next really big content update scheduled a bit later this summer.
The game website mentions that you can sneak around to achieve objectives. Will the player be able to use sneaking/stealth to do a lot in the world, ala something like Dishonored, or will the player be forced to come out into the open to deal with problems?
Most of the robotic enemies in the game, if they spot the player character, will start coming after with hostile intent, but if they do not catch the player, they will cease hostilities and return to patrol. There is a possibility of backing away from the fight there. The humanoid enemies will chase player and fight until defeated, but one can run past them in most of the scenes.
Sneak/Stealth, if done the way it should be, is really a work of art and it is very difficult to do properly. We are working really hard on that at the moment. We offer alternative routes and means of keeping away from enemy’s line of sight. Crouching also prevents enemies from hearing the player character. There are certain scenes in the final game where direct action is the only choice to solve the problem though.
The features you hope to bring into the game during development include a second player character. Any chance you can got into specifics on what type of character that might be?
The second player character will be the female character presented in the box art. Her name is Amity Sigrune and in the final game her story will be a bit different. I already mentioned Vincent’s signature weapon being a Gun Blade. Amity’s signature weapon is going to be a very special scoped rifle. There is a really juvenile about story how Amity got her last name. I will probably get a lot of flak for this, but let’s put it out there. In ancient Scandinavian languages “Sig” means “Victory” and “Rune” means “Secret”, hence “Sigrune” is, more or less, “Victoria’s Secret”.
Another incoming feature mentioned is Oculus Rift support. What kind of challenges does that pose to development and has your team ever worked on a game for the Oculus?
Dark Amber Softworks team met while developing a (canceled) horror game, which was meant to utilise Oculus VR, so we were pretty familiar with the technology. We started designing Avenging Angel with Oculus in mind from the very beginning. If you look “down” in the game, you will notice the player character having a fully animated body. We did that to achieve what is called “true full-body immersion”. That also meant the hands and guns looked really small compared to other shooters where the guns fill half of the screen. In order to achieve balance there, we had to re-adjust the camera. Avenging Angel has the possibility of playing the game completely without HUD, which helps with the immersion and problems with stereoscopy and position relative to the field of view. One of the biggest challenges with virtual reality is collision with geometry. Having stuff too close to your face or passing through you is really, really nasty. Then we have “Simulator Sickness” to worry about, although people respond to that very differently on an individual level. In short, implementing Oculus VR properly takes a lot of work, and this is why we didn’t want to bring it to Early Access.
You can follow Dark Amber Softworks on twitter @avengingangel02.