I did an email interview with Amario, one of the creators of Abandoned from Black Lion Media. Below you can view the Q and A. Please be sure to post your thoughts below and check out their kickstarter page for information, links, and ways to support and purchase the game.
Damnit Slam: As always, thank you for your time for this interview and hopefully we can have you on the podcast in the future.
Amario: Hi mom!
Damnit Slam: What kind of games, genres, etc. do you and the team enjoy? Have any other games helped to shape the development of the game or inspired design aspects?
Amario: I mostly prefer first person shooters, but I do find myself from time to time playing other genres. I would say if it wasn’t for Doom or Fear, I wouldn’t have started Abandoned so yes (haha) other games are very heavily inspired. Not only games but movies as well really heavily inspired in this game. I’m a big fan of the Halo series and Assassin’s Creed.
D: When did Black Lion Media get started and how did you and the team get involved with game design?
A: Black Lion Media started in May of 2010, it really was just a couple of friends making videos of games, montages, and trailers. Eventually one day the idea to stop making videos of someone else’s game and make my own kind of took over like a virus. I later started researching about game development and entered a competition sponsored by some pretty big people in the industry like Microsoft and Apple. Not winning the two times I entered did not stop me from entering one last time. I felt it was a huge learning experience for me, pushing myself to learn more about working hard under pressure. The third time me and a friend won first place in the competition and I then started on the Abandoned project based on what I’ve built at the competition, eventually finding my partner Jared Knoll who jumped on the project pretty quick. Making Abandoned what it is today.
D: Abandoned is currently up on kickstarter to allow gamers to help with publishing and development costs. In one of the updates it was mentioned that the gameplay hasn’t been decided, what percent complete is the game? What type of game is Abandoned?
A: Well the gameplay is pretty much playable, but in order to fit with the story some features have to be added in order to increase the quality of the game. The game is just now polishing up it’s first two chapters, which is great. Abandoned is a first person shooter whereas it’s original intent was just horror, but after a few rewrites and as things progressed that sort of changed to a more suspense drama shooter. The story in my opinion is pretty original and I hope it stands out in the huge FPS crowd.
D: What was the motivation to use kickstarter rather then say release the game on steam with lower publishing costs? Any plans for steam integration and/or steam cloud support?
A: It’s been considered early on in development to whether or not to release it on steam. However currently there is no plans for a steam release, probably considering the bug-iness of the old engine, we’re pushing it to it’s limits for this game. We’ve decided to use kickstarter as a push to our project initially to raise enough funding not to continue the project, but to speed it’s process. We’ve been working on the game for almost a year now with great progress, it’s only now that we exposed only a small amount of whats already made.
D: Abandoned appears to have a striking visual and audio style, similar to The Darkness, Max Payne, Riddick, and F.E.A.R., is the visual and audio design the most important aspect of the game, is it the story, or is there a perfect balance required?
A: I think there usually should be a balance, haha but however in Abandoned I’m pretty sure as two teenagers, we naturally do focus more on the visuals unintentionally of course.
D: What about Music compared to sound effects? For some reason I get the feeling from the trailer that weapon sounds and environmental sounds will create a certain mood and atmosphere. Is this what the team is going for?
A: From the trailer we definitely tried to tease those aspects of the game just to show what we had completed. However most of the gameplay are from our scrapped alpha version so the feel of what people get from the actual game may feel somewhat different. The voice actors have just recently finished their lines and it does effect the mood of the game pretty deeply. We’re definitely going for an “all alone, whats that noise?” feel in the game.
D: What can players expect from the weapon design?
A: We were planning to use re-textured EAI models but as development goes along things are eventually shifting and changing. This is currently the last aspect of the gameplay we are working on. Players can possibly expect the guns to feel somewhat like the game Stalker. The guns on that game have a very balanced feel to them.
D: When listening to the podcast from the Mode 7 Development studio, they express the importance of staying current by playing other games throughout the development process. This is a stark contrast to most big budget games, how important is it to the team to play games of similar type or genre throughout the design and development process?
A: It’s pretty important, some people ask why Abandoned took a year to start off. Well that’s mainly because even now there’s only myself (Amario) and Jared working on the game.
A: Lets look at it like this. When you play a game, your inspired. Your inspiration consciously affects your decisions. And your decisions effect on how the game will ultimately play – possibly effecting the mood of the game. Obviously big budget games have something gamers like, the best Indie gamers can do is try to mimic that the best way they can. And sometimes it can even be better. I do believe it’s important to play other games, as sometimes it sparks new ideas which only benefit your game.
D: Are there any plans to do an Alpha/Beta and input user feedback to shape the game? Do you see that process as an advantage or disadvantage?
A: It can be both actually you know? The bugs in the beta might put people off for the final build or it’ll get gamers wanting more for the full version. At this point in development we do just plan on releasing the game.
D: How can fans find out more about the game, when can they purchase it, and is there a release window yet?
A: People can constantly get more news about the game from our Facebook, KickStarter, or our upcoming website. Expect a possible release in May of 2012!
D: Thanks again for your time, I look forward to hearing more throughout the development of the game.
A: Thanks for having me.