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Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
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Afterfall: InSanity, Horror games, Indie Games, interview, Intoxicate Studios, Nicolas Games, PC games

Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

You'll Be "Completely Blown Away"

Afterfall: InSanity exploded onto the gaming consciousness thanks to its exceptionally brave $1 pre-order strategy, but it's also shaping up to be a viciously scary and viscerally satisfying game in its own right. To find out what Intoxicate Studios has in store for us, we sat down with gameplay designer Miki Majka... who spilled the beans on how they plan to make us soil ourselves in abject terror later this month.

Jonathan Lester (Dealspwn): Thanks for talking to us. First things first: can you give us the 'elevator pitch?' What is Afterfall InSanity all about?

Miki Majka: Afterfall: InSanity is about a struggle against confinement. Albert Tokaj, the main protagonist, seeks a way to cure the confinement syndrome, an ailment that is haunting most of the dwellers of Shelter ‘Glory’, a place where many people have found refuge when the apocalypse struck. Accidental detonation of a powerful fusion bomb called Entropy triggered worldwide launches of nuclear weaponry and devastated the globe. Poles were in luck as their government had already started the Afterfall Project, a program that gave birth to the Shelters. But people who survived within are now haunted with the syndrome - they are restless, worried, depressed, feel their lives are pointless etc. - who would want that? So Tokaj, as he’s a psychiatrist and pharmacologist, tries to stop the syndrome. But things are gonna get out of hand pretty soon...

Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

Dealspwn: Most recent triple-A horror games have done an incredibly poor job of actually scaring their audience. As an Indie studio with the freedom to innovate, how do you plan to terrify us with AfterFall: Insanity?

Majka: That's a good question, in our opinion, anxiety is a key to the atmosphere of a survival game. Not fear exactly because that is momentary. We tried to build a hounded, psychotic and claustrophobic atmosphere. Of course the whole story circulates around inexplicable situations which are a strong stimulus to increase fear. Also the creation of monsters and types of audio will be your trigger to going insane.

Dealspwn: Fear is set to play a major part in the experience - as a gameplay mechanic rather than just a theme. Could you explain how the FearLock system works, and how it sets Afterfall apart from similar experiences?

Majka: FearLock is a system of... well, fear measurement. The in-game explanation is simple: Albert has a special gadget in his PDA. He wanted to use it to measure the stress level of his patients, but for now he tests it on himself. The measurement takes some factors (heartbeat, blood pressure, temperature, hormones etc.) and calculates the level of one’s fear.

If too scared, Albert starts to lose it: his accuracy will decrease, so using firearms will become more difficult. And his healing factor will decrease as well. But then he can use melee weapons with increased effectiveness: he’ll smash a target with more speed, more damage and with and increased chance of success.

Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

Dealspwn: From what we can see, you're planning to deliver a strong melee focus on top of regular gunplay. What sort of action, weapons and enemies can we expect to encounter?

Majka: Action? Whole lot of action. Shootouts, chases, mini-games and exploration. As for the weapons, we have a wide variety of them to offer. First, guns. Not dozens of them, but just the perfect number. Forget about rocket launchers or plasma guns - we have firearms that a psychiatrist would be able to handle. Albert’s not a soldier. But he can defend himself and that’s where FreeFight comes into play.

Many objects scattered across the game could be used as a melee weapons, both normal and improvised: from regular truncheons to tools and even garbage - anyone should find one’s favorite weapon, each with a different damage rating and... well, style. Enemies? Well, the game’s about insanity, right? So we’ll deal with a lot of madmen. And what would be a post-apo setting without mutants...? Yeah, we’ve got those, too. And some other opponents you’ll have to see for yourself.

Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

Dealspwn: We like to ask developers this question at every opportunity: what (that you can tell us about) is the most awesome, badass and brilliant thing players can do in AfterFall Insanity?

Majka: Smashing mutants with our beloved fire-axe! And from another aspect: story. Story is a very important feature and if you finish the game you will be like “wow” and completely blown away.

Afterfall: InSanity Interview | Intoxicate Studios On Scares, FearLock & Fire Axes!

This is my fire axe. And it's going to cause some serious carnage.

Dealspwn: What major challenges have you encountered during development? How have you circumvented them?

Majka: During every production you have to face some challenges and we did, but they also gave us a lot of great experience. Animation was one of the biggest challenges and we knew that from the beginning of the project, but after few months we organized and developed our animation and motion capture team. They were really into it and thanks to their unimaginable efforts we came out of the animation hole. The speed of dealing milestones was much more difficult to resolve, but we tried to use Brute Force Teams (teams dedicated to only one problem at a time). Actually that works fine but in my opinion, we’ve finished this game thanks to our ambition and hard work. We all knew what our goal was. We wanted to finish our first huge game and we did it.

Dealspwn: The AfterFall universe is shaping up to be an extremely intriguing setting. What were your inspirations, and what other projects do you have planned in the same canon?

Majka: Wow! We found out that we can find inspiration wherever we want. So of course from some other games like the Fallout series, but we wanted to create a game that takes place in our own backyard. We took thousands of photos from around whole country and wrote enormous amounts of documentation.

Even with all that as a base we just started what proved to be a long design process.

But at the beginning we have to say that Aftrerfall was designed as a massive RPG, however, it became so big that it was impossible to put all of this into one title, so we decided to split it out into a few titles. The first as a prelude is InSanity. We wanted to make different genres of games so you should be prepared for more post-apocalyptic titles showing you what the Afterfall universe really is all about. You have to remember InSanity is only the beginning of a long, wonderful, but mysterious story about the rising of human civilization from the ashes.

As a gameplay designer, Majka was not in a position to answer questions about the $1 pre-order scheme. We'll follow it up after the November 25th release.

Add a comment9 comments
Tsung  Nov. 15, 2011 at 09:26

$1 Pre-order scheme?. From the terms it appears we will only get the game for $1 IF they have 10 million pre-orders. That seems very unlikely, in which case, the $1 you pre-order the game with is given to charity and you get nothing in return. Ok, there is a token gesture of $1 off the final price, but that is all it is.. Sure donate a dollar to charity..

StolenDiagram  Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:12

Nope, if you preorder it for a dollar you get it for a dollar, regardless of how many copies sell. If it doesn't sell 10m then the developers end up with nothing and all the cash from sales goes to charity, most likely sending the team into administration as a result!

Last edited by StolenDiagram, Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:13
StolenDiagram  Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:21

Actually, scratch that. Looking at their badly worded T&Cs, it DOES look like the selling price will be $33 if it doesn't sell 10 million (which given that it's only managed 18k so far means they don't have a hope in hell).

Regardless of the outcome, I'm avoiding it. The doubtless badly translated English language release will be an immersion killer for me, and it'll just end up on a pile of purchased and never played downloaded titles like those I've got through steam.

jamesgrahamslack  Nov. 15, 2011 at 11:24

Isn't this the one that if they get enough you get it for $1, if not then you have donated $1 to charity and get $1 off the product?

A good idea and the game looks like it could be ok, time will tell.

StolenDiagram  Nov. 15, 2011 at 11:37

If $33 ends up being the ACTUAL selling price, then this company are punching above their weight sadly. Far too expensive for an indie title. Never heard of the studio before now. They should just sell all preorders for a dollar regardless and donate 10% of those sales to charity. How on earth did they think they'd reach 10 million preorders in the space of a month?

DivideByZero  Nov. 15, 2011 at 11:48

Maybe they didn't, but good publicity.

Indy games are getting bigger and better. Back in the day indy games were just pants clones of other games. Now there are so many groundbreaking indy games, it's great.

Seeing Indy games go on sale on Steam for £12.99 (Trine 2, which I bought) shows that indy has moved on from £2.99 versions of pac man.

JonLester  Nov. 15, 2011 at 11:55

Maybe they didn't, but good publicity.

Indy games are getting bigger and better. Back in the day indy games were just pants clones of other games. Now there are so many groundbreaking indy games, it's great.

Seeing Indy games go on sale on Steam for £12.99 (Trine 2, which I bought) shows that indy has moved on from £2.99 versions of pac man.


This, basically. There's a case to be made that the $1 gambit was a publicity stunt more than anything (I'll try to follow it up with another interview, Majka is a gameplay designer so wasn't in a position to comment), but if it ends up making lots of money for charity, I don't think anyone will complain too strongly. With a much lower threshold, this sales model could actually work pretty well.

And yes, Indie games are bigger and better than ever - and deliver the innovation that AAA publishers can only dream of. Put simply: they're the way forward.

http://www.dealspwn.com/game-buzz-innovation-dead-71863

Last edited by JonLester, Nov. 15, 2011 at 11:56
StolenDiagram  Nov. 15, 2011 at 12:50

They're still too much money though! Less than £10 SHOULD be the selling price for a title like this. If one can buy an indie game or something like Skyrim or Arkham city for the same price as an Indie, which would you prioritise?

The advantage behind these kinds of games SHOULD be their price. Sell them for too much and they will get overlooked, that simple.

$33 for this is a joke, it looks like a carbon copy of Doom 3 or something of that period based on those screens.

Last edited by StolenDiagram, Nov. 15, 2011 at 12:51
DivideByZero  Nov. 15, 2011 at 13:04

How can you say that without having played it? It just might be the best game ever (ok, probably wont be, but we wont know until we play it).

£20 for a game may seem like a joke, but look at CoD MW3... it's just a complete bolt on to MW2 and look how much that sells for. That's the joke.

Also, remember that people often set RRP high so they can sell it with "an amazing 25% off RRP" etc. People love a bargain after all.

Wonder if this will end up on a humble bundle deal one day?

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