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Edge of Twilight Interview

4 December 2008

Fuzzyeyes Studios’ intriguing steampunk fantasy romp, Edge of Twilight, is shaping up to be something rather special indeed. Eager to learn more on the project, PSU decided to catch up with designer Travis Draper who had plenty to say on the forthcoming Devil May Cry-esque hack and slash.

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PSU: First, could you introduce yourself to our audience and let us know your role within the development of Edge of Twilight?

Draper: My name’s Travis Draper and I am a designer. I’ve known I’m a designer for almost three years now and I’m finally ready to come out and shout it to the world. I’ve been working on game design things like story, combat and enemies, did a bunch of level design and scripting, and wrote the dialogue for Edge of Twilight.

PSU: Edge of Twilight is described as a Steampunk fantasy game. Can you expand on what it means and how it affects the theme and art style of the game?

Draper: The best way to explain steampunk is to imagine that the Victorian industrial revolution era never ended and technology progressed without the microchip. The technology is quite advanced but it’s all running on steam power. The fashion, architecture, art and culture are all somewhat stuck in that time but they’ve also got fairly modern sensibilities. The fantasy part means that the game isn’t set in our universe and that we’ve created a brand new world with an original folklore rather than just setting it in 1890s England for example.

PSU: Other than being a half-breed bounty hunter, can you divulge some additional information on Lex for our readers? Where does he come from? What drives him?

Draper: Lex’s origins are a bit of a mystery, aside from the fact that he’s half Athern and half Lithern (the two civilisations in the game). But he did grow up in the Citadel of Athyr where the entire Athern population is trapped. The only way he’s been able to get by is by getting work as a thug/bounty hunter/killer, and that continues into the game too. The life he lives is really the only life available to him.

PSU: What are the differences between the two civilizations, the Atherns and the Lithern? And what is the reason behind the genocide?

Draper: The Atherns are the industrial, progressive race who strove for technological and political advancement by the harvesting and refinement of the mysterious Ether substance, which they used as a combustible fuel source.

The Lithern were more of a spiritual race harmonious with the environment, quite happy to co-exist with nature and embracing Ether as a life force instead. The expansion of the Athern Empire came at the cost of the Lithern race and that’s when the problems really started!

PSU: Other than simply the time of day, what are some of the differences between the two realms, Night and Day? What affects will they have on Lex and his abilities?

Draper: A hundred and fifty years in eternal daylight or nightfall has had different effects on the environment so some areas might be more broken down in the one realm, and more overgrown in the other for instance. Lex’s abilities are also different between the two realms. In the day realm Lex can break structures down and use machinery, but is less agile. In the night realm Lex can leap and climb and balance and acquire some mystical abilities like walking on the ceiling, but he’s quite weak and can’t use machines. Because you can only change realms at designated points, we could start layering these elements up within the environment to create some really cool environmental puzzles.

PSU: What kind of environments will players see? Other than The Citadel, will there be other towns and villages for the player to interact with?

Draper: Not really towns and villages per se because the entire Athern population can’t leave the Citadel without being attacked by the undead Tainted Lithern hordes. So that keeps them all in one place, you know.

But Lex will get to travel to monolithic abandoned Athern mining facilities in all the different regions, as well as forests, tundras and canyons among others. There’s a lot of variety in the environments but they really feel like party of a cohesive whole, which is always nice.

PSU: What kind of weapons will be in the game and how does Lex obtain them? Will they be customizable?

Draper: All the combat in Edge of Twilight is mêlée, so Lex gets a big, steampunk sword-like weapon that also has a built-in blaster that can be charged up to blow enemies apart at a close range. It looks sweet, and it’s tense when you’re waiting for the charge meter to hit full while there’s a demonic Tainted Lithern tearing towards you.

There’s weapon customization to a degree. It’s not an RPG so we’re not going too deep with attributes and add-ons and all that jazz, but you will be able to buy upgrades from the local black market dealer in the Citadel. Those will add more power and unlock cool new finishing moves and the like!

PSU: How does the dynamic camera work in the game?

Draper: Yeah, we’re using spline cameras! Those are like the third person camera you’re used to, except we lock them onto invisible tracks that run through the environment. This lets us create really impressive, cinematic scenes. Because we know where the camera’s going to be the whole time, you’re also not going to get any camera bugs and glitches and disorientation that you would with a standard third person camera. It’s a lot more work for us but the end result is absolutely worth it.

PSU: Edge of Twilight is currently in development for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Has it been a difficult task to develop it for all three platforms, and will there be differences between each version?

Draper: It’s not really difficult to develop for those three platforms. We’re using middleware like Unreal Engine 3 that really cuts down a lot of the effort for us.

Aside from obvious differences like slight control changes, the three versions are very much the same. It’s annoying when a developer gives different versions of a game over multiple platforms because no matter which platform you buy for, it always feels like an incomplete version.

PSU: Staying on the development category, is the team working on a specific version first and porting to the others? Or are all three versions being built from the ground up?

Draper: I had to drag the tech director over to my desk for this one! Predominantly it’s being developed on the PC, but all three versions are being built from the ground up.

PSU: What is the projected release date for Edge of Twilight? Is it likely that all versions will be released simultaneously?

Draper: SouthPeak will announce the release date for all platforms in North America and Europe shortly.

PSU: Will there be multiplayer options for Edge of Twilight? If so, could you tell us a bit about this side of the game? Do you think it’s likely that we will see some co-op options implemented?

Draper: Nah, Edge of Twilight was designed from the ground up as a single player experience. Any work we did on multiplayer would take time away from making the single player portion as good as we can. On top of that, it would make zero sense within the game world which is kind of a big thing!

PSU: Are there any plans to release a demo before Edge of Twilight is released? If so, what sort of time frame do you think it will be released in?

Draper: No plans at this stage, but that’s not a no either.

 

PSU would like to thank Draper for taking the time to answer our questions.


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