I've been keeping an eye out for any potential horror games coming through on Facebook and Twitter. Developer Deep Blue Games has had my interest for some time now as I've watched them start development on a few games over time. Their latest project, Werwolf, has had me retweeting their posts more often than I can recall doing recently. I decided to take a look behind the scenes and find out what can be expected in this upcoming horror feature, which is being developed specifically for VR.
Right now, all that has been revealed is that the story will take place in historical Germany with fantasy elements, and will include the ever-present Nazis with some supernatural werewolves and vampires. The teaser video and interview below may just shed some more light on this game in development.
INTERVIEW WITH LEAD DESIGNER, LEVI WRIGHT
1. What were the things you took into consideration when choosing the genre and setting for Werwolf?
Horror and adventure games have always been my main forte. While they aren't what I play 100% of the time, (because let’s face it, Overwatch is my video game crack cocaine) they always interest me and I see what people can come up with. As far as the setting, WW2 has always fascinated me, so it's been something I've often leaned towards for a time period.
2. Why the use of the German spelling for a title aimed more at English speaking consumers?
It adds a little flair, since Germans are involved in the backstory. And in today's day and age where people want to copyright simple words like candy for their games or bully a small developer to change the game's name, a German spelling of an English word shouldn't bother too many people.
3. What are the advantages and trade-offs when developing for VR, specifically for this game?
You would think there isn't a lot to be made by making a VR game that demands such a high powered pc. It requires a lot of optimization you didn't have to worry about before, such as limiting yourself to only 4 to 5 dynamic lights at a time (and trust me, you will miss having more available to use). Textures have to be at a lower resolution, because the texture pool can only get so full before it causes dropped frames. Choosing what should have the bigger texture detail is often the biggest challenge. Managing polygon and vertex count is another issue. It all seems very negative, but you would be surprised how much detail you can squeeze out under such limitations. The biggest advantage of using VR is once you optimize it correctly, you could possibly provide an experience that no-one has given before.
4. What game engines have you used, if any, before developing in UE4 and what games were made?
I've dabbled in Unity, RPGMaker, and FPSCreator. FPSCreator used to be my bread and butter and in my opinion I made some pretty cool stuff with the engine. The first iteration of Werwolf was actually made a few years ago in FPSC, but at the time it was titled in-house as The Chateau and later Project D.C. While that version of the game was never released, I did manage to release 4 games (of questionable quality, mind you). These games included Dusk, The Figure, The Lighthouse, and my better known Escape The Bunker: 1944.
5. How long has Werwolf been in development?
That is a good question. If you count the time spent on Project DC, it is hard to say. If you discount that and start with Werwolf's "first" prototype in UE4, then around 2-3 months. I was working on a wave shooter far different than this but after some design decisions I absorbed all the R&D from that and put it toward Werwolf.
6. Will it be a linear story or will certain situations be based on actions or player decisions?
Currently it is semi-linear. The way I approach level design is somewhat likened to how the Half Life 2 team handled it. I plan to keep things linear, but that doesn't mean it's always a straight shot. I want to keep it somewhat open and allow the player to backtrack through large areas if they want. Since the game has survival elements, player will often need to comb over the level to increase their chances of survival.
7. Will it be a stand-alone or are sequels planned?
Currently it is a stand-alone title. I like the idea of the games I work on being in the same universe as each other so I wouldn't say a sequel is out of the question at all; however, it's not planned at this stage.
8. What inspired the game?
Wolfenstein is a big hitter in this department and it may be the most obvious. What is most likely not so plain is that this little indie gem called Nosferatu: Wraith of Malachi has a much bigger influence over everything in Werwolf. I'm trying to stick more to the mythical side of things where each monster should be killed in a certain manner, if at all possible... and Nosferatu: WOM was on the right track.
9. Are any other games in the pipeline that you would like to share?
Werwolf is the only game currently in production, but there are a lot of games on the backburner for later. Will they be VR? Time and sales of Werwolf will tell that.