with Ahmad Khan
[dropcap]G[/dropcap]iven that we’re in the December dog days of Kickstarter funding it’s unusual to find a campaign worth taking a closer look at. Case in point, the last few editions of our Kickstarter roundup Weekly Launchpad. Usually they’ll be a dozen or more featured campaigns, on top of the 30+ other campaigns. However, the last few editions have been sparse when it comes to featured campaigns. An exception to this trend is Kriophobia from Fira Soft. This survival horror features modern graphics on top of old-school inspired gameplay, something that’s strangely lacking in the genre. We recently had an opportunity to speak with Kriophobia’s Creative Director, Felipe Modesto, and asked him all about the game.
Cliqist : Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Felipe Modesto : I’m the Creative Director at Fira Soft and am a programmer by formation.
I’ve been developing games since 2009 and became the creative director based on my design skills and lack of professionals in my city.
Cliqist : Tell us a little about Fira Soft? What’s the story behind the name?
Felipe Modesto : The name is instantly recognizable to those who played a lot of Final Fantasy when they were kids. There, Fira is the level two fire magic, preceded by fire and superseded by Firaga.
Fire is generally recognized as a source of power, warmth and that’s what we wanted, to make people feel that warm cozy feeling while playing our games.
Funny fact: we thought about naming the company firagames using the Firaga as a pun, but settled on Fira and Soft as we needed to do a lot of business applications in the beginning to fund our projects.
Cliqist : Can you explain in your own words what kind of game is Kriophobia?
Felipe Modesto : Kriophobia is what we would like the survival horror genre to have evolved into. A blend of all classics, but with a different art style, beautiful and unique. When the genre started there were a lot of technical limitations, which don’t exist anymore.
Still, AAA developers choose to create action games with gore and label them as SH rather than adhering to the original definition.
Cliqist : What video-game, film, literature or artwork do you believe influenced Kriophobia?
Felipe Modesto : Kriophobia was influenced by pretty much everything in the genre to a certain degree. Mostly though, the influences can be divided between story, gameplay, art style and audio.
Gameplay is heavily influenced by the cornerstones of the genre, classic RE and Silent Hill define survival horror (in our opinion) and that is why we have put so much of them into Kriophobia.
The story, is influenced by two very distinct sources, the first being authors like Stephen King and Agatha Christie (focus on the mystery!) and the other being the cold war, specifically what people have found after the war was over.
There is this great video on Vimeo that serves a perfect example of what we want to capture in the game: http://vimeo.com/112681885
The art style is based on the dark and gritty graphic novel, especially those popular in the 80s-90s, with a huge influence from Frank Miller and Dave Gibbon.
The audio is our very own creation, we take a lot from Russian culture and focus on stereophonic sounds and effects.
Felipe Modesto : Pre-rendered graphics have always been part of Survival Horror. Resident Evil, Parasite Eve and Dino Crisis used it really well despite the limitations. When we went back to that with our art style, we felt that the only way to create a scenario that felt cohesive was to use cell-shading.
Cliqist : Your project description states that Kriophobia is about “bringing back survival horror”, can you elaborate?
Felipe Modesto : Survival horror started with simpler games, focused on creating tense environments, where characters felt more vulnerable and where not everything had to end up in an explosion with insta-death quick-time events (which is what we think the genre has become).
While there are games that defy the definition above (all indies, naturally), but none have gone back to the roots of the genre the way we have with Kriophobia.
We want to bring back what was great in the genre and has been lost, hence the “bringing back”.
Cliqist : What made you decide to launch a Kickstarter project for Kriophobia at this time?
Felipe Modesto : Kriophobia has been in development for about a year. The project started small and grew organically, reaching a point where most of our team is working on it. During this time, we built a lot of tech to make the game work, camera and event systems, navigation, the overall plot story as well as the content of the first chapter and, specially, our rendering technology.
We have reached a moment where we think that the project is mature enough for us to share it with the world. We have a complete section of the game that can be played from start to finish and, because it is the beginning of the game, would not result in a lot of spoilers.
Additionally, we started participating in events such as BGS and the Comicon Experience, and felt that they would generate buzz about the game.
Cliqist : What kind of game-engine will you be using for Kriophobia, what are the minimum system requirements for players on PC?
Felipe Modesto : Kriophobia is surprisingly lightweight when considering processing power. The technology we created allows us to simplify things (magically and without removing details) to a degree where our greatest concern is storage. The game is being developed using Unity3D plus a whole bunch of tech we put on top of it.
Kriophobia will require a lot of space, the complete game will take anything from 2 to 6 gigabytes of storage but not a huge processor. We want everyone to play the game, and we know that most people don’t have access to state of the art graphic cards. Essentially, I want the game to run on my Macbook Air (given that I do not play on the best graphics quality).
Cliqist : Will you be bringing Kriophobia to Linux and Apple? What about porting to consoles?
Felipe Modesto : We will release Kriophobia on Steam to Windows, Linux and Mac OS X (given that we are Greenlit).
Unity3D allows us to do so with a reduced cost, the same logic being applied to porting it to consoles. We have started conversations with Microsoft, Sony (and now Nintendo) to discuss publishing the game in their platforms. Unfortunately I can’t give you more details at the moment, but our goal is to have the game running on consoles. More on that in about two weeks.
Cliqist : What kind of difficulty level can gamers expect in Kriophobia? Would there be settings for both casual and hardcore gamers?
Felipe Modesto : We want Kriophobia to be hard, challenging but not obtuse. We’ve all had trouble figuring out puzzles in adventure games at one point, not knowing that we had to mix two random objects at a specific location to trigger an event. This way, we will focus on making the puzzles intuitive, but not dumbing the game down. While this is usually a possibility, we will almost surely (99% chance) have more than one level of difficulty. However, the game will be focused on hardcore gamers, challenging them whenever possible.
Cliqist : What kind of game length(hours of gameplay) has Fira Soft planned for Kriophobia?
Felipe Modesto : Kriophobia is going to be split into 5 components, each with between 1.5h and 2hs. This means that the complete game will take between 8 and 10 hours to beat. That is the plan, at least. If things go crazy we might end up putting more in the game. I just want to make sure and remind everyone that we will not bloat the game to make it bigger than it has to be!
Felipe Modesto : Of course! Every single penny helps, and if people want to lend us a hand we will take it. We plan on putting up a Paypal donation link for people who can’t do Kickstarter.
We have a tip box in our office as well, and we take checks :P. For checks, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok, that one was just a joke (unless you actually want to send us a check, in which case please do.)
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/ahmad.jpg” ]Ahmad Khan grew up playing video games. A fan of RPGs and Post-Apocalypse games, Khan instantly fell in love with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGogo that made games like Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity a reality. He also ended up being sort of a whistle blower for suspicious crowd funding project, believing that the venue of crowdfunding should be reserved for the honest and the passionate, not for the dishonest and dubious. You can stalk Ahmad on both Twitter and Facebook if you feel so inclined.[/author]