Here I found this interview of SmallDev talk with Pierluigi from Xenios Vision about their game in development, BlackSoul: The most interesting part is where Pierluigi says that the game is "inspired by old favorites such as Resident Evil".
Recently, I got the opportunity to speak with Pierluigi from Xenios Vision about their game in development, BlackSoul. This game is a third-person survival horror based in 1970’s England; a strange and unknown infection breaks out in the English countryside and your goal is to survive in the quarantine zone and find out what’s really happening. Check out the interview and make sure to check out the game at http://www.xeniosvision.com
Small Dev Talk: What kind of a game is BlackSoul?
Pierluigi: BlackSoul is a third-person survival horror inspired by old favorites such as Resident Evil. Gameplay is a mix between action and puzzles, so your goal is not only to survive a horde of psychotic killers, but also to use your brain in order to solve a lot of puzzles. There are many large locations and you must find a lot of items to do many things in the game, such as solve puzzles, find ammo to replenish your weapons, medkits so you can heal yourself, etc. Exploration is a large aspect of our game.
Small Dev Talk: Is there any background story behind your game?
Pierluigi: There is an intriguing story which is set in England in 1970. I’m unable to speak much about the plot, but I can say that there are no secret corporations or government research labs in which they work on some kind of ultimate weapon… instead, the story is something more sad and cruel. We don’t tell a story based off of a true story, but there are some historically accurate events that are included.
Small Dev Talk: Can you introduce the characters to us at all?
Pierluigi: Yes. There are two characters in the game and you must play both of them. There is Ava, a reporter who is 28 years old and too reckless to worry about the infection; she wants to tell the world what’s going on.
Then, there’s our other character Sean, who is Ava’s brother. He’s a 37 year old detective, and he wants to find his sister in order to save her.
Small Dev Talk: How will character development work? (Will there be level ups, upgrades etc.)
Pierluigi: Ava and Sean have some different skills which reflect on the action. Sean is stronger than Ava and this results in giving more/receiving less damage… On the other hand, Ava has more endurance than Sean so she takes more time to die after she’s gotten infected. Ava also has a little more of agility and can avoid enemies more easily than Sean.
In the first part of the game you’ll play Ava and you’ll find the gameplay a little more puzzle based.
Small Dev Talk: What kind of enemies can we expect to face?
Pierluigi: Enemies are people turned into psychotic killers by the infection, so they don’t have any special powers or strategy needed; they want to eat you. They range from slow to fast zombies and this doesn’t only affect the velocity of their movements, but also strength and health. Normally a male zombie is slower and stronger than a female zombie. This means that female takes fewer bullets to shoot it down, but on the other hand you get away more easily from a slow enemy ( male ) rather than a fast enemy ( female ). Having two types of attacks, zombies can hit or bite you. If you get hit then you can open your inventory and use a medkit to restore your health, but if you get bitten then medkit becomes almost useless… your health will keep going down continuously until you use an antidote. Medkits and antidotes can be found by exploring each location closely ( in the same way you’ll find ammo and items needed to solve puzzles ). When you shoot a zombie you might not only give it some damage, but also mutilate it ( but only with magnum or shotgun ); this gives you some more chances to survive since zombie might try to hit you with the arm just blasted, that results in no damage.
Small Dev Talk: What kind of weapons will there be?
Pierluigi: From melee to ranged weapons, you’ll find a crowbar, gun, magnum and shotgun. There is no auto aim so you must aim at the target by yourself. Each weapon might be the best choice for a given situation… for example I could use the crowbar to save ammo, but only against one or at most two zombies. Crowbar is a really strong weapon but is also slow and you must be very close to the enemy to use it, so you can’t face more than one zombie at time. Instead, even if it doesn’t make so many damage, gun has a high rate of fire and you can shoot the enemies keeping them at the distance. And last there is the flashlight… ok, it’s not a weapon but it can be used to look around ( and is really nice how it works ). The magnum and shotgun are the most powerful weapons and they give you the ability to blast your enemies and kill them instantly, but only if you use these weapons at a given distance ( each of them has its optimal range ). All the equipment, items and documents can be equipped, used or read by opening the inventory during the game.
Small Dev Talk: Have you added anything you feel is unique to your game?
Pierluigi: We’re trying to give the game a frightening and disturbing atmosphere; to surround the player with a sense of anxiety and fear so that he can never feel safe. We are doing this by using cinematic instead of common tracking camera; however, the camera we are using isn’t fixed, but dynamic instead. This means it changes position and orientation in real time giving the game some cinematographic qualities; dynamic camera also means that nothing is prerendered. In this way we can play extensively with lighting, which is probably one of the most important thing you have to work on if you want to make a really immersive survival horror game. Also, when you play a game like this you also want to be scared by some disturbing sounds… our music composer has made around 40 songs for BlackSoul using two different music styles: more classic for Ava and industrial one for Sean. Also gameplay is something special, infact when we started defining it we had in mind two different types of game: survival horror and graphic adventure. Now, it’s not so simple to mix two categories like these, but we wanted puzzles a bit more different than just looking for the handle to open that door, so we’ve spent much time on this aspect of the game. There are different kinds of puzzles: for example, some of them can be solved by grasping the meaning of a text; instead sometimes you’ll have to figure out how a device works; and some other puzzles will be minigames. However, one thing is certanly unique in BlackSoul; the “Marcigliana”. The Marcigliana is a real orphanage no longer used for over 25 years ( it was located in Rome untill it was torn down about one year ago ). It has been entirely made in 3D and it’s one of the best locations of the game.
Small Dev Talk: What is your favourite aspect of the game so far?
Pierluigi: As I said we’ve spent more time in order to give the game the best atmosphere as possibile, so I think graphics and lighting are some of the greatest aspects of the game. On the other hand, shooting the zombies is always fun and the puzzles will be a great challenge for the player.
Small Dev Talk: What game engine does BlackSoul run on?
Pierluigi: We’re using the S2Engine HD by http://www.profenix.com
, a powerful engine with a really great lighting system.