Metalheart: Replicants Rampage Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Strategy First
Release Date:2005-04-30
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
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We recently had a chance to talk with the developers at Akella, who are hard at work on a cyberpunk role-playing game entitled Metalheart: Replicants Rampage.  As the team puts it, Metalheart is an (old school) turn-based isometric RPG, where you must outfit your characters with cybernetic body implants to survive. Interested? We thought so.  Have at it:

GB: For those visitors who aren't yet familiar with Metalheart: Replicants Rampage, please give us a brief overview of the game, as well as an update on where you are in the development cycle.

Akella: Metalheart is an (old school) isometric RPG game with turn-based combat. The story is about two starship pilots: captain Lantan and his female co-pilot Cheris being the only survivors after ship crash and emergency landing on a certain planet. The planet is controlled by Empire and is a source of a mineral called (tactonium), which is almost literally priceless. Lantan and Cheris must return to their home, which means that they must take part in revolution that is about to start on the planet, since Empire is tactonium monopolist and won't allow no one go freely knowing the secret of this incredible mineral.

Right now we're close to beta testing stage, fixing bugs and balancing the game.

GB: The game will include four races: nomads, mutants, cyborgs, and replicants. Can you briefly detail the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Akella: All history of the planet is revolving around tactonium mineral. Nomads were the ones who discovered it, but then came Empire and monopolized tactonium mining, so Nomads fled to the desert. They are pretty much like human race; they have great spiritual culture, traditions and stuff. Mutants are descendants of the first miners of tactonium, who (discovered) its mutation effect on themselves. They have great knowledge is healing and medicine. Cyborgs are strong and they can do everything they are programmed to do, but thinking isn't their strong point. And replicants, they are (perfect mine workers), resistible to mutations. Expect something extra special with this race!

GB: Can you explain how implants will work in the game? We've read that the most powerful implants require surgery, but just how powerful will these "class 3" implants be? Could you provide some examples of each implant class?

Akella: Those class 3 implants will be very powerful. Actually game's named after one of those powerful implants. Other class 3 things will be new brains, eyes etc. Examples? Well, class 1 implants are different prosthtics like (Steel Arm), (Hybrid Leg), (Mechanical Knee) etc. Class 2 are stuff like (Night Vision) and (Iron Eye), things that improve you sniper skill etc.

GB: How many different implants, weapons, and armor are you planning to implement into the game?

Akella: The game will have 60 weapons and 100 quest items and more than 400 implants. Number of armor won't be big though; defense factor will be defined by implants mainly...

GB: What type of interface will players use to manage the inventory among their different characters?

Akella: Standard point '˜n' click interface...

GB: You've said in previous articles that the game will have some similarities to the Fallout and Jagged Alliance games. Can you describe some of the similarities and differences that M:RR will have to these previous games?

Akella: Combat system of Metalheart is pretty similar to one in Jagged Alliance series, and its (postapocalyptic) aesthetica is very much like what we've seen in Fallout, but there many things that are different. First off, there were no nuclear war or any other cataclysm. Then, characters won't have any perks and traits, and whole idea of the game is very different from Fallout. Lantan and Cheris aren't Chosen Ones, they're not going to save the world, they only want to save their asses. And, of course, there are implants in Metalheart, they have huge impact on gameplay.

GB: Tell us about the different environments players will travel through during the course of the game. Any favorite areas you'd like to elaborate on?

Akella: Cities, plains, roads, forests, towns, nomad hideouts etc.

GB: How large of a team can a player form while adventuring through the game? How will additional NPCs be recruited, and how many total are there in the game?

Akella: The party can be up to six characters large. Two of them are main characters, pre-generated, which you can't customize, and the rest are NPC's whom you can hire for longer or shorter time and them you of course can't customize too.

GB: How many different weapon types will players be able to use during combat, and how will they typically be obtained (merchants, battle spoils, etc)? Care to elaborate on a few of the more powerful weapons found in the game?

Akella: There will be one group of pistols, one group of rifles, two groups of machine-guns, group of blasters, some unique special weapons and some swords. Also, characters are able to fight hand-to-hand. Weapons will be mostly obtained after bying them from merchants, but battle spoils is a part of the game too. Few powerful weapons? We can name the (SR Deathbringer) sniper rifle and (MG Hurricane) minigun.

GB: In conclusion, what gameplay aspects do you feel will set Metalheart: Replicants Rampage apart from the many other RPGs available on the market? Any other final comments about the game?

Akella: Of course this aspect is implants that make the borderline between races very thin. With them you can turn one slow, inaccurate, bad-seeing idiot, into a perfect killing machine that can win the Nobel award between adventures. Of course, I'm exaggerating, but you get the point. This implants feature changes whole role-playing process and making it really different to what has been before.

We'd like to issue our thanks to everyone at Akella for taking the time to answer our questions!