The developers at Neocell Factory have been hard at work on a new horror/role-playing Xbox game entitled Resonance. Any game that incorporates both RPG and horror elements definitely perks our interest, so we sat down with the game's lead programmer, Francois Masse, and lead artist, Denis Girard, to learn more. Our questions and their answers to follow:
GB: First of all, where do you currently stand in the development of Resonance? What platforms (Xbox, PC, etc) will the game be available for? Any plans to migrate the game to other platforms down the road?
Francois: We’ve just completed our prototype, so we have implemented every basic element of the game, established the game’s ambience, made use of the Resonance, and implemented sound and music. We’re really excited about the results.
We have been developing on Xbox since the very beginning. For now we have no plans to make it into a PC game, Neocell Factory is aiming exclusively for the console market. But a GameCube or even a PS2 version are not out of the question.
GB: Can you briefly detail the storyline for the game and what RPG elements the game will have?
Francois: The storyline unfolds in a Renaissance-fantasy setting. You play the role of Faye Wynter, an investigator under the King’s authority. Her mother dabbled in witchcraft, until caught and burned at the stake by the Inquisition. Her father was a king’s elite knight, but loved his wife and stood helpless when her secret was discovered. He took his on life. Faye, now an orphan, was brought to the court to be raised, and served the King when she came of age. Still, from her mother’s blood she inherited a very special gift. The game begins when Faye investigates an eerie little village and its surroundings.
GB: Tell us about the different environments in the game and any obstacles you've run into creating them.
Francois: There were many small challenges we needed to tackle for the ambiance and gameplay to emerge as we envisioned. A lot of work was put in giving the designers a lot of power over the features we programmed, with powerful scripting and integration tools. More energy was put to create cutting-edge special effects, taking full advantage of the Xbox’s features. All that research isn’t easy; you never exactly know what you’ll find, exactly where you’ll end up.
The toughest challenge was of course to start the whole project from scratch. New team, new engine. And we had to start at the same time as everybody else. So we needed to program game content and build the game engine at the same time. Normally we would’ve started months before the artists began production. But as a startup company, we don’t have all the liberties we’d like.
GB: You've chosen the NDL's Gamebryo engine for the game. Can you tell us a bit about its capabilities?
Francois: Gamebryo gives us amazing power with shaders, its tools work seamlessly with 3dsMax, it gives us many tools to debug, profile and optimize our code, powerful collision detection, great animation manipulation features. Everything’s there, it gave us all the features we needed to build our game engine.
GB: Any plans to offer Xbox Live support in order for players to download new content?
Francois: Absolutely. We want the game to be Xbox Live aware and have content download.