The editors at Rock, Paper, Shotgun recently chatted up an unnamed member of the Neocore Games team about their forthcoming steampunk-themed action RPG, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, and have shared the interview for our reading enjoyment. Learning from Diablo III's biggest mistakes is certainly a step in the right direction:
RPS: There’s been a recent resurgence in action RPGs, helped by Diablo III. What does Van Helsing bring to the genre that no one else has?
NeocoreGames: Fundamentally we follow the traditions of the action-RPGs. You can fight, explore, loot, level up your character and your follower, talk to NPCs and fight a multitude of different enemies. On the other hand, we have also implemented plenty of unique ideas into The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. The setting and the world is very special: the city of Borgova is like a metropolis taken from a gothic-noir tale with dark, scary, imposing buildings and various locations resembling a 19th century European city. You can explore ancient bathhouses, great avenues, beautiful theatres and brick tunnels. We put more emphasis on the story and the characters. You have to make serious decisions in the sidequests, and the whole game has more RPG elements than most similar projects. Tactics are also important because of the diversity of the enemies and their special abilities. I could also mention your own secret lair or the power up system: you gain Rage points as you kill more and more enemies, then you can spend these points to enhance your skills and spells and combine these spell boosts in several ways. Another important feature in the game is the humorous, sarcastic narration and dialogues.
RPS: What has been learned by watching other ARPGs released this year? Are there any mistakes you’re going to avoid, or themes you’re going to adopt?
NeocoreGames: I’d rather say it confirmed our opinion that players really want to be able to decide in which direction their character is developing – assigning ability points and choosing the right skills for either melee or ranged battles is an essential part of these games. From the reactions we could also see that such an ARPG needs a decent afterlife, namely continuous updates for the multiplayer.