Mars Interview

Article Index

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Focus Home Interactive
Release Date:2013-04-26
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Earlier this month, we learned that several members of the original Silverfall team had left Monte Cristo and formed a new studio called Spiders. Not only that, but the company was already busy working on their first title - a sci-fi action RPG set on Mars some 200 years after its colonization by humans. Since there are only a few details available on the game's official website, we went searching for a bit more information and wound up conducting the following interview with Spiders CEO Jehanne Rousseau:

GB: To start off, tell us when and why you formed Spiders. How many members from the Monte Cristo team left to form the new company?

Jehanne: We were finishing the add-on Earth Awakening when Monte Cristo decided to focus on city builders and to stop RPG development. Most of us were not attracted by the development of such games so in agreement with Monte Cristo we left the company.

But our team had talent, we got along well together, and we knew that the only way to be free to achieve what we want and to create what we like was to make our own company, especially as we had already the idea of our game Mars. It took time but in July 2008, 7 ex Monte Cristo devs were creating Spiders and we began to work on a detailed concept for Mars. Afterwards two other ex members of the team joined with of course some devs coming from other companies. We are 13 total.

GB: Your first project is an action RPG set on a futuristic, colonized version of Mars. What was the inspiration for such a unique backdrop, and why did you decide to stick with the action RPG genre?

Jehanne: The history of Mars is long, we first decide to create a post-apocalyptic game as we were a little tired by the usual fantasy settings, but we want it different of what gamers are used to. And one important idea came from the gameplay itself: we wanted to use sunrays as something's mortal, so we thought about doing our game onto a planet where atmosphere was not enough to block the gamma rays. And all the rest came from it. Of course some references came from books like the one of Philip K.Dick, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ray Bradbury etc. we're fans of. And they helped us to create a coherent universe that is very unusual in video games. I really hope players will like it as we do.

Concerning the action RPG genre, well, we had ideas concerning it we were not able to do on Silverfall and add-on for different reasons, and we were really thinking that the genre could evolve into something new on console. And of course we love this kind of games! These three reasons lead us to go again for an action RPG, but you'll see that it'll be a completely different experience of what we're generally used to with this kind of games.

GB: Where do you currently stand with the development of Mars and how much longer do you expect its development to take?

Jehanne: In fact we're in preproduction: we already have a lot of things on certain points, and on others we're far from the end: The bible is complete, we're finishing a short playable demo to find a publisher and a lot of different things are already working, but there is still a lot to do on the rendering aspect, gameplay and of course production of all the assets. If we find the necessary funds to finish the game, it should be complete in September 2010, as we will need one year and a half to do the whole thing from now.

GB: What is the storyline behind Mars? What will we be trying to achieve during the course of the game?

Jehanne: I'll try not to spoil the story, it would be too bad for the RPG experience, but what I can tell you is that there are in fact two stories that are linked together. Each character has different goals and way to achieve them. Both of them can be played at the beginning of the game, and in both case you'll discover a whole story different from the other, even if the road of one character will often cross the other's one.

The story is about the discovery of yourself, your past and place in the world of Mars, it's an identity quest. You'll not begin as a level 1 pig-keeper that has to save the world.

GB: What sort of locations will we be visiting during the game? Even though Mars has been colonized for 200 years, will there be cities with any real population? How about underground environments or even outer space?

Jehanne: Mars has suffered a terrible disaster since its colonization, but it has kept some of the strength Earth has taken there. The player will travel to water companies' cities thanks to the shadow paths (and these cities are densely populated as it's not that easy to get out of them!), he'll walk to the ice poles, into deep canyons, underground passages, will discover some old earth spaceships etc. But if he'll not leave the planet itself, he'll have enough to see on Mars, believe me!