An interview Awoken
Project Awakened is one of the more ambitious of the plethora of Kickstarter games we have come to see recently, offerings users the opportunity to create a truly personalized character with a unique set of skill sets. Sounds good right? The main drawback comes in the amount of money that Phosphor are asking for to create the game, which stands at a whooping $500,000, and, at the time of writing, it has only managed to generate $189,000 of this with just 6 days remaining. So why exactly should you back Project Awakened? I sat down with Chip Sineni, Director at Phophor games, to find out exactly that.
Velocity Gamer: For those who don’t know how would you describe the concept for Project Awakened?
Chip Sineni: Awakened is about 3 main things:
- The first is getting to finally create the action video game character of your dreams, in both appearance and abilities, without us telling you what classes or skill trees or combinations you have to choose. The game will respond to the abilities you choose and how you combine them. You will play through a rich, mature single player campaign that provides opportunities to both, mess with your abilities in a sandbox open city, and to go on more linear missions to learn about the world and story.
- The second part of PA is a multiplayer of unprecedented power and freedom. If you can choose what abilities you want, and so can your teammates, there is no limit to the gameplay styles and strategies you can evolve! You can also create custom MP scenarios that are almost a game making kit. If you restrict to just medieval armor and melee weapons, it’s an RPG. If it’s just space gear, it’s a space marine epic. Or Cowboys vs. Aliens, stealth kills only, 1 vampire vs. 7 hunters, and on and on.
- The 3rd part of PA is we are going to open up the back end for modders to go crazy. We believe, like Gabe Newell at Valve, that the users have amazing ideas and skill, and will create things we would never dream of in our studio, and we want to see it, and have you share it with the world. At first the tools will be more semi-pro modder, but the long term goal is to make it more mass market accessible so everyone can be their own game designer.
VG: You’re currently asking for $500,000 in your Kickstarter campaign, what is this money going towards?
CS: We have been working on the game slowly in our spare time for nearly 4 years. The money allows us to dedicated a prototype team to the game full time so we can set a definitive end date (closed beta Q1 2014, open beta Q3 2014).
VG: You mentioned in your Kickstarter video that a previous project, called Hero, that was in development at Midway is being used as inspiration for Project Awakened, how different are the two projects?
CS: Hero was a big open world game. We want to have an open world sandbox that allows you mess with your abilities, but we are also big fans of a good story and world (as is evidenced by our past titles The Dark Meadow and Horn), so we want to have a solid thrill ride story that puts your dream character in context of a real world.
VG: A key focus for Project Awakened seems to be the character creation, how many unique combinations for character creation are currently in the game and how many do you think will be in the final product?
CS: Across the various prototypes in the past 6 years, we must have prototyped 60+ abilities with scaling levels of power, types of usage (tap vs, charge vs. hold) and a wide range of visual parts (just look at the [videos] we have out to see just how many characters you can create from just that set). We want to offer at least that same volume of choices, if not more, in the open beta launch. How much beyond that depends on how much funding we raise.
VG: With such an emphasis on character creation and creative freedom, will the gameplay and storyline be linear and the same for all players or will the game feature an open world where the story will change based on the players actions?
CS: As above, we will have an open world hub to mess around, get gear, take missions from mission givers, and then have linear story thrill ride missions off that hub. The situations will play out very differently in those linear missions depending on your abilities choices, like Arkham Asylum or Dishonored, but we want to take that idea to another level.
VG: You also mentioned that the game will have a closed beta that you’re touting for an August 2014 release, how much influence do you think this beta period and feedback will influence the outcome of the final product?
CS: We are hoping to have closed beta a bit before that actually. We need a community to really dig into the game with us, find issues, make suggestions on what works and what should get blown out as a feature. It will have a big influence on the open beta later in 2014, and that living open beta will continue to evolve for a long time after that…likely indefinitely as there is always something new we can do. We have years worth of ideas already, and the community will no doubt have more!
VG: With the recent announcement of the PlayStation 4, do you think that Project Awakened would work on the system and can we realistically expect the game to come to next generation consoles or are you going to keep it PC exclusive?
CS: Our goal is PC for now, due to the low complexity to get it distributed on the platform, and the great freedom and power to allow for modding and community involvement. We are not saying no to a console version some day, but we’ll just have to see what is possible on next gen and if the vision of Project Awakened can be maintained in a port.
VG: You stated that you will support the Oculus Rift, do you think that VR technology can change gaming?
CS: We do. We were supporters of Kinect, and the Wii U, and think that any new way to interact with the medium is going to have designs that work really well for that format. We are excited to see a well designed mass market VR gaming device, and to support it with Project Awakened.
VG: Finally, given that Project Awakened is under half way funded despite only having around a week left of its Kickstarter campaign, what happens to the project if it is not fully funded, do you have alternative methods of creating the game without Kickstarter?
CS: We are hoping, as is the case lately with Kickstarter campaigns, that all the people watching and sitting on the fence will realize that it’s getting tight and finally jump in and support the game that gamers really want. If it doesn’t make it though, we will have to go back to working on it slowly until some other method of funding comes up. We will not be able to commit to a closed and open beta date for a while.
VG: Good luck with your Kickstarter campaign and thank you for your time.
CS: Thanks for the interest and support! Get the word out, we want people to have their gaming dreams come true!
You can check out Phosphor’s Project Awakened Kickstarter page here.