Developer Q&A: Talking God Mode with Old School Games
When I asked Alex Armour, PR Manager for Atlus, if we could do a Q&A with God Mode’s developer Old School Games, the request was met with open arms. This is a game that is less about story and more about having fun. Its not about an epic blockbuster single player campaign and more about an epic blockbuster multiplayer experience.
I am honored to present Old School Games CEO Matthew Karch, who painstakingly fielded our grueling questions. Karch makes it very clear where God Mode is coming from. Its not just a game about a guy struggling to get out of hell, its about you and your buddies getting together everyday for the rest of your lives to play what Old School Games intends to be the best multiplayer gaming experience on the platform. Let’s have a look at the Q&A with Matthew Karch from Old School Games.
Q: What kind of game is God Mode at its core and what type of gamer will be interested in playing?
I think the first thing distinguishing characteristic to note about the game is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is lighthearted fun and focuses on arcade style action over a deep story. I think this makes sense for downloadable games where players are looking for some quick gaming action they can jump into immediately. There haven’t been too many throwback arcade-style shooters lately but since we’re coming in at $9.99, we are hoping to get a wide audience to try it out and we believe there’s enough content, quality, and fun factor to compete with the $59.99 shooters.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the story writing process for God Mode?
Since the focus on God Mode is more about the action and less about deep narrative, this gave us some real liberties to create a cool looking and unique world. When a game starts with story (and in my personal opinion games are trying too hard these days to become more like movies than something you actually play) you are somewhat handcuffed with regards to design as the game needs to fit the narrative. Since our goal with God Mode was to focus on coop shooting action, we picked a cool and unique setting and built a premise to match it. So the story process for the game really flowed from what we wanted to do visually and gameplay-wise.
Q: Can we expect many story elements throughout the game or does the game concentrate mainly on the action?
The game has more of a premise than a story. You play as a descendant of the gods whose bloodline was denied immortality as part of an ancient curse. When the game starts, you are one of the recently departed (you are already dead). The gods have given you one last chance at immortality–you must survive “The Maze of Hades”–a warped underworld of the mythological undead. If you survive, you attain “god mode” or immortality. If not, then it’s eternal damnation. When you start the game, you select and design your character and are thrown into the action. The first thing we do is tell you how you died. We have come up with some pretty fun ideas for that and they definitely add some lightheartedness to the game.
Q: Atlus just kicked off a death scenario contest and people are submitting all kinds of ideas for the way the main character dies. How will any of these be included into the final game?
The plan is that we are reviewing all of the submissions to the site and the ones that we find the funniest will find their way into the game. We have a Spirit Guide that starts the player’s journey by relating by what hilariously awful demise they ended up in the Maze of Hades. Each winning submission, then, will be spoken in-game by the Spirit Guide, and we are also including the winners in the end credits of the game as a “Special Thanks.”
Q: What sort of obstacles have you overcome during the development process for God Mode on PSN? What sort of relationships helped you out along the way?
The biggest challenge is to create a game that looks, feels and plays like a full-priced title but to do it at a price point that is within reach for a large majority of gamers. Most of the stuff you see on the downloadable side is a bit simpler in terms of design, visuals and feature-set. We wanted to do something more robust. Another challenge is just overcoming simple perception of what a PSN game can be. People seem to think that if it’s downloadable it needs to be a simple side-scroller or an updated version of a classic game with a relatively simple presentation. The truth, of course, is that the same PS3 processor that powers Call of Duty or Uncharted is powering God Mode. There need not be restrictions on what can be delivered on PSN and we hope that this game proves that to gamers.
Q: How is Saber interactive involved in God Mode and how did that relationship come to be?
Old School Games is a studio that Saber started that focuses on high quality, low-cost downloadable titles. The studio uses Saber’s technology and development platform to create games that look like retail products, but we have kept it as a separate and isolated studio to allow the team to focus exclusively on these types of games. As Saber has grown into a larger studio over the years, we wanted to keep the small, indie vibe going and Old School is the perfect vehicle for that. So Saber’s involvement is financial and support-based but this is more than simply a label, it’s a new entity.
Q: Roughly, how long of a gaming experience can we expect from the story? What will fans of Atlus find most interesting about God Mode?
The game is really structured for unlimited replayability. There are 5 large maps that can be played in any order, modifiers, AI randomization, weapon and character skill upgrades and increased difficulty settings. I would guess that people who buy the game are going to play it for a long time.
Q: The trailer showed off some of the different modifiers that can be applied during the Tests of Faith. What was the inspiration for Tests of Faith and some of the modifiers that you can experience?
The Tests of Faith are our way of putting in cool and randomized modifiers that constantly vary up gameplay. You will never play a map the same way twice as the Tests of Faith change the dynamic every time. Its one of the cooler aspects of the game and we think it provides really infinite replayability.
Q: While online co-op is great, it’s always a blast to be able to play on the same couch with a friend. Will the game support local split-screen co-op?
The game will not support split screen co-op but can be set up in a LAN configuration to play in the same room. We feel the mayhem of the game is best experienced on a full screen.
Q: Will there be any head-to-head online/offline multiplayer modes in God Mode? What was the motivation for this decision?
Within each map of God Mode there is a section at the end of the map called the “Gold Room” this is the “cash grab” section of the map where we pit players who have been playing collaboratively for the entire map against one another for treasure that leads to valuable upgrades. It’s a nice little curveball that we have thrown in that is something we have found people really like as it adds diversity to the game and forces an immediate change of strategy.
Q: Are there any DLC or post-release support plans for God Mode?
We don’t have any announcements on this quite yet, but our goal is to be responsive to consumer feedback and to make sure post-launch support focuses on what people want to see in the game.
Q: Are you working on any other projects for PSN right now, or have plans to in the near future? What is next for Old School Games?
Right now our focus is on God Mode and making it a great multiplayer experience. While we do have other projects in the works, our priority is to get this game out to market and to provide the God Mode community with support.
Many thanks to Alex Armour at Atlus for helping to facilitate this Q&A. Huge thanks to Matthew Karch at Old School Games for taking the time to answer our questions. The editors at PSNStores are looking forward to this multiplayer gaming experience to come from Atlus. We now have a price for God Mode, but I’m told the date will be coming soon. You can follow Atlus on Twitter at @AtlusUSA.