December 6, 2012 4:04 PM | John Polson
The release of a cyberpunk-infused trailer for Winged Doom's STEALER took everyone who didn't follow the Journey to Hammerdale developer by surprise last week. Fans gushed for its nostalgic, gritty visuals and sci-fi sounds.
Rather modestly, developer Winged Doom believes the rise in fame was all thanks to the music. People certainly couldn't figure out what kind of gameplay to get excited over, based on the trailer.
In this interview, Winged Doom begins to open up on what kind of game STEALER for Windows may be. The developer also shares what influenced the aesthetic choices, what was the team's fascination for and definition of cyberpunk, and why pixels were most appropriate for a cyberpunk setting.
The trailer isn't quite telling about what kind of game STEALER is. What kind of game will it be exactly?
It will be exploration game, dive in mood and atmosphere of world of robots. Something like Knytt maybe. In some dramatic, emotional moments gameplay will contain puzzle or action elements. We are actively working with the game prototype, but at this stage of development I can't say exactly what we get in the end. We want to make something cinematic and very detailed to describe the world of robots completely.
How many people are working with you on the game?
Four with me. I'm working with all art and story, Brian make awesome music, Yaroslav Shmelev (SoulSharer) working on game prototype and needed utilities. And recently, we were joined by Daniel Swearengin, who will make sounds.
Why do you think everyone is so excited about this game?
Actually I don't know! :D And I didn't expect to get this kind of reaction. I believe that without the music of Brian, I would not succeed.
What is your team's fascination with cyberpunk? How do you define "cyberpunk"?
I am far from philosophical questions posed by this genre. As an artist, I interested of entourage and mood of cyberpunk. First of all it's image for me - mass dark city, entangled by wires and mechanisms, absorbed whole world. There are no people. Machine or network transform them into something new.
As a team we are united by a common feeling of this. And it's not just cyberpunk. There's even more references to science fiction of 80's. When Brian showed me his track (which plays in the trailer) I was so impressed that I radically changed the basic concept with referring to the 80's theme and also to some images from Soviet science fiction. In this sense Brian is full co-author of this world. Music intertwined with visuals so that it can't be taken separately. And I will try to achieve this in game too.
Based on your definition, why are pixels the most appropriate?
Because pixels or big pixels is part of image that I mentioned above. On the other hand, pixels is most suitable and correct artistic device for my creative purposes. This is a perfect tool to work with these inner images and manage energy which comes from a sense of nostalgia. For me, these conceptions - nostalgia, retro, and cyberpunk are very close. I understand that there is no logic or sense. It's a kind of necrophilia :D 100% game with unconscious fantasies, kind of irrational retro-futurism. I mean all that C-64 links in STEALER's video.
What were the earliest influences of cyberpunk for you?
Japanese cyberpunk films like Tetsuo, Rubber's Lover, Meatball Machine, Texhnolyze. Classic 80's and 90's Sci-Fi Films - Blade Runner, Tron, 12 Monkeys, The Lawnmower Man, Johnny Mnemonic, Short Circuit, Robocop... And Nirvana - I love this movie! And if we touch the topic of nostalgia that I really like Russian film with the same name - Nirvana by Igor Voloshin. He is not so far from the cyberpunk genre, because all character's costumes was made in cyber-gothic style. Also films with Arnold Schwarzenegger - Running Man, Total Recall, Terminator. And ofcourse Blame! by Tsutomu Nihey.
All of this is reflected in development of STEALER one way or another.
How do you feel about how excited everyone is for your game, based on its aesthetics?
Looks like we hit the bull's-eye. And I am a little scared about all this. Now STEALER is not really our game, but yours! :D I began spending more time to working with gameplay. But should we feel more responsibility for what we get? I don't know. For me, the main goal is self-expression, I do what I like, that's all.