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Skip Navigation LinksPlayHard > In English > Zeno Clash. Interview with Carlos Bordeu

Название: Zeno Clash
Разработчик: ACE Team
Зарубежный издатель: ACE Team
Издатель в России: Новый Диск
Официальный сайт игры: перейти
Системные требования:
P4-3.0, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
P4-3.0, 1 GB RAM, 128 MB 3D Card
MultiPlayer: нет
Жанр: Action, First Person Shooter
Игра вышла: 21.04.2009
Рейтинг: 7.5

Zeno Clash. Interview with Carlos Bordeu

ACE Team's co-lead designer and artist has answered all our questions about the upcoming game entitled Zeno Clash and provided us with many interesting details about the project, a couple of screens with concept art and some photos taken at the studio.

- Greetings, Carlos! Could you, please, introduce to us all the team members working on Zeno Clash?

ACE Team's photo- Let's look at the team's picture. These are the core people of the studio. Pedro Camacho (music) and Antonio Dominguez (sound) are missing. From top-left to right down.

Top row:

1) Andres Bordeu - Game designer / Artist (Andres is my twin brother. He just got operated from a broken arm during a soccer match: the good thing is that we were losing miserably: so at least he saved us from being humiliated, haha)
2) Juan Briones - Level designer (Blue t-shirt)
3) Jose Tomas Morande - Senior Artist (Green t-shirt)

Bottom row:

1) David Caloguerea - Lead programmer (Brown pants)
2) Carlos Bordeu (me) - Game designer / Artist (red t-shirt)
3) Edmundo Bordeu - Art Director / Writer (Striped shirt)
4) Gabriel Garcia - Lead Animator (Black Shirt)

- What does the title tell us: an important name or a clue about some kind of a conflict unfolding? How was the concept born and who was its author?

- The original name of our game when we started the project (and the current name of the world) was "Zenozoik". Zenozoik came from the word "Cenozoic", which is a period of history which means "new life". Some of our creature designs are inspired on animals that lived during the Cenozoic period. But the name didn't convey anything about the game to a regular person so we decided to explore for something that would have a connection with the story and the mechanics. The game is set in a punk universe and 'Zeno' sounds like the greek root 'xeno' (as in xenophobia) which means 'stranger' or 'foreign', and that goes very well with our anarchic world and main character. The world 'Clash' is pretty obvious in its intention to convey the sense of conflict and combat. We had many different game titles in mind and it's funny because 'Zeno Clash' was a mixture proposed to us by Valve which eventually beat all the other possibilities.

Concept-art of Zeno ClashThe concept was born several years ago when we started working on a prototype using Lithtech's Jupiter System. We created a demo that had a few of the elements of the current game, but it still required a lot of work and was too ambitious for us at the time. It was not until recently that we looked back to what we had created and decided to build something which had a more solid design. We scrapped everything that wasn't true to the new concept and only rescued what was working best.

So the creative process could be tracked back to the Zenozoik prototype which we were developing a bunch of years ago and that was put on hold. The actual work on Zeno Clash started a year and some months ago. The core team of the studio is around seven people, but we do outsource some things.

Screenshot of Zeno Clash- How can you describe the game's world? What inspired it?

- The first inspiration was a set of game books of the 1980's; the Sorcery series from Steve Jackson, mainly because of John Blanche's art. But we have also drawn inspiration from a lot of other sources like the art of Hieronymus Bosch, The Dark Crystal film, etc.

The game's world is a twisted medieval punk fantasy world. There is a background and a large world. The events of this first game occur in the heart of Zenozoik; the anarchic city Halstedom and the surreal world that surrounds it. The game includes a journey to unique and bizarre locations.

The game has many fantasy creatures and we're making sure all of them are unique. However, when we talk about fantasy creatures we are not talking about orcs, dwarfs and elves. They've been done too many times. We have no unicorns or wizards with white beards. The fantasy in Zeno Clash is a world of its own.

- The story is an intriguing part. The name of your hero is Ghat. What can you say about his character?

- The story of the game revolves around the conflict between Ghat and Father-Mother who is Ghat's father and mother at the same time. Father-Mother is the hermaphrodite parent of many different children who live in the chaotic city of Halstedom where his family is a powerful clan. Ghat's brothers and sisters are not all human-like and the story goes through several locations and even timelines where the player will meet and face very strange and unconventional characters.

The reason of conflict between Ghat and his family is something players will see when they play the game. We don't want to spoil it now.

Concept-art of Zeno Clash- Will Ghat encounter different NPC or any evil bosses to defeat during his travels and how they can affect the adventure?

- The game includes many unique unconventional NPC's and there are a couple of boss battles too. But this is not a open-ended game with huge environments and exploration. It is a single player linear adventure with a lot of unique and exciting environments, characters and situations. We're focusing on close interactions in these settings.

- How many hours will an average user need to finish the game?

- The game should be similar to the length of a Half Life episode.

- You define the genre of your game as "Action/Fighting". Name some remarkable features that a gamer will be able to access.

- We don't consider the game a shooter because of its heavy emphasis on close combat. We are doing melee combat in a completely new way of how it has been done in other games. The combat is not like other hack & slash games and the system has quite a lot of depth to it. It operates more like a boxing match where you can dodge, block, deflect enemy attacks and counter attack. The melee portion of the game plays a bit like a mixture of Double Dragon and the classic NES game Punch Out. However there will also be a lot of shooting. The shooting and the fighting will feel more integrated because you will have to rely generally on both.

Screenshot of Zeno Clash- Give us some information about the battle system. Will the hero travel on foot or can ride some creatures?

- The far combat with weapons does not need to prevail over the melee combat. It will depend a bit on how each player approaches each situation. Getting your weapons shot off your hands can happen often during the game (and you can do the same to NPC's) so a same arena can be played very differently between different players. There are also some melee weapons in the game, but the combat is mainly fist fighting.

The adventure is played on foot. Maybe we'll have creatures to ride on a sequel.

- Your artists have come up with an interesting style for your characters and you've licensed the famous Source Engine. Why did you pick it for your project?

- The Source Engine was the best way to go for us. It is a robust engine and it has a lot of features that where important for the development of Zeno Clash, like a strong facial animation system, necessary for our characters and the combat sequences. Another good thing is that during the life of our project the Source engine has had many updates like HDR, motion blur, a new particle system and so on, so the visuals will obviously benefit from these updates.

The unearthly characters will move according to their unique design, so the animation is also something we're taking in to consideration when creating our creatures. It's very satisfactory to watch the characters come to life once the facial animation is finished.

Pedro Macedo Camacho- What's your sound departament preparing for us?

- We are working to give the characters and their corresponding audio a lot of personality. I think the theme of the game is a mixure of several emotions. We have some suspense, drama and obviously a lot of weird fantasy. I know a lot of people will see things and say: 'Wow! What's that!?!' The internet reaction to the teaser has been like this.

- Will Pedro Macedo Camacho (Audiosurf, Fury, Sacred 2) be responsible for the soundtrack? What can you say about it?

- Pedro is an exceptional composer. We've worked closely with him to get a rich and elaborate soundtrack that is as inspiring and unique as the art. We care a lot about music, so we were very glad when Pedro joined us. He's been very enthusiast about the project. We recently finished agreeing on the ingedients for the music. There is still a lot to create, but we're definitely on the right path. We're confident that the game's soundtrack will be a great addition to the game. The teaser trailer was orchestrated by Pedro so you can expect some of the music to go along, but we have so many different settings that there will be a lot of variety in the music as well.

- Is it possible to say now in what quarter of 2008 the game will be released?

- I cannot guarantee anything yet but I think it would be third quarter.

- If there is anything else you'd like to add, please, do it here.

ACE Team checks a level of the game on a projector giving it an evaluation session on this big screen with comments on what needs fixing, what works well, etc...- I think that the visual style and universe is the first thing that really sets the game apart from other titles and the unique combat mechanics are also important. ACE Team has had two things in mind while developing the Zeno Clash:

1) To create a colorful, distinctive, unique world avoiding the use monochromatic palettes and unsaturated colors often seen in photo-realistic titles. We didn't want to make a brown & gray game. It's also important to change environments, color themes, ambient and characters during the extension of the game. We felt sometimes games show off very impressive environments, but players find themselves going through them for hours and hours which means the novelty of the art eventually wears off. The goal is to surprise the player with new elements during the progress of the game.

2) Introduce new gameplay mechanics and combat situations so the action does not feel repetitive and monotonous. Enemies have different attacks and just as they look different, they fight different. Heavy class enemies have to be defeated with special weapons and the game also has some boss battles, (some being more focused on melee combat and others more focused on weapon combat). Players also fight creatures and animals that won't react in the same way that a regular opponent will.

- Thank you very much for your time, Carlos! We wish you the best luck with all your current and future projects!

23.04.2008 16:29, Unicorn


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