From Ummagumma Games comes Abadon: Guardians Rise; a 2D platformed, roguelite ode to classic split-screen, couch co-op based entertainment scheduled for a 2018 release. With features such as that of uniquely customizable characters and dynamically structured levels, vicious enemy design, co-operative game play and a demanding narrative comprised of multiple play-through’s, Guardians Rise will not only be the two-man development team’s fourth title release, but also its first major venture into the PC gaming industry.
When an unprecedented, targeted assault on Planet Abadon leaves its seemingly Utopian feature in shambles, Abadon: Guardians Rise will have players take control of the Vanguardians — the Planet’s legendary, now almost decimated task force — in a retro-themed, action-packed rush to recover it from the clutches of alien originated violence.
As these Guardians rush to neutralise the enemy and salvage the missing remnants of their task force, a larger conspiracy unravels; one inclusive of branching timelines, parallel universes, suspense and an overarching theme of vengeance that will have players coursing through Abadon: Guardian’s Rise several times.
A large part of this rush will include the mobilisation and dispatch of playable Vanguardians from Aegis, the task force’s space HUB inclusive of a partly functional AI and an unstable mechanic, to various regions of the World Map.
Therein civilians must be rescued, enemies pulverised and an assortment of other objectives completed in order to minimize a region’s Threat Level and urge the narrative forward. Playable characters from the Vanguardian squad meanwhile arrive with their own set of attacks, insanely stackable upgrades and a steep learning curve, that players will be able to make use of across single-player or 4-player local/online co-operative modes.
Successfully taking down the variety — often mobs — of enemies the extra-terrestrial invasion has to offer, further facilitates the repair and modification of Aegis, as well as the purchase of character-specific upgrades.
Although these upgrades might persist through multiple play-through’s, level settings, navigation and correspondent enemy behaviour will be dynamically altered with each iteration of the narrative, calling for multiple play-styles and experiences throughout.
Following its inception in October, 2015, Abadon: Guardians of the Rise is currently having its various characters, levels and populating assets developed.
The team is currently aiming for a release of the game’s Vertical Slice — demonstrative of its base mechanics, a fraction of its character and level roster — by Q1 2017, with the intent of garnering crucial player feedback therefrom towards future development.
‘Abadon: Guardians Rise represents Ummagumma Games’ most ambitious effort yet,’ states Ummagumma co-founder and Lead Designer/Programmer Scott Bowser. ‘We had previously focused on smaller mobile games, just to get a portfolio started. We really wanted to wait until we had a few releases before jumping into a larger, more full game on PC or Console.’
Through the course of this journey, Bowser will primarily be flanked and aided by Lead Artist/Illustrator Andrew Restrepo Ganzales.
Ganzales’ relationship with the former dates back to You Can’t Escape, a 2D platformed runner originally created by Bowser and then programming partner Nuno Nunes under the banner of Out Of The Box Entertainment in the early months of 2014, that had Ganzales play the role of freelance artist.
The duo would then go on to form the Ummagumma Games banner, relaunch You Can’t Escape, develop and release Godsmash Armageddon over winter, the same year, before commencing development on their third mobile arcade title Soul Samurai.
With the same due for a release soon, Abadon: Guardian’s Rise will mark Ummagumma’s fourth collaborative venture and first PC-directed release, with a potential Xbox One launch being considered as well.
‘Soul Samurai is only a few hours of development from being our 3rd finished mobile release,’ Bowser continues. ‘We just don’t enjoy the casual mobile industry as much however. It feels too saturated with the same money grabbing techniques, and anything that falls of that formula isn’t going to be noticed. ‘
Inspirations for the 2D Roguelite spin of Abadon: Guardian’s Rise emerge from Bowser’s own fascination for local co-operative games.
‘My favorite games have always been the local co-op ones, where I could sit on the couch with a few friends and get lost in a campaign,’ he writes. ‘I’d been playing a lot of those before work on Abadon began in 2015 and was quickly running out of options.’
Much brainstorming and the piling together of various mechanics later, Abadon finally commenced developed in the month of October, the same year, under the temporary moniker of Terra-Force.
It was also around the same time that a relationship was developed between the team and Higher Eclectic Ground, with the latter aiding in social media/PR coverage therefrom.
Drawing inspiration from various Roguelike/Roguelike classics in the vein of Rogue Legacy, Risk of Rain and Nuclear Throne, the months thereafter witnessed the development of several of the game’s core game-play mechanics pertinent to Aegis, character upgrades, the World Map, base enemy classes and other underlying fundamentals. Much of this progress still stands documented on the game’s Higher Eclectic Space.
The team then proceeded into a short hiatus from the public eye over the summer of 2016, wherein several aspects of Terra-Force’s existing design, concept and future progress were evaluated, before now resurfacing with the newly finalised name of Abadon: Guardians Rise, its first teaser, an upcoming development blog and more.
A collaboration has further been established between the Bowser-Ganzaels duo and Van Reeves; a Philippines based freelance musician affiliated to Higher Eclectic’s own network of independent game talent, Reeves is currently providing his cinematic, ambient and heavy-metal infused Synthwave sensibilities towards furnishing the preliminary soundtrack and audio base of Abadon: Guardian’s Rise’s upcoming vertical slice.
While his working title track for the game can be heard within its above teaser, attached herein is a preview of the theme backing the platformer’s City level in its daytime version. ‘Abadon’s title theme is all energy with hints of arcade-like sounds,’ explains Van.
‘The Day time track heard here however is more of a dance track by design; faster tempo, pronounced synth work and prominent drum elements.’ More of Reeves’ work on the game will continue to be showcased as development progresses.
Hailing from the capital of Philippines, electronic underground artist Van Reeves is now an active independent Video Game musician affiliated with the Higher Eclectic Network for gaming talent.
With his specialities lying in the genres of digitally synthesised Outrun/Synthwave/Retrowave and Heavy-Metal driven soundtrack-styled music, sound design and Foley, Reeves’ modus operandi demands that he function on a donation basis only.
The reasoning behind this aspect of his Video Game themed music production is two fold; one, the musician yearns for creative room and hence prefers to develop concepts, compositions and whole songs under non-restrictive time conditions.
This coupled with the tentative nature of his routine as an ‘on-call’ musician employed by Clubs, Bars and other Productions at least thrice a week leads him to avoid setting fixed rates for collaborations with Game developers and the like altogether.
‘Being an amateur independent solo performer and producer, I have come to the conclusion that through the donations of patrons and fans, all without outside interference, will preserve the integrity of design and vision of my works and sustain my frugal lifestyle,’ he states. Also preferred by the Filipino is that all potential collaborators bring to him only underdeveloped concepts and themes, letting him conjure his own unique musical rendition of them that is satisfactory to both parties.
‘Give me the basic gist of a given composition, (e.g: Its a sad song for a sad scene) — Done,’ he adds in explanation of the same. ‘I would then go through the notions of building versions among versions of a sad song that I could come up with and then present and allow the client to choose from them.’
‘If a full concept was already presented to me — complete with specific time signatures, strict tempos changes and specified Instruments used — it would be of great difficulty to assert myself into it and create an interpretation I could call my own.’
Reeves works within the domain of Digital Audio Workstation Ableton Live, software such as Dune 2, Addictive Drums and Dark Zebra, along within that of hardware as standard as non-industry speakers and over-ear headphones.
Calculating that quality compositions take him anywhere between hours to days to conjure, he bears no hesitation in scrapping entire creations if they linger far from the degree of comfort and confidence he finds necessary to harbour before providing clients with a finished musical piece.
When not working on collaborations or at real-world gigs, Mr.Reeves is also a regular producer of music via his Soundcloud profile. All of his showcased tracks are also freely available for use — with the musician welcoming requests for their corresponding music files via E-mail while also demanding that their use be explicitly credited. Donations towards showcased tracks are also actively welcomed.
All of this then makes him the perfect musical collaborator to those yearning for original music to accompany their non-commercial and/or hobby work.
Reeves states that while those will certainly be his primary choice of clients, he also continues to stay open to opportunities from those looking to earn a profit from their creations. This however is not without a caveat.
‘Having a form of synergy between partners is essential — I prefer quality over quantity to put it simply. I would like to get to know the client first, if ever,’ he explores. ‘Communicate, build a familiarity before talking business because if we get lost in translation or any sort of miscommunication happens, it breeds difficulty.’
‘I could work genres outside of Synthwave — sound design and Foley, short clips, long droning sounds. button press on main menus, alert tones — you name it, I can do it. The ‘No time limit’ condition is my only constant; if they are comfortable with that, then yes, we can talk business.’
Mr. Reeves’ contributions towards your gaming projects can now be availed of by getting in touch with the musician via his Higher Eclectic Space. Also functioning as a portfolio of his work here on the Network, said Space will showcase a plethora of his Soundcloud creations — all of which can be made use of by leaving the artist a comment therein.