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Play The HyperParasite Prototype on Itch.io

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases, Van Reeves

The preliminary build of Troglobytes Games’ upcoming frantic, rogue-lite SHMUP is now available for free.

Letting players operate as a body-snatching organism in a dystopian rendition of the 1980s, the action-packed prototype offers access to –

  • Downtown, a fully-playable level that randomly differs in layout with every play-through.
  • Eight Playable Characters to Body-Snatch. Wield bats, bottles, rifles and explosives as you wage all-out war against martial law.
  • Unlockable Levels, Secrets & Future Add-ons. Currently inclusive of one hidden level and multiple items to discover.
  • Hi-Res Cover Artwork & an Original Synth-wave Soundtrack. Featuring Guerilla and Space Marine by Mr. Reeves.

Despite not being representative of the complete HyperParasite experience, the prototype’s purpose is that of encouraging player involvement in the game’s ongoing production process.

‘The prototype will progressively be updated with playable characters, collectibles and an assortment of game-play features that we as a team will be mulling over henceforth,’ states Lead Developer Luciano Iurino, addressing retro-SHMUP enthusiasts and game developers alike.

‘We’ll naturally need your feedback more than ever during this period; being avid users of the platform ourselves, itch.io is the perfect means to provide you with early access.’ 

Not ruling out the possibility of Steam Early Access preceding the game’s full release next year, the team prefers to consider the same only once HyperParasite’s more advanced game-play features are implemented in their entirety.

Following multiple event appearances through the course of this year, the game’s core mechanics continue to be worked upon as focus shifts towards implementing local co-operative game-play support.

‘We intend for HyperParasite as a SHMUP to be played with friends, and trust that co-op will only enhance the current prototype experience,’ affirms Iurino.

Graphical assets are also being reworked, with major character design updates expected over the forthcoming weeks.

Those wishing to download the HyperParasite prototype and partake in its going development, are encouraged to leave the development team with regular feedback and/or queries on its itch.io, Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram pages.

For a complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About HyperParasite

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that developer Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by.

With players picking up the titular role of a parasitic organism bent on world domination –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, gruelling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend. In development for a late 2018 release on PC and Consoles.

Website | Facebook | BrightLocker | Indie DB

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Twitter | WebsiteInstagram | Facebook | IndieDB | YouTube | Steam

HyperParasite Arrives at Milan Games Week, 2017

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases

Adding to its official reveal of the game from last week, Troglobytes Games announces that HyperParasite will be making an appearance at this year’s iteration of the Milan Games Week.

A three-day, consumer show held from the 29th of September to the 1st of October, 2017, Milan Games Week holds the laurel of being Italy’s premier gaming event, bar none.

Promising 35,000 square meters of previews, tournaments, retro-gaming, cosplay, indie and junior showcases, this year is proving to be no different as up to 50 independent games prepare to debut at the event’s Indie Area.

While HyperParasite’s inclusion within this roster of titles is a milestone in and of itself, it will also mark the first time players and followers will be able to get their hands on a proper, near-vertical slice of the complete frenetic, twin-stick experience that developer Troglobytes has in mind.

This won’t be the first of HyperParasite’s public appearances however.

In the month of June, this year, a prototype of the game made its debut at the 2017 edition of the Bari Geek Fest with its core mechanics of body-snatching between characters, three macro-classes of playable characters (Melee, Ranged & Bomber) and other basics roughly implemented.

Feedback attained at the event proved to be highly instrumental in improving what the team had already started work on.

In contrast, the build Troglobytes Games now intends to showcase at MGW will feature one, fully playable level, an intense boss fight, eight characters derived from the macro-classes that players can body-snatch, special items, a secret sub-level and a lot more.

To commemorate the same and over eight months of development, a September 2017 Update video has been compiled and attached to this press release, serving as a retrospective of HyperParasite’s progress thus far.

The core mechanics may have stayed the same, but the dramatic evolution of its intensity gives testimony to the numerous visual iterations that the game has undergone in such a short span.

 

‘The fact that we’ll be sharing space with 50-odd independent titles is reassuring; a clear indication that Italy’s independent gaming culture continues to grow,’ writes Lead Developer, Luciano Iurino.

‘And yet we’re also anxious to see if visitors will enjoy HyperParasite as much as we have been; seeing strangers pick up the controller to your project is always an enlightening experience, while there’s no denying how beneficial the presence of media and other industry professionals is to networking.’

Following the event, HyperParasite’s production will proceed in full-steam en route to a late 2018 release. A closed beta testing session is also planned for the end of this year, although details pertinent to the same remain to be explored.

If you’ll be in the vicinity of the Fiera Milano Rho exhibition and convention center of Milan, Italy between the 29th of September and 1st of October then, nothing would encourage the team more than having you stop by and play HyperParasite at MGW’s Indie Area.

3D Artist Luca Eberhart and Game Designer Saverio Caporusso of Troglobytes Games will be present with on all three days, so please be sure to leave them with your complete and utterly honest feedback.

For those who cannot make the event, no matter. You can still be of support and influence to HyperParasite’s development by signing up to the official mailing list via the game’s homepage.

For a complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About HyperParasite

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that developer Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by.

With players picking up the titular role of a parasitic organism bent on world domination –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, gruelling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend. In development for a late 2018 release on PC and Consoles.

Website | Facebook | BrightLocker | Indie DB

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Twitter | WebsiteInstagram | Facebook | IndieDB | YouTube | Steam

HyperParasite, Rogue-lite SHMUP in Development by Troglobytes Games

HyperParasite, News, Press Releases

A top-down, rogue-lite shoot ‘em up at its core, HyperParasite is now in active development by Bari, Italy based independent games studio Troglobytes Games.

Set in an alternate-history, post-World War III model of the 1980s, the game follows an invisible, body-snatching organism’s quest for global domination in an era of obnoxious pop culture. Herein alliances are formed between battle-hardened law enforcers and the most degenerate of criminals to make way for a global hunt, all while martial laws add to the paranoia of mentally ravaged society.

With players picking up the titular role of humanity’s deadliest adversary-to-date –

  • Being able to dynamically snatch and switch between the bodies of nearly every weapon-wielding Homo sapien they encounter, ensures bullet hell almost never ceases.
  • Persistent wit and dexterity is demanded with multiple character classes to consume, host-specific abilities to exploit and a skill-based progression system to overcome.
  • HyperParasite takes its rogue-lite mechanics very seriously. Procedurally generated levels, multiple game-play objectives, grueling waves of enemies, deranged bosses and perma-death make it nigh-impossible to beat in a single run.
  • All while Troglobytes’ in-house dungeon-generation technology, Vania, ensures the seamless randomisation of visuals, sub-levels & secrets.

HyperParasite will also feature local co-operative multiplayer, letting players cherish its characters, urban legends, items and pop-culture references with a mullet-wielding friend.

The title is Troglobytes Games second IP in-development, the first being its multi-console, Metroidvania ARPG, Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods. Having concluded Tenebrae’s prototype phase in December, 2016 after more than a year of development, the team decided to alter its production focus due to a lack of sufficient funds.

‘Our vision for Tenebrae is too large to sustain on the limited amount of resources we have been thriving on,’ states Luciano Iurino, Lead Developer at Troglobytes. ‘Despite our best efforts and numerous prospects, we found ourselves unable to secure for the game a suitable financial partner/investor/publisher.’ 

‘As such then, we’ve had to direct Troglobytes’ focus towards much smaller, more feasible projects in an attempt to independently fund Tenebrae’s production. This is where HyperParasite comes in.’ 

Admittedly, HyperParasite pays homage to an era that Troglobytes Games considers itself heavily influenced by; the absurd, pop-culture ridden decade of the 1980s.

The game’s structure and core mechanics is such that it allows for expansion and iteration on existing content (procedurally generated levels, dozens of unlockable character classes, items, powers, skills, etc.), which in turn provides for plenty of publishing options. 

‘Although, we’re yet to decide what’s best for the game yet.’ adds Iurino. HyperParasite is being prepared for a 2018 launch on Steam by Troglobytes’ core team and a selection of external collaborators. Console releases will follow.

Those interested in following its development can do so via the official Website and/or Facebook pages, which continue to showcase progress from monthly builds. The game can also be found listed on BrightLocker, where the team is offering plenty of benefits to those willing to contribute towards the game’s development.

A few closed testing sessions are planned, while a playable build is being primed for an appearance at the Milan Games Week later this month. Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods meanwhile will continue production, albeit at a much slower pace. Any significant updates with regards to the same will be issued across the game’s dedicated website, indieDB and/or Troglobytes’ social media channels.

 

For ac complete kit of images/GIF’s from HyperParasite, social media profile links and other media, visit the game’s profile here on Higher Eclectic Ground. For any additional press/media enquiries, or to request addition to the game’s mailing list, please e-mail sean.b@highereg.com

About Troglobytes Games

Troglobytes is a small independent video-game development studio based in sunny Southern Italy, founded by both veterans and young talents.

As every developer should, it loves both playing and making video games, going so far as to maintain an original arcade gaming cabinet at its HQ to return to for repeated inspiration.

Its mission is to create innovative, high-quality games across a variety of platforms using the latest in technology, while focusing on storytelling and aesthetics.

Additionally, the team’s members are known to frequently take on freelance contracts and outsourced projects within the industry; from game design to 2D/3D artwork & animation, a complete roster of the titles they’ve contributed to so far can be seen on the studio’s website.

HyperParasite is being worked upon by Troglobytes Games’ core members in association with select external collaborators. Besides being a certified Playstation® developer, the studio is also a part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Program.

Tenebrae: Character Controls Test Invitation

News

Rogue_Render_01

With an unscheduled 2017 PC and Xbox One release on its agenda, Tenebrae: Twilight of the Gods is currently en route to its first playable demo release in the month of July, 2016.  Troglobytes Games’ upcoming Metroidvania epic, Twilight of the Gods aims to establish a narrative of two warriors forced into battling the dark, malevolent underworld of Tenebrae while making use of its own unique twists to non-linearity, procedural generation and the like.

In preparation for said demo release however, the developers are now keen on opening up but a small slice of the game to members of the Higher Eclectic Network irrespective of their backgrounds, fields of work or choice of console — hoping to gather feedback on various control-based aspects of its current build’s playability.

 
 
 


GhoulConceptTo Be Tested – Basic Character Controls

Starting today, interested participants are being invited to test an early build of Tenebrae: Twilight of the Gods from the comforts of their home. Devoid of any of the full game’s characteristic game-play elements such as combat and role-playing, the build will comprise of only a simplistic test scene with interactive objects.

In their playing of this demo, users are required to test all potential movements of the character inclusive of –

  • Walking,
  • Running,
  • Dodging,
  • Jumping from heights,
  • Jumping from the ground,
  • The character’s idle stance,
  • Moving up and down ladders,
  • Stepping onto ledges from the left and the right,
  • Grabbing onto ledges from above and below them,
  • Grabbing onto ladders from above and below them.

 

Platform of Testing

Participants in the test are required to play the build on either of Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.  Secondly, all participants must own a gaming controller (Dualshock3, Dualshock4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Controller or any other equivalent) compatible with their choice of Windows OS.

 

Requirements For Testers
  • Besides the Controls Test’s being open to members of the Network exclusively, developers Troglobytes lay no specific criteria as to the skills or experience of the tester. Everyone with an interest in general gaming is encouraged to participate.
  • Given the test’s emphasis on controller based feedback, the testing must be conducted on the aforementioned Windows based platforms in the presence of a controller only.
  • All testers must maintain a documentation of their experiences with the game, which must then be conveyed to the developers appropriately. This must include —
    • Likes,
    • Dislikes,
    • Comparisons with other games/gaming experiences,
    • Bugs, glitches and other annoyances. All technical errors are best accompanied with a screenshot/video of the same to help the developers understand them better.
  •  Testers must respect that their experiences on the build are not meant for complete public disclosure. While sharing of screenshots from the build is allowed, the sharing of the demo’s files, videos, personal reports and such is strictly prohibited.

GhoulPerks

The testing process’ best contributors will be granted a larger involvement in Tenebrae’s development henceforth. This includes constant, exclusive updates and even access to future builds as and when they become available.

Deadline

While there are no rigid deadlines, participants are encouraged to send in their feedback as early as possible before the final week of July, 2016. This more than anything helps the developers incorporate their feedback into the upcoming demo in a timely fashion.

How To Apply

Those members (i.e. those with projects or services that are actively supported by Higher Eclectic Ground) interested in participating in the closed testing of Tenebrae’s Controls build may send us a message expressing their agreement of the aforementioned terms via the Contact Form below. Verified participants will then be redirected to the developers to commence testing.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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Tenebrae Talk: Norse, Dungeons & 3D Metroidvania

Features

November 4, 2015. From sunny southern Italy arrived Troglobytes Games, an eclectic ensemble of Game industry veterans and young talent that debuted on the Higher Eclectic Community with their first joint gaming venture. Marketed as 2.5D, action packed love letter to the Metroidvania genre, said venture — Tenebrae: Twilight Of The Gods — promised to hurl players into the procedurally-generated underworld of Tenebrae, tasking them to rid it of its demonic legions as one of two playable characters amid backtracking, replayability & non-linearity. Fascinating and grand as that may have sounded, the only visual material that supplemented that vision at the time comprised of but humble GIF’s and character concept art.

Ten days later, a teaser arrived — showcasing one of two of the game’s protagonists prancing around procedurally generated dungeons in 2.5D, looting crates & clinging to walls against the epic thump of Denny Schneidemesser’s music. Significantly positive as response towards it was, said teaser was in fact a prelude to the game’s Square Enix Collective Campaign; a Steam Greenlight-ish program wherein select independent games are showcased amidst Enix’s gaming audience for a little below than a month. As the audience then votes ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on whether they’d like to see each of those make it to their screens, developers tend to feedback, queries and attempt to market their creations in the most creative of ways.

 

 

At the end of this 28 day Feedback phase, Square Enix moves to support up to 10 different, community approved game projects through a phase of crowdfunding — before offering its distribution services to developers at the end of a successful Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign. As one would expect then, response to Tenebrae was predominantly positive — with up to 89% of the campaign’s visitor up voting the game. Throughout the course of their Feedback phase, Troglobytes were seen sharing a multitude of snippets from their Metroidvania epic’s development & lore, attempting to muster support towards their campaign from both within the Higher Eclectic community and in indie game circles outside it.

With the end of the campaign by December 14th however, the activity & noise that Troglobytes brought along with it subsided just as quickly as it had arrived. The obvious train of thought led one to assume that this was simply the team lying in wait for the Collective’s results; Troglobytes were notified that Square Enix would reach out with a decision within a fortnight, but that strangely is yet to transpire.

Interpersonal communication with the team’s Lead programmer & Tech. Artist Luciano Iurino at the time, indicated that the team were already moving on– hinting at the possible issuance of an Xbox One release announcement over Christmas, ongoing development of the same and an invitation to the 2016 Game Developers Conference that they couldn’t accept due totime constraints.

On the 29th of January this year, said Xbox One release announcement arrived — with the team revealing to the public that despite the uncertainty of the Collective campaign, Tenebrae: Twilight of the Gods would indeed be making its debut on the Xbox One later this year. A few days later, the team were back making all the right noises on the Community– showing off an all new campaign area while teasing ‘radical’ changes to the game that would bring about game play aspects uncommon to the Metroidvania genre.

 

 

 

With the confirmation of Tenebrae: Twilight Of The Gods’ Xbox One release now in the bag, developers Troglobytes Games…

Posted by Higher Eclectic Ground on Thursday, February 11, 2016


 

In full anticipation of the excitement, mystery & intrigue the Italian developers were to generate over this ensuing year, our staff had put together a forthright, revealing interview of the team post the end of their Square Enix Collective campaign. While the interview in question was meant to released over the holidays however, Troglobytes were keen on taking their time with it; not only were they yet to receive clearance from Microsoft to discuss Tenebrae’s Xbox One release as much as they wanted, but were particularly interested in debuting the game’s ‘radical’ new feature via the interview, when the time was right.

That time finally arrived on the 25th of February earlier this week, with Lead Programmer & Tech. Artist Luciano Iurino finally picking up his pen and disclosing everything Tenebrae.

 

 

  1. 28 days on the Collective Campaign, the majority of which has been overwhelmingly positive. How does the aftermath feel – has it been much of a learning process for the game itself?

It’s been a great experience. We never made a crowdfunding campaign before, so the SE Collective was a perfect testing ground for us all. We had the chance to get some direct feedback from potential players and, needless to say, we are more than happy that the vast majority of them showed interest and appreciated our work so far.

  1. There’s no doubt that all othat positivity comes from the incredible amount of polish the game seems to ooze through its visual material. Which leads us to ask – as this wasn’t really mentioned anywhere – where does the game currently lie in terms of its development status? How far along are you and how far have you left to go?

We are in a crucial phase for the project. We decided to change and rewrite some big portions of the game for different reasons. Mostly, we were not completely satisfied about the Movement Component [a big chunk of code that handles all the playable character’s movements, actions, etc.]. Possibly it’s the most important aspect of the game, since it handles all the player’s inputs; it can make for great controls or totally break how the game “feels” for the player.

We also took another important decision. While testing the demo levels, we felt that we were going in the wrong direction about the game environments. As you may know, we are using our in-house Daedalus technology to create the game levels for Tenebrae. Initially this sounded like a great idea because we would have a big portion of the game already done (e.g., the procedural levels generation).

XboxOne

While we were porting Daedalus from Unity3D to Unreal Engine 4 and playtesting the generated levels, we felt that kind of generation was not suited for the game we wanted to create. Daedalus is strongly tile-based and is better suited for tile-based games, while we wanted to create visually stunning levels without that tile-based feeling in them.

We Skype’d our friend and co-author of Daedalus, Michele Pirovano, and hired him to write another dungeon generator from scratch. By the end of the month we had the first prototype of the new generator, and I can say it’s working pretty good! We now have dungeons and game levels which resemble classic Metroidvania games’ maps, and that’s really cool. We still have a long road to go but we really love our job, so we are not scared ar all!

  1. And so, to get to where you envision the game to be via crowdfunding – the team opted to have a pitch voted upon by the Square Enix Collective community in the hope of making it to the crowdfunding stage that may or may not come next. Why choose this particular route?

     

    Why not opt for a direct crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and then jump to say, Steam? Sure, there is the benefit of a lot of exposure if and when the game gets approved but if not, many have often feared that a disapproved game might impact them negatively — was all this factored in?

Exposure is the main reason why we went down the Collective road. We think it’s a great way to get a grasp of crowdfunding campaigns, to test ourselves and our work so far. We don’t know yet how it will turn out, but with the Collective campaign done, we surely have a better understanding of what people think of our game idea and we will use this to better shape Tenebrae and its features.

  1. 11% of voters seemed to have down-voted the game. Has there been any personal communication with said voters and if so, where in their opinion has the game fallen short?

Unfortunately (and surprisingly) NOT! The down-voters didn’t give us any feedback nor reasons why they voted that way, and that’s bad, you know: positive feedback helps for the team morale, but negative (yet constructive) critiques help you keep your feet on the ground and wonder how you can improve your game, artwork, music or whatever your creative work is.

The only true negative comment we got did not come from the Collective campaign page but from a social network user, who expressed his “sincere” doubt that a metroidvania would cope with randomly-generated content.

Our answer was (and still is): just wait and see! Moreover, we are certainly not the first ones doing such a thing; there are a lot of metroidvanias with procedural levels and content out there, and we think they work just fine. In fact, we’re drawing inspiration from some of those titles. Some other guys wrote that animations looked kinda off in the teaser. We totally agree. There’s a lot of room for improvement in that field, and we’re working hard on that, too!

  1. Tracking back to the game’s inception – where did it all begin? With a game so elaborately crafted in its early stages, there’s bound to be an even more detailed history.

The main idea behind Tenebrae came out after we bought a couple of used PS Vita’s around Christmas 2014. We played Rogue Legacy among other games — we really enjoyed it, especially its procedural nature, and since Unity had started its Premium support we decided to give it a shot.

Back in January 2014 we had released Daedalus, our random dungeon generator for the Unity Asset Store; sales were going quite well, so we ended up with a decent amount of cash and a very powerful tool to generate procedural content for games. Why not use it for a project of our own. So we can say that at its birth, Tenebrae was a Rogue Like-ish game, except it featured 3D characters and environments. It was being made with Unity 3D because at that time Daedalus was a Unity 3D-only plugin.

NewDungeon02

We started to apply some major changes to the design of Tenebrae, making it quite different from the original idea; we also decided to make the switch from Unity 3D to Unreal Engine 4. We’ve been using Unity 3D for years, both for our projects and every day contract work, but we also had a growing interest for UE4 tech since the day it was launched.

Most of all, we liked the rendering technology behind Epic’s engine and we immediately thought it would be our best bet for what we envisioned as the game’s look and mood. At that stage we already had a prototype for the player character ready along with some environment tiles and props; the main problem was they had been designed for a handheld console game (which means lower poly counts, smaller textures, etc.).

Moving to a render-centric engine like UE4 forced us to redesign everything we had and eventually resulted in better graphics for both characters and environments. Finally, Tenebrae took a more defined shape, drifting away from its original concept and finally becoming a more complex Metroidvania game with procedurally generated content.

  1. There’s no denying that Tenebrae could have made for an interesting third person RPG as well. Why 2.5D side-scrolling action and why the Metroidvania genre?

Well, you know, for a small team like ours making a fully-fledged 3rd Person game is a big deal; you have to create high-quality content that must keep its consistency and quality even in close-ups, and it takes time and money! Using a side camera which is quite distant from the action you can take license with some key aspects of the game, mostly with graphics and animations, but you can keep quality high and things interesting at the same time.

Moreover, we are huge fans of 80’s/90’s platformers and metroidvanias, so we wanted to pay homage to that era’s games with our flagship title.

  1. Moreover, there’s the title itself. Latin for ‘Darkness’, coupling ‘Tenebrae’ with ‘Twilight Of The Gods’ is a creatively unique name no doubt. But is there a particular relation with the course of the game’s narrative and setting itself or was it just something created on a whim? Whose idea was it?

We are from Italy, so we breath Latin. We wanted to have something from our origins in the game’s title, although its setting and background is mostly taken from Norse mythology (another topic we greatly appreciate).

The name choice was not an easy one. We sat down one day after hours of terrible titles and it just came out; we immediately felt it was the right word describing the overall mood of the game. I remember it was Niko (Nicola Loglisci, one of our programmers) who put the name on the table (literally: each one of us wrote down a title on a small piece of paper and then we let Fate decide).

GhoulConcept

The gameplay is heavily based on the concept of Natures: the player will use Natures to improve weapons, armors, etc. We did not want to use the abused four elements for the Natures (e.g., Fire, Water, Ice, Earth, etc.), so we came up with something different: Poison, Blood, Lightning. We needed a fourth Nature, so we decided to call it Tenebrae, like the game title itself.

So, to answer your question: yes, there is a strong relation between the title, the game’s narrative/setting and the gameplay itself.

  1. While we are on the subject of narratives — you’ve often steered clear of revealing much about the plot, what players’ journey will entail and what sort of story-telling they’d encounter. In today’s narrative rich gaming era, is there a particular reason for the team’s aversion to talking about a synopsis even — deciding instead to share the prologue’s script?

That’s true, we did not want to spoil anything of the plot because it’s a vital aspect of our game.

We decided to share the prologue’s script with the players to let them have an insight of our creative process and a little taste of what’s to come. We thought the best way to accomplish this was having them read part of the script itself instead of describing it with our words. Soon we will release the intro movie to the public, so people will see how we translated those words into imagery.

  1. Moreover, the fact that you’d left it to the Square Enix community to name one of the game’s primary characters, the Barbarian has us wondering; How intertwined are the Barbarian and the Rogue in the game’s narrative? Do they have backstories — has the script written with them as the primary focal point?

As I already said, often we like letting Fate decide (we do this for the names all the time), so we thought we’d let players pick a name from a list. We are still not convinced, though!

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The Barbarian and the Rogue share a very strange and unique relationship: they are not friends nor lovers. All we can say is already in the prologue’s script: they belong to the same clan, which sent a bunch of their best men to raid and loot in a distant land beyond the sea. Things get bad, and we start the game with the two as the sole survivors.

  1. Would you say that the narrative would be the game’s strong point and would it be worth the experience? What would be its charm — will there be twists, shockers, WTF moments or really, how would it all play out?

I’d say, all of them. There will be twists, shockers and WTF moments, that’s why we are keeping our mouth shut about the narrative part of the game! I can’t really say if narrative will be the game’s strongest point, but we’re surely working hard on it as well to give players an unforgettable experience.

  1. Will this narrative in any way be affected or dependent on the game’s procedural nature?

The narrative won’t be affected nor be dependent on the procedural generation system; we certainly could do that, there are some games out there which do this very thing (and they do it well), but we thought that our story needed to be told in a precise and linear way, while the game could still benefit from procedural generation.

  1. Speaking of which, quite a few have also expressed nervousness with regards to the game feeling too ‘automated’ with use of procedurally generated content. How is the concept of procedural generation being approached to give it that natural, hand-crafted feel? Also, how much of the game really is randomly generated?

As I said earlier, we wrote a new, custom dungeon generator which was made ad hoc for Tenebrae; this choice was made mostly to give players a less “automated” feeling when wandering the game levels. We think we did a pretty good job: now the dungeons feel more like continuous and consistent levels and you will hardly notice or spot any automated stuff.

Also, some days ago we announced a big change in Tenebrae’s gameplay: taking a twist from the genre’s standards, we now have the playable character moving in depth, not only in 2.5D, but full 3D! This was a natural consequence of the new dungeon generator; we saw what it could achieve and immediately we felt it was the right thing to do.

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I know it’s quite a big change (after all, the game was announced as a “2.5D Metroidvania”), but we’re sure gamers will appreciate this aspect of the game. This means a lot more work for us (for example, we need to change a lot of stuff in the combat system, the AI management, etc.), but we really feel it was somehow necessary after we made a ride into the new dungeons with the character freely moving in all directions.

Coming back to your question: except for the outdoor levels (“Safe Zones”) and the boss areas, ALL of the game levels are procedurally generated!

  1. What would you say are the art and musical style’s primary inspirations? How are the team’s art and music creators approaching each aspect of the game’s design?

The art style is derived from classic European fantasy culture, but there are also other influences (games, books, comics, etc.). The music is composed by Denny Schneidemesser and it kind of resembles epic soundtracks like the one from “Conan the Barbarian” movies (which by the way is one of our favourites!). The first time we listened to the work of Denny we immediately thought “OK, that’s him! We found our composer”.

About the creative process, it’s pretty simple: we play a lot of games (both old and modern ones), watch a lot of movies, read different comic books, and try to gain inspiration from all of them. We then communicate our ideas to our writer and concept artist and follow from there.

  1. With all of this forming it behind the scenes, it would be great to have Tenebrae as a PS Plus or Xbox Marketplace digital download that we could jump into on a lazy Sunday afternoon but that’s just us. What is the team’s general vision with regards to a console release?

As you may already know by now, we announced the Xbox One version last month thanks to Microsoft’s indie-friendly ID@Xbox program. We are already working to port what we have on Xbox One and started doing some tests. We’ll try and port Tenebrae for other consoles too, but it’s too early to talk about that. We’ll see in the future!

  1. We do dearly hope Tenebrae continues towards where it’s heading, team. Tell us, regardless of the outcome of the Square Enix Collective campaign — what do you have on the books for next year? What can fans expect both on the community and outside it?

As of now we have not heard back from Square Enix, but we’ll keep working hard and see what future brings. We do really believe in our project and we think gamers will enjoy it once it’s out. People can expect some new material soon (screenshots, videos, GIFs) showing the new game levels and gameplay features, and who knows, maybe a playable demo!

 

Learn all you must about Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods, its progress & keep track of its future via the game’s Higher Eclectic Space on the Community here. Also feel free to leave the team your feedback therein or in the comments below.

 

Tenebrae: Twilight Of The Gods’ Xbox One Release Confirmed

News

After a little over a year since founding, several months of development ridden with concept art, teasers & trailers, a full-blown Square Enix Collective campaign and now, a month’s tenure under the radar — members Troglobytes Games’ first outing as a team, a 2.5D procedurally generated Action/Adventure RPG by the name of Tenebrae: Twilight of The Gods is now set to arrive on the Xbox One console beside its scheduled PC release.

Despite having alluded to a release on Microsoft’s popular console ever since the game’s inception both on and off record, the team have understandably steered clear from discussing the subject for months now until a solid confirmation from the technology corporation was received. The console port of course, is being made possible by the ID@Xbox program that lets independent game developers self-publish titles on the platform by providing them with access to its development kits.

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‘ The vision shared by all of us here at Troglobytes Games is to reinvent and redefine the Metroidvania genre, giving players our take on it with all the makings of a modern game-play experience’, stated Community member and Troglobytes’ Lead Programmer and Tech. Artist Luciano Iurino in a press release issued last night. ‘We’ve been waiting for a chance  to develop on major consoles for a long time and now thanks to the ID@Xbox program — we can now reach that goal’.

The news comes exactly six weeks post the game’s 28 days Square Enix Collective campaign — an initiative by the publisher that lets indie game developers pitch their game amidst an audience for the aforementioned period of time, before deciding if the game is worth supporting through a crowd funding stage based on observed user feedback and internal assessment. The campaign had ended on a high; with Tenebrae being upvoted by 89% of Collective’s audience base that had viewed the game’s pitch.

However despite that, the Troglobytes team have received little to no word on their game’s status within the Square Enix circle yet; it is worth noting that only 10-12 games a year make it to the next round of the Collective campaign as per its website. ‘Honestly, we don’t really know what is going on — things have been rather silent on that front’, confided Iurino when asked about the campaign’s status. ‘Regardless of support and/or funding, we’ll continue to develop Tenebrae — we wouldn’t have started it all otherwise. Sure, any help or support received along the way is always great but should it happen that we have to develop Tenebrae without it? We still will.’

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With the Xbox One system now added to that definite release, could one expect to see added/enhanced game-play elements exclusive to the console? ‘Tenebrae isn’t really a game that would gain something different based on the console itself since it does not use any particular feature specific of a platform — like for instance, Kinect’, Iurino explains in response. ‘As of now, it’s just a matter of spreading the game on every possible platform.

Followers of the game here on the Community might also recall  that Tenebrae puts players in the shoes of two main characters on an epic journey set in dark and mysterious dungeons — letting them play the game from two refreshingly different points of view, each with different combat-styles and abilities that lead to their own thought-provoking endings. Given that, Iurino quickly cleared away all expectations of a potential online multiplayer or local co-op mode, reinstating that Tenebrae is heavily story based — ‘Players will have to play both of the characters by themselves, separately; playing both will give them a different point of view on the story. As for multiplayer? We do have plans for other games in our future :)’

With that aside, the team are now gearing up to get back into action on social media — with a barrage of updates featuring improved environments and more that have taken shape in the weeks since the Collective. That is, not forgetting our exclusive interview with the team set to arrive soon, responses to which were held back on until the Xbox One announcement. What’s more, Iurino also hints at the possibility of involving other Community members — Writers & YouTubers — in the game’s development as it gears up for a release later this year. To stay tuned to all that transpires then and even catch an informative glimpse at various aspects of Tenebrae’s structure as shared by the team during their Collective days, be sure to stop by their Higher Eclectic Space.

 

 

Also feel free to leave them a word of encouragement in the comments below.