It is a great time to be a science fiction fan in the world of gaming. Huge titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Anthem look to redefine the AAA landscape, as trailers and gameplay footage took E3 2018 by storm just recently. Below the surface, there are a lot of promising indie titles on the way as well. Crying Suns hopes to stand out among those indies on the backs of a rich story, unique gameplay, and beautifully detailed pixel art.
We had the chance to speak with Crying Suns’ Frederic Lopez regarding some of the aspects of the upcoming rogue-lite title below.
You’ve stated that Foundation and Dune were a big influence for Crying Suns. Are there any Easter Eggs or clear references in the game?
From Foundation, we liked the idea of a galactic empire that have a contingency plan built in to possibly save it. It provides a rich atmosphere and gives the main character purpose: try to save humankind.
From Dune, we included our Spice: the OMNIs, which were a limited and extremely-valued resource before shutting down mysteriously. So, as is the case in Dune with the Spice, there is a constant desire from the major players in our world to acquire more OMNIs, no matter the means. And there is a constant effort being made by The Emperor of our story, Oberon, to control how many OMNIs the major players can have and also, because they are extremely powerful, how they can be used.
There are also many smaller ideas in our game inspired by these two great works, (as well as by dozens of other books, movies, comics for that matter.) For example, in our introduction cutscene, in which a clone of Admiral Idaho is awoken by Kaliban on the outskirts of the Galactic Empire, we were thinking a lot about the Axlotl tanks from Dune. We also made references to Dune for the name of our Hero (Admiral Idaho), and for some planets or places the player will discover during their journey.
How does the rogue-lite aspect affect the game’s dramatic storyline?
Constructing the narrative in a rogue-lite game structure was a real challenge. We had to take up challenges like writing a story that makes sense even if the player is constantly dying and starting over again, or choosing if the NPC’s react if they have already seen or killed you. These constraints became the story’s strengths, a way to drive the story.
So we decided that the player would die often, but he would essentially live on through other clones which would be sent out into our universe over and over trying to save humankind. We also decided that the NPC’s would remember having encountered or killed the player, unlike other rogue-lite games.
These decisions make the global experience more realistic and help create a complex but smooth gamer experience.
Would you recommend Crying Suns for gamers that aren’t as experienced with the rogue-lite and tactical genre?
Crying Suns is at the crossroads of several video games genres and could tempt different types of gamers.
First of all, we hope that the deep and dramatic storyline will provide a memorable experience to the player, and that Sci-Fi fans will find the motivation to progress more and more in the game, to be delighted to discover the entire story.
To be completely honest, a FTL (Faster Than Light is one of our major inspiration) specialist will quickly identify the core mechanics and HUD, but will also be surprised to discover the original gameplay we have imagined and implemented in-game.
Those new mechanics don’t require the gamer to have previous knowledge of the rogue-lite genre. From our point of view, if the player likes difficulty, challenging games, galactical fights, Sci-Fi stories… they will certainly like Crying Suns.
Is there any reason, in particular, you chose pixel art style graphics alongside 3D and HD special effects for Crying Suns?
Only our Battleships are designed with 3D. They are designed first in 2D (one side view and several layers in top view) and then extruded to create a 3D model on which we apply a pixel art texture. This technique allowed us to keep a pixelated aspect consistent with the characters and decors (which are pure 2D and designed in pixel art) while it gave us all the advantages of the 3D (dynamic lightings, real volumes, perspective, etc.).
As we wanted the player to feel that they weren’t just leading a few people on a small ship but a huge battleship with hundreds of crew members, we had to design enormous battleships. We could have used voxels to build them, but Voxels tools were too limited for us to design and manipulate enormous battleships as we wanted. That’s why we made this choice.
What is your favorite enemy in the game?
The most interesting enemy, from a narrative point of view, is the chapter 5 Boss. He shares a lot of history with the original Idaho and their encounter has a huge impact on Idaho’s arc. But… we can’t say any more about him, because we don’t want to spoil you the story. You’ll have to discover him by yourself, when the game is released!
For more information on Crying Suns, be sure to check back to the site soon, as more details are likely to surface in the coming months!
Don’t forget to show the game’s site some love as well, as the homepage offers some insight into its backstory and ongoing development.