The talented folks at German-based studio Deck13 (who notably co-developed Lords of The Fallen with CI Games) are currently hard at work on The Surge, another game that pays homage to the hardcore hack and slash genre. The Surge seeks to bring us the same brutal difficulty of this genre but wraps it in an intriguing sci-fi setting. The near-apocalyptic future setting as well as a gloriously violent limb-chopping mechanic should set the game apart from its contemporaries and hopefully the title will build on Lords of the Fallen’s strong points (such as its superb visual design) while acknowledging some of its weaker aspects. To find out more we approached Deck13’s Creative Director Jan Klose, who was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions regarding this promising new IP. Here’s what he had to say:
Kieran Stockton: Deck13 co-developed Lords of the Fallen. Will The Surge feature the same gameplay DNA as LotF? What lessons were taken from the development of that title?
Jan Klose: There were a lot of things we liked about the development of Lords of the Fallen and about how the game looked and felt when finished. After all, this was our biggest in-house production so far, with a complete game engine written from scratch for this title. We will defintely build up on this. We’ve learnt a lot, coming from a smaller, story-based RPG (Venetica) to the more combat-heavy Lords. The Surge will make combat even more tactical and challenging while increasing the overall pace at the same time!
KS: It’s no secret that you guys draw inspiration from the Souls series but that you want to put your own stamp on the hardcore hack and slash genre. What sets The Surge apart?
JK: Starting our Action RPG journey in 2009 with Venetica, Lords was another step for us, and The Surge will be even more intense. It features a unique setting and mechanics will go even deeper than before, as you can now target individual body parts in real time, and even chop them off! This is part of the whole RPG system which feels pretty unique and is again strongly inspired by our new setting.
KS: Will the Surge feature a sci-fi equivalent of a magic system? Will the combat be mostly melee-focused or will there be significant ranged combat options?
JK: There are ranged weapons but our story and setting works in favour of thrilling close combat which is still the heart and soul of the game. There is no direct equivalent to a magic system but in the world of The Surge, people are using technological enhancements to acquire new skills, they are called implants and they resemble skills in other RPGs, only that you don’t just acquire a new skill by some gamey rule but you really have to fit your character with it. That feels very nice and, in a way, authentic.
KS: Can you tell us more about the main character we will play as? What’s his story? Why is he so intent on gruesomely dismembering people with a weaponised exosuit?
JK: Our hero isn’t really a hero, he’s not the Chosen One, he’s no skilled ex-marine. He’s no average guy either, he has had a hard life and hopes to obtain another chance by accepting a job at Creo, the world’s leading company that tries to cure the world’s many problems. However, the hero is suddenly confronted with chaos and death in the place where he hoped to find self-fulfilment. At the beginning, the player really doesn’t have any clue about what’s going on, he’ll just try to stay alive by whatever means and will slowly unravel a big big mystery which I’m not allowed to spoil just yet.
KS: The brief gameplay video we saw features enemies in exosuits that sort of shamble and make monstrous noises as they try and kill you. Are they human? What is their affliction?
It’s part of the mystery. The enemies you saw there all belong to the corporation, and many of them have been workers before. Others were robots with different tasks on the compound. Something terrible has happened to them and has transformed many. They all have their place in the mysterious story, and the player will be able to uncover their gruesome fates bit by bit, using his growing knowledge as an advantage in combat.
KS: The gritty near-apocalyptic setting looks intriguing. The idea of a technologically advanced society that is in serious decline and at war with the AI it has created certainly has my interest piqued. Asides from the dark hallways of the facility we saw in the gameplay video, are we likely to see some natural environments with flora and fauna? Has any of the natural world survived?
JK: Again, no spoilers allowed yet, but yes, we’ll also see the outside and more natural environments. It’s a really interesting mix that you will encounter by opening up the game world level by level.
KS: In regard to the tensions between humans and AI, will the game explore high concept themes of what it means to be human? Are all the AI unfriendly?
JK: Not every one is your enemy in The Surge. You’re going to meet a lot of different characters that you can talk and deal with, and not all of them are human. We’re touching a lot of interesting topics story-wise, and many of them are even relevant in today’s world. That’s the cool thing when working with a near future scenario that is based on reality.
KS: Are there plans to bring multiplayer aspects into the game (such as PvP or co-op) or will it be strictly single-player?
JK: We do love them very much but they’re not planned yet, at least not for the release.
Despite my patient prodding Jan appears to be keeping his cards relatively close to his chest, but this is definitely a title you’ll want to have on your radar. Expect to hear more from DYEGB regarding The Surge as further details about the game come to light. Check out some pre-alpha footage below and stay tuned.