GED Severance: Blade of Darkness Interview

I got a chance to ask Rebel Act PR guru, Juan Diaz-Bustamante Berasategui (say that name 5 times fast) a few questions about Rebel Act’s upcomming hack’n’slash game, Severance: Blade of Darkness (you might also know it as just plain ol’ Blade).

1)I guess the question on everyone’s mind would be what stage of the development of Blade are you in, are you still working on the engine, revamping and adding content, or bug hunting a release candidate?

We’ll be on beta the 8th of September. We are aiming a November release.

2)The lighting effects in Blade are pretty amazing. It seems to me that you guys put some extra effort into making the world of Blade, light up, so to speak. Proper lighting and shadows are something most companies never make a primary focus, even though it adds so much depth to the game. Why did your team decide to stray from a well beaten path?

We wanted the most realistic enviroment ever seen, and a proper lighting and showing effect is very important in this sense. Imagine an enemy coming from your back, you don’t see him, but you can see his shadow on the wall you have in front of you!

3)After watching the last movie that was released the first thing that popped into my head was Die by the Sword, a game that was released by Treyarch and Interplay in March 1998. Did that game have any influence on the way you are designing blade?

Not really. Combat in Blade of Darkness is much more complex, actually based in the console style fighting games, with many different strikes per character and even per weapon, with hundreds of combos. An, at the same time, the adventure, puzzle and RPG content is much more deeper than in Die by the Sword.

4)Staying on that subject, will the multiplayer aspect of blade follow the pit fighting style of Die by the Sword, where players are just tossed into a ring and are free to use anything in the area to destroy their opponent?

They will be arena style levels, one to one combat, with many things happening around in the enviroment.

5)Here’s a game play question for you, while fighting if my sword arm gets hacked off, will I be able to pick it up (while it’s still gripping the sword) with my good arm and swing it around for a longer reach!?

When you are mutilated, you are dead. The same happens to all enemies, except someones, like the zombies.

6)How detailed will the gore be? Will I be able to chop a characters left pinky finger off? Or his right ear perhaps?

No, just legs, arms, half body, heads…… And you can take those parts and use them as a weapon against other enemy!!

7)Can you loan my buddy Dusty 20 bucks so he can buy your game when it comes out? He’s kinda poor right now. (dusty made me ask that question… he held a gun to my head, I swear it!)

I like your buddy!. I’ll send you two free copies, one for him and one for you.

8)Are you planning on releasing a public demo/test of the game? If so can you give me some details of what it will include?

We’ll release a demo of the game. One level, one playable character, probably no multiplayer.

9)Tell us a little bit about Rebel Act Studios. When did the company form, what separates your team from the rest of the game companies in the world?

It was formed in 1996. We are one of the main spanish developers, with Pyro Studios, Commandos developers. We are now 20 people working on Blade. We are already thinking on Blade II (which won’t be just for PC) and we have created a new high talented team that has started the development of an on-line game. We are working as well on our new technology for the future.

10)Whats the toughest obstacle your team has had to overcome so far during the production of Severance?

Blade is the most complex PC game around. Think that that can take almost everything you see around, throught it away, use it as a weapon, break it, etc… The levels are very complex as well, an the physics system is soo good that every thing reacts with the enviroment as it do in real life.

11)Can you give us some juicy details about the game engine and what all it can do?

Complex enviroments in 3D using portal rendering technology, Coloured lights in a single pass, Dynamic volumetric lighting, Unique real time shadows, Reflecting and transparent surfaces, Distorsion maps that allow the creation of waves and reflection in water, for example, but may be applied to any object or surface, Fog effect, Hierarchical models and deformable meshes, Animation system based in hierarchical models, Mipmapping, supports D3D, Open GL and 3Dfx, Real time object collision detection, Path planning for any kind of character, etc……….

12)And since I ask this of all game developers, are there any plans to port Blade to linux?

We’d like, but we haven’t planned it.

13)How did the deal with Codemasters come about?

They aproached us, we were invited to visit them, and we were really impressed by their professionalism. Everything seems to go very easygoing and in a very professional manner. They release very few games but very succesful ones. We knew that they were going to focus on Severance as much as the games deserves.

14)It seems kind of late in the game to change the name of a game that so many are looking forward too. So what prompted the sudden name change?

It was Codemasters idea. We don’t want any confusion with the film.

15)In your last press release you stated that you where shooting for a November release date, is everything still on schedule?