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[Interview] Fuzzyeyes, Developer of Edge of Twilight

Posted under Interviews by Chris Benson on Sunday, June 28th, 2009 -

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If you haven’t heard of Edge of Twilight yet, here’s the skinny: The game came virtually out of nowhere this past E3, and quickly made a strong case for its inclusion in my must-buy games list with a single, awesome pair of trailers.

Being unable to find any interviews or information on the game released later than 2008, I contacted Fuzzyeyes myself and demanded (begged) they answer all my questions. Fortunately Wei-Yao Lu, the studio’s Managing Director and all-around swell guy, obliged.

GD: I think it’s an understatement to say that Edge of Twilight is a departure from some of your other work. What led you to make the change? Did Hot Dog King’s success allow you to take on a larger, more ambitious project?

WL: After Hot Dog King, the team changed a lot and with new blood in our ranks we all decided it would be great to take a stab at something bigger, something more ambitious. Initially we werenʼt sure what it would be, the initial direction changed a few times in the first year and pre-production was long, but I think it was well worth it in the end. The story settled on a more mature direction and the steampunk setting was chosen to support this. In a way, the story and the steampunk direction evolved together during the development and fed off each other.

GD: The recently released trailers for Edge of Twilight have frankly blown me away. Did you produce them internally?

WL: “The Fall” trailer was created by an external studio, whereas the “Someone Special” trailer was produced and directed internally with all in-game footage and scenes that you should expect to see in the final game.

GD: Speaking of the “Something Special” trailer, it in particular has me really itching to play the game. Can we expect the game to be equally cinematic? At least tell me Edge of Twilight will feature liberal amounts of slow motion!

WL: That specific trailer was created in order to demonstrate the atmosphere and direction of the game. My intention was to communicate that EoT is not just a simple action game, but a fully realized steampunk world in which players will have a number of unique gameplay experiences. All the scenes of that trailer will indeed be seen in the game and you should also expect to see the same quality in music and writing throughout. In fact that trailer is only scratching the surface of the level of cinematic quality we intend to deliver, both in terms of performances and presentation. And yes, EoT will indeed feature (some) slow motion!

GD: Though the game is a 3rd person action-adventure game, it seems to have a more story-focused design than the majority of similar titles, which frankly is a large part of what makes the game so refreshing. Just how much story are we talking here, closer to Metal Gear Solid or Gears of War?

WL: Closer to Metal Gear but also very different in ambition. Fuzzyeyes is a relatively small studio and when designing EoT we played to our strengths. The world and background stories in it are every bit as realized as any of those games; in fact we have often been criticized that we “overdid it” with the story side but in our opinion this helped us flesh out the world and thus improve the gameplay experience.

EoT wonʼt have 500 high-quality action cut-scenes, but what it will have is a well-written and smartly-presented story that may surprise some players with its depth and its demands of them. We are treating our audience with more respect that some games do. Rather than use story as an “in-between” throwaway element to the action scenes, we have instead designed the game around the idea of exploration and discovery. Due to the non-linear gameplay structure, more of the story is revealed depending on the playerʼs involvement and choices throughout the adventure. The more time and effort you put in, the more story and overall info you will get back (and more gamerpoints too if youʼre into that sort of thing).

GD: The setting of Edge of Twilight was another pleasant surprise; the trailers show it to be more realized and detailed than I was expecting. What were some of the challenges your team faced when designing the world?

WL: It was tough to come up with a completely new and fresh world and mythos and to weave that into a competent storyline and game. Thatʼs why, as I said, we tried to evolve the story in conjunction with the art direction of the game and we ended up having both of them influence and help shape each other. As the story and world solidified we began to extract gameplay experiences from that.

One of the core elements, and the toughest to design, was the main steampunk Citadel of the game. From the outset we wanted players to be able to walk around this huge city with all these cool, moving steampunk elements, populated with weird and quirky people to talk to. We wanted each and every character you meet to be unique and to have a cool, funny, sad, angry, or simply engaging story to tell. We realized that every little bit helps to present this mood and atmosphere we wanted and we capitalized on the depth of the world and its mythos.

GD: What inspired the dichotomous setting of the game, and its story for that matter?

WL: We chose to create a world that was fractured for a number of reasons. Initially it was simply so we could demonstrate the divide of the two races in the game and the halfbreed nature of Lex, the main protagonist. It was also crucial to the gameplay direction and overall structure. The concept of two worlds is not a new one and we knew that, but we felt that it was a perfect fit for our overall experience. We also felt that we could bring a few interesting twists to the concept of moving between worlds. Of particular inspiration for us were the Soul Reaver games which always incorporated the two-realm mechanic flawlessly with their level design.

The two-world aspect affects many gameplay elements and ties in with the background story of the world. Historically, one race, the Atherns, are very industrial and dependant on machines, whereas the second race, the Lithern, are much more spiritual and aligned with nature. Accordingly, in the day realm where the Atherns have been trapped, machines are fully functional and can be operated by Lex. When Lex moves into the night realm, these machines cease to function, forcing the player to adapt.

GD: How is the game coming along? Are you getting close to announcing a specific release date?

WL: The game is coming along well and we expect to be able to reveal more information in the near future. At this point in time we cannot announce a release date, but keep an eye out for more news coming soon!

GD: Anything new you can tell us about the game that hasn’t been featured in the trailers?

WL: In one scene of the trailer, Lexʼs night form can be seen “manipulating” some enemies off the ground. In the full game he will have many more awesome, gravity-defying abilities like that available to him.

Most scenes from the trailer were taken from the Citadel and earlier regions of the game but Lex will travel to many more cool locations and will even find himself underwater at some point! Youʼll have to play the game to see what I mean though…

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