A few weeks ago I announced that Whalebox Studios had officially started their Kickstarter campaign for Goliath, their upcoming massively open world survival game that thrusts you into a world ruled by long forgotten monsters. Your only chance at surviving and discovering the truth behind the reappearance of these horrific giants, is to craft your mechanical Goliath’s and fight back!
Today I’m thrilled to share with you my exclusive interview with Artem Bochkarev, the producer on Goliath. This interview has been several weeks in the making and I hope you’ll get a new level of insight into this exciting upcoming game.
Here’s a quick refresher in case you aren’t yet familiar with Goliath.
We’ve been playing video games as long as we can remember ourselves. Making games was always our dream. We had so many ideas on where to start, what game to make first – so many choices! We’ve been wanting to make a game with adventures, exploration and battles in mysterious worlds for a while, already. Then, when Don’t Starve came out, we spent huge amount of time in it – everything was just right in it. And that was the last inspirational “push” at the time. Being hugely inspired, we wanted our game to be different, though. Don’t Starve was all about player being vulnerable to almost everything in the world around. In our game we wanted not only explore the worlds, but also actively engage in battles, become stronger and stronger, have real quests. And it came naturally for us that in our game we will be able to construct giant funny looking robots from scrap materials. That seemed like the most logical idea – we can craft in the game and we do want to protect ourselves – so why don’t we craft huge robots!
Are you fans of the oversized monster genre of movies? What’s your favorite and why?
Speaking about recent titles, we are big fans of the Pacific Rim. Not only because it’s full of cool giants and robots, it itself is really very cool. But the fighting scenes are marvelous, for sure. Besides that, we like bromance between the main heroes and how their relationships are shown – very connected and bonded in a healthy way, which is very important for effectively defeating huge monsters. And, of course, all Godzilla movies are brilliant! And let’s not forget Evangelion.
I understand that games like Don’t Starve, Mechwarrior, and Borderlands were all sources of inspiration for the gameplay you wanted to create, in what ways have they influenced the overall gameplay? How will Goliath manage to separate itself from those titles?
To say it simple, it’s like “Don’t Starve” without starving, but including elements of “Borderlands”. “Goliath” reminds of “Don’t Starve”, right. It was hugely inspired by it in the first place. Our world is also full of hidden mechanics and surprises, and players may benefit from all those things; monsters can amaze with their behavior, and the game itself may knock your socks off! As for “Borderlands”, we also created many quests and heroes, the story develops and it’s full of battles and fights. Plus, we were and still are really fascinated with its western wasteland atmosphere. And “Mechwarrior”, of course! We have robots, too! Although our ones are much more cheerful and friendly. Add procedurally generated quests to all mentioned above and you’ll get a unique atmosphere of a very unpredictable, but frenzy adventure with freedom of actions and capabilities that Goliath provide you with. We really like how the game looks like, and we hope our players will appreciate it, too.
When you set out to make a nonlinear, open world environment, how did you decide to approach the world within the game? Why did you decide to go the route of procedural generation as opposed to a static map?
At the very beginning we decided that our world would be opened and non-linear as we adore exploring in games.
The thing we wanted the most about our game is that it could surprise players. We like that each time you start “Don’t Starve” or “FTL”, new quests and new challenges are waiting for you. You can’t just open the walkthrough and complete all quests, you have to think and decide what to say and what to do. Of course, procedural generation is not 100% random. We develop many variants and options, and then our construction kit creates a unique adventure for every player.
How important was it for you to have an ecosystem that lives and breaths like the real world? How does this play a role in the storytelling and gameplay of Goliath?
The key issue is that monsters in the game are not just enemies you must kill once you see them. They’re living beings, who are busy with something; they’re heroes. While working on procedural generation to be able to create interesting situations, we added new rules in monsters’ behavior and actions. As a result, you can see how the monsters fight, hunt, or just live in this world. Any changes of weather, like rains, storms and so on, affect inhabitants.
It’s clear that crafting plays a significant role in the game, how extensive are the aspects of scavenging/ mining and crafting within Goliath? Aside from the Goliath’s, how much of your survival depends on these abilities and what can be crafted?
When you’re inside a Goliath, you’re much stronger! It means that it takes less efforts to cut trees or mine ore. You can also get access to objects that are locked for heroes. For example, a Goliath can open armored wagons or locked hatches with a motion of the hand. On the other hand, heroes can gently defuse explosives or quietly open a lock. Anyone can help to complete a task.
Speaking of crafting, we haven’t created hundreds of items, because it’s an adventure game first of all and this part is more important. Anyway, you can definitely craft something that will make your life easier in harsh lands in winter or provide you with more skills. We’ll tell you more details very soon.
When building Goliath’s, shelters, and fortresses, are you able to design the construction of these builds or are they procedurally generated and you’re able to customize/ fine tune the end product? How extensively are you able to design and/ or customize your builds?
You can’t choose how your buildings look like, but you’re free to decide which ones to construct on your base, depending on your goals. It’s fairly static element as we decided not to introduce many additional interior items in the crafting in order to keep it simple. However, your shelter and your house change not only due to your efforts. New friends and comrades who join you also settle on your base and construct their own buildings. A rescued biker constructs a cozy garage, an old pirate prefers structures of wrecks. The more friends you have, the more diverse your home base is.
While in game we’ll be able to utilize a total of 3 Goliath’s at any one time, however is there a limit to the total number of Goliath’s you can have built at any time? How many Goliath’s can you have stored in your home base and are you able to switch between them as needed?
You can construct special slots for your Goliaths at the home base. Therefore, you can construct as many robots as your base is capable to accommodate. Grab a Goliath you crafted any time you want to use it in a fight. At the same time, you can place one of them as a decoration piece at the base. Why not?
Clearly Goliath’s are going to be necessary when going toe to toe with the oversized monsters, however will your character be equipped with a means of defending themselves from a predatory animal without relying on a Goliath? How diverse are the creatures, monsters and animals alike, within the game?
All heroes have one feature in common – a useful mechanical hand! Upgrades of this hand include attack and defensive options. It means even if a hero is outside a Goliath and finds him- or herself in the middle of a crowd of evil monsters, he or she has a chance to survive or even cause damage to a couple of pesky creatures. Nevertheless, they can’t take part in serious battles.
The bestiary of monsters and beasts includes about 30 beings; many of them have subtypes, mini-bosses, and even kids. Be sure, you always have something to chase, to run away from, or hit with a giant wooden fist.
In the Kickstarter campaign there’s a mention of variants that grant special characteristics or abilities, like sniper or explosive attributes, do they only grant enhanced abilities or do they provide other advantages as well? If you could choose just one of the variants to receive in the game, what would it be?
New types of Goliaths which you’ll learn to craft can bring to the table the following skills: various attack upgrades, different strength, attack and movement speed, various perceptions of the surrounding environment like humidity, temperature, or certain specific skills. All Goliaths are able to accumulate energy in battle. But each type spends it in a different way. For example, a special Steam Goliath spends energy on burning enemies with hot steam, an Acid Goliath leaves an acid trace behind. In the end, even one new part of the Goliath can significantly improve your combat tactics and change it.
There was also a mention of a loot system within the game, how extensive will it be?
We haven’t developed a complex system of the loot. For example, we don’t have a bazillion of cannons as in “Borderlands”. The guys have done amazing work in that sphere. Our loot includes items that fall on the ground after you defeat monsters and bosses, and items in numerous chests and objects around the world. They are craft items, boosters, or weapon. We want to encourage every successful action of players that is why thorough exploring of the world is encouraged in a special way! We want players be captivated by visiting every available world, because each of them is full of surprises, rewards, and opportunities.
Of course the purpose of the Kickstarter campaign is to get the necessary resources to make the best possible version of Goliath, what are some of the additions and/ or improvements you’re most proud of incorporating into the game? How do you think these changes will enhance the overall gameplay and gamer experience?
Our main goal of Kickstarter campaign is to get funds in order to increase the gameplay time by adding new monsters and biomes, and to develop the multiplayer mode. New monsters and biomes is a chance to get more objects to use in quests and tasks, new hidden mechanics to make the world even more interesting and unpredictable.
The realization of the multiplayer mode takes much time to adjust the game balance and work out the server part of the game. Without Kickstarter funds, we’ll be able to develop co-operative mode only. Of course, we’d love to see many PvP modes and team competitions in the game. This would be of much more fun and diversity for players.
What’s your ultimate vision for the multiplayer experience within the game, will co-op bring any unique features to the gameplay? What are some of the PvP modes that you’re looking to bring to Goliath?
Firstly, play and fight together sounds like much more fun!
Secondly, the procedurally generated quests allow you to discover more content, when you participate in your friend’s game as you can find quests and events that never happen at your world.
Thirdly, the more players take part in the adventure, the more complicated and captivating the fights gonna be, more monsters appear in the world and they’re stronger.
We’re still thinking on certain PvP modes. If Kickstarter campaign is successful, we’ll work out fights on the arena for two players and teams. There’re many other ideas, too, like giant robots playing football or a mockery of MOBA. Why not?
We’ve previously talked about the absence of stretch goals from the Kickstarter campaign, you’ve already confirmed that you will be adding them to the campaign in the very near future. I’m thrilled to share that you’ve already confirmed that a console release will be among them, what else can we look forward to seeing?
Console release is definitely the most interesting choice and our nearest goal. Actually, we have many options to work at – we’d like invite people who we can’t afford now to work at art and music. We have a ready description of the fourth fraction that we used to abandon, it also can be one of stretch goals. We think of a new type of Goliaths of unique materials! You know, the game was initially huge and we considerably reduced the gameplay to meet the time and budget conditions. Today we hope we can collect the principal amount of money so stretch goals took back seat.
What’s currently your favorite videogame? How about of all time?
I’m still crazy about Witcher 3! Everything is perfect about it! If I want a competitive game, I play Rocket League and Mortal Kombat X together with my friends.
Talking about games of all the time, classic RPG games impress me the most, like Arcanum, Fallout, Planescape Torment. Hah! My Steam account states that the most time I spent on Starbound, Terraria, and Borderlands 2. True story, these are excellent games.
What advice would you give someone interested in developing a videogame? What would you tell someone that has yet to pursue their dreams?
If you want to develop video games, start doing this now. Today there is a lot of information and tools, including free ones, to help you. Development of any game, even the simplest one, from the scratch will grant you with invaluable experience. The main thing is to adequately measure your strength and keep trying, even if something goes wrong. Then everything will be fine.
Whether you’re wanting to know more or you’re ready to show your support, head over to their Kickstarter page and let them know what you think… I know there are times when I stumble onto a Kickstarter campaign and wish I had the ability to financially contribute, unfortunately you’re not always going to have the means to do so. However there are other ways to show your support, simply helping to get the word out within the community is a great way to let them know they’ve got a fan within you. And don’t forget to talk about the Goliath using #GoliathGame on your social media accounts.
I’d like to thank Artem for setting aside the time to allow me this opportunity, I really appreciated it. However these were only my questions, I’m sure there are more questions floating around in the community that you’d like to ask… let me know what you want to know in the comments below and I’ll pass them along to get them answered for you.