Eon Break is a 2D Metoidvania game that appeared on Kickstarter having been greenlit by the Steam community in merely 6 days. Relying on traditional Metroidvania elements such as combat and puzzle-solving, as well as an emphasis on intense platforming, the game tells a fictional account of electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla, and his exploits across an alternative take on World War II.
Eager to learn more, I approached the developers Gladrock Games based in Minsk, Belarus, and asked programmer Ayrton Vorobyov a few questions about this outlandish-looking title. These were his answers:
What were the influences behind your game?
It’s hard to name all of them. Obviously, Super Metroid is one of the main inspirations for the structure of the game. We played all kinds of Metroidvanias and platformers, some of them influenced more, some – less. In the end, we want to create a game that feels familiar, but plays differently – an old-school action adventure with modern and unique mechanics.
What has the developmental process been like?
We’re a small team and everyone can talk to everyone. But still, we have some processes and fields of responsibility. For core game aspects (overall art direction, mechanics design, the plot, level editor, etc.) we have an agreement on who makes the final decision in case of disagreement. Global questions are discussed by the entire team and we’re voting. As a rule, we’re coordinating our plans on regular Skype calls. Thus we share work status, present ideas, define priorities, assign tasks and discuss deadlines.
Regarding ideas – we discuss the potential positive outcomes and measure the cost. If the outcome isn’t clear, then we create a small prototype to try it out. If the team agrees that the outcome worth the efforts, we convert the idea into tasks and implement it.
How close are we to seeing the finished product?
Right now the game is half ready. We plan early access in Steam at the end of 2017 and full release sometime next year. Though timelines strongly depend on the success of the Kickstarter campaign. If we’ll have enough funds to hire missing team members, then we’ll hit the deadline.
What has been the most exciting aspect of development?
Working with totally new game mechanics was really exciting. In the beginning, we prototyped a lot of crazy ideas, but all of them were variations of some existing features. The real fun began when we decided to do something bigger – that resulted in features like an ability to consume locations or the possibility to create and switch alternative timelines.
What has been the most challenging aspect of development?
Most parts of the game come along nicely pretty fast, but the art style was a different case. We’ve spent quite a time searching for the art style that will look awesome, fit the game style and together with that be easy to create (there’s only one artist in the team and thus we can’t afford to create very complex assets). In the very beginning, we defined a range of requirements for the art including slicing principles, that allowed us to build complex locations without creating a huge amount of assets. Then Alex (our artist) spent several months creating sketches that fitted all the requirements – that was the hardest part. Every sketch felt like not quite what we expected. Until one day he did what we called PolyVector – a 2D location sketch in a vector style, that looked like it consists of 3D polygons.
Which science fiction franchises inspired the creation of Eon Break?
Books, movies, comics – we were inspired by a lot of things! Many things came from the works of Ridley Scott and George Orwell. You can also find some parallels with such works as Jin-Roh, The Last of Us, and even The Butterfly Effect.
Which Metroidvania games did you and the developers play that served as inspiration for the game?
We’ve tried all the Metroids and Castlevania titles and almost every other Metroidvania out there, not only to understand what’s working in these games and what’s not but mostly because we’re huge fans of the genre.
The main inspiration for us is Super Metroid, but mostly in terms of world structure. Regarding core mechanics, we tried to do them differently. We wanted to make familiar gameplay with a new modern twist like Guacamelee did by adding fighting mechanics to the formula.
How well has the game been received so far?
We’ve received a lot of really positive feedback. In fact, we’ve received almost no negative comments at all! Community support was pretty strong and we’ve passed Steam Greenlight in just 6 days. So, we’re pretty confident that a lot of players are waiting for Eon Break. Also, we have a large community on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Everybody can join us there to receive the latest news and share feedback.
What platforms are you looking to bring the game to?
Initially, we’ll launch for PC, Mac, and Linux. If everything goes well, then we’re going to port the game to all major consoles. Also, we consider an option to make an Android TV port. The game is being developed with Unity, so porting is totally possible.
Do you have any advice for aspiring developers that may be reading this?
If you have an idea for a game, then start by answering one question: why players will play my game? And the answer shouldn’t just tell WHAT players will do in the game. Neither should it say HOW they will play your game. It should be clear for you WHY your project should be picked from the thousands of others.
Where about on the Internet can people find you?
Our website: http://gladrock.com
Do you have anything else to add?
Take a look at Eon Break – the game really worth a minute of your time – and let us know what do you think about it and what you would like to see in the game.
I’d also like to thank Ayrtom for answering my question and to wish him and Gladrock Games the best of luck with Eon Break. I’ve come across many Metroidvania games whilst scouting for new indie prospects, but this game certainly stands out as one of the most original-looking titles I’ve seen in a long time.
Scouse Gamer 88