Developed by Radiation Blue and published by Team17, Genesis Alpha One is all but a few days away. With such an interesting concept running through the experience, we fired a few questions over to Sascha Jungnickel, Creative Director of Radiation Blue, to find out more.
Xt: For those unaware, can you provide an overview of Genesis Alpha One?
SJ: Genesis Alpha One is a unique mixture of thrilling roguelike mechanics with deep ship building and fast first-person action, putting you in the role of the Captain of your own space vessel.
It’s our debut game as our own indie studio, though we’ve been in the games industry for many years now working on games such as Hitman: Blood Money, Velvet Assassin, RiME, and The Settlers.
Xt: Genesis Alpha One sports quite an interesting framework, taking into account that it’s a roguelike shooter, with base building and survival elements thrown into the mix. What led you to this compelling concept?
SJ: We wanted to create a game that offers a really unique experience, so we included a lot of different elements to make the gameplay feel fresh. The mixture of the different genres also opens up a lot of freedom to the player in how they choose to play the game, they can focus on the ship building, or they may prefer to go exploring different planets and engage in combat with the aliens.
Xt: Despite the fact that the game is both in-depth and diverse, it also looks quite accessible and easy to understand. Would you say that that’s a fair assessment?
SJ: Alongside the traditional QA cycle, we’ve done a lot of dedicated usability sessions on the game too and we’ve taken the game to plenty of events. So, we’ve really been able to fine tune the tutorial and introduce players to the game’s systems.
Once they’re familiar, we didn’t want to make the wider experience too guided as we want to create some surprises and shocks along the way!
Xt: What’s the ultimate aim of the game? What can players expect to get up to throughout play?
SJ: Everything on Earth has gone wrong, so it’s up to you to explore the galaxy and find a new suitable home to restart humanity on. Not every planet you discover is going to have the right environment for humans to survive on…
However, as you face different alien species, you can collect samples of their DNA and use these to make different types of clones who may be more susceptible to survive on your chosen genesis candidate planet.
The game is played in rounds, so once you’ve managed to perform a genesis, that’ll be the end of the round. Any artifacts you’ve found during that round, you’re then able to carry over onto the next.
Xt: Cloning is an integral part of the experience. It’s a very clever way for players to toy with stats and generate more lives. Can you describe how this all works?
SJ: When you begin to build and expand your ship, one of the modules you can build is a biotank, here different biomass DNA will be stored after you’ve collected samples from alien lifeforms. Once you have enough samples, you can also build a clone lab where you’ll be able to experiment with different types of clones. Don’t forget to make sure greenhouse on your ship is filled with the right plants to create a suitable biosphere for your new crew mates.
Another advantage of cloning and creating a larger crew, is that when you die – you’ll come back as one of your clones if you still have crew left alive.
Xt: Touching up on the game’s upgrade systems, or modules and artifacts, to be more specific, how does that all factor into the experience at hand? What benefits will these offer throughout play?
SJ: The more you play and explore the Alpha One quadrant, the more you’ll find and unlock metagame items such as artefacts, new blueprints for modules or weapons. No matter if you fail or succeed in your current mission, those items will be available and very beneficial for success in the game.
Xt: The actual shooting looks fast-paced and fluid, which naturally heightens the already tense atmosphere that Genesis Alpha One relays. Did you always plan on having such quick and responsive FPS elements?
SJ: Yes. We are fans of classic shooters such as Doom and Quake. We want to capture this particular fast-paced and agility driven fun and revive it in Genesis Alpha One. It’s also easy to pick up and offers a change of pace in between shipbuilding, cloning and farming procedures.
Xt: Let’s talk about the game’s vast, randomly generated universe. Now, by design alone, Genesis Alpha One is clearly built to last and maintain player interest. How does its random generation fit into this?
SJ: We consider the randomness of certain game elements as highly entertaining and rewarding. Each round will play out differently and you never really know what happens next. From a development point, we plan to feed the pool of Genesis’ random elements, such as aliens, ship building blueprints, resources or planets, with new content even after launch with updates.
Xt: Overall, there’s a lot of ambition here, and it certainly appears to be distinct and robust enough to stand out for a long while to come. Can we expect to see post-launch support?
SJ: We’re still thinking about what post-launch support looks like but some ideas we’re toying with are new alien races, ship modules, resource traders or planets to harvest.
Xt: If you had to pick, what would be your favorite aspect of Genesis Alpha One?
SJ: You can dive into all those different activities, I like that combined in one game. I think the fast-paced ship building combined with spreading alien infestations is the most unique element though.
Xt: What’s been the most challenging part of the game’s development?
SJ: That the interfaces/controls had to be easy to use, while linking the player to very different activities and options. This took a lot of time and iterations to get it spot on.
Xt: In regards to framerate and resolution, will we be seeing any enhancements on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro?
SJ: The enhancements will be in the framerate. Since Genesis Alpha One is a fast-paced game, we used improved hardware to improve on that front primarily.
Xt: How has fan feedback been so far?
SJ: So far, very positive and people seem interested. It seems that many players are longing for an experience that combines spaceship building, shooting, survival, exploring and research, in a natural, accessible way. To deliver this kind of ride, was our main goal with Genesis Alpha One. Usability and playtesting sessions also helped us to identify player preferences and made us address critical points pointed out by players.
Xt: Finally, is there anything you would like to share with our readers?
SJ: We put our hearts and souls into creating a unique world of sci-fi, survival, base building and fast action for players who enjoy those features. But foremost we hope to satisfy and to intrigue players who want a very new gaming experience. We would be proud if you join us on board of our Genesis star ships!
Sascha, it’s been a pleasure! Thank you for your time here. Readers, you can see the trailer for the game right here. If this looks like it’s up your street, be sure to grab a copy when it launches on January 29th.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.