In the final round-up of newly announced PS4 indie titles, we’ll be looking at Chasm, Source, Apotheon, Ironclad Tactics, and Jamestown Plus:
Chasm (PS4) – 2014
Developed by Discord Games, Chasm is a procedurally-generated RPG platformer set in the “metroidvania” genre. Playing as Daltyn, a young soldier sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a mining crew in the remote mountain town of Karthas, you get trapped by supernatural forces and must explore the mines. Only by gaining new special abilities, evading dangerous traps, and defeating hordes of deadly enemies can you hope to save Karthas.
Discord’s James Petruzzi said, “One of the hardest parts of game design is creating a unique and interesting world for players to explore. The Metroidvania genre has always been popular among exploration fans, and utilizes unlockable items or abilities that help the player reach previously inaccessible areas. The goal of our latest game is to make an authentic Metroidvania-style experience that utilizes procedural generation to keep the experience fresh for repeated playthroughs. Let’s quickly explore how we approached world design in Chasm.”
As for a possible PS Vita version, he said, “We’re definitely interested in Vita as well, but without a solid Monogame port in place it would require a total code rewrite. Hopefully we’ll have something to announce later this year!”
Source (PS4) – TBA
While we weren’t given any gameplay screenshots for Source, Fenix Fire CEO Brian McRae did give an explanation of what we can expect from the Metroidvania title:
The world of Source, even in its earliest versions, has always been an alternate dimension full of life, energy, and bio luminescence. Early on we looked at 80′s computer graphic movies like Tron, deep sea marine life, and fine surreal art for influence.
The reason for this eclectic mix of inspiration was to find the middle ground between the familiar and the unknown in order to help drive the exploratory nature of Source. For instance, if everything looked realistic, you would be able to take all the plants, trees, and creatures at face value, moving on without a second thought. By inventing all our own foliage and living creatures we’ve been able to make a very mysterious world, which allows the player to see through “infant eyes;” essentially seeing the world for the first time.
As the world started to form, we began to arrive at our character, the firefly. This was born out of an idea I had while doing chores in the backyard. I saw a humming bird fly from flower to flower, and loved the elegance and tranquility of the creature. At that moment I saw the entire game; how the ecosystem of Source would become an elaborate system of plants and creatures, and how all of these beings are tied together by this “pollination” or exchange of energy.
The way the character upgrades itself in Source is rooted in the genre of the Metroidvania; search the world for clues, discover a new energy source, and absorb the energy to become imbued with a new ability. These new abilities can be used to fly to new areas, explore places that were previously poisonous to the character, or uncover a new kind of attack.
To evolve the system further, we looked to nature for inspiration. In fusing the hummingbird with the butterfly, we were able to create a cocoon system that becomes imperative to your adventure. You’ll need to pollinate at least one cocoon while alive. When your character dies, your offspring will be born from that pollinated cocoon and will harness all of your character’s abilities. Sometimes, depending on how much experience your character had, the new offspring will have gone up a level and will be born with advanced strengths and abilities, essentially making the cycle of life a positive and necessary thing.
We feel the root of the adventure game is the story, and we want the story in Source to be truly memorable. The story is told around your character as the game progresses, not with long-winded cut scenes. It comes down to creating great moments throughout the game to achieve the highs and lows properly placed to achieve cinematic drama. Therefore we’re designing the story to be harmoniously fused with the level progression and the world’s layout.
Apotheon (PS4) – TBA
Coming to us from Alien Trap Games, Apotheon is an action side-scroller that’s been in development for nearly three years. Drawing from multiplayer FPS titles in its combat, Designer Jesse McGibney says, “We were never much for button-mashy or combo based fighters, which I think have a bit of a stranglehold on 2D action games (especially melee focused ones). Instead of giving players a shopping list of moves and combos to memorize, we just give a set of basic actions. You can move, jump, attack, block, roll, and throw. Learned skills like timing, positioning, and reading your opponent’s movements are at the core here.
He later added, “While the combat is definitely the heart of what makes Apotheon a fighter, the world and contents therein are what make it an adventure. This is the bronze age here, and none of this equipment is all that durable (we tend to treat all our weapons the same way one treats ammo in an FPS, to retread our influences). Swords break, spears snap, and shields shatter. You’ve got a big mountain to climb to take on the Gods of Olympus, and keeping yourself in tip-top fighting condition requires a bit of exploring, looting, shopping, and crafting.”
“We’ve tried to stay pretty light on the RPG elements, so there’s no stat leveling or ability trees or anything like that, but you will certainly be sneaking into a lot of locked places for treasure chests, crawling through monster riddled caves just to see what’s ahead in the darkness, making potions that summon skeleton warriors, and breaking a lot of pots for coins. I think there’s something very meta about smashing pots, in a game that also looks like it’s painted on one.”
Ironclad Tactics (PS4) – TBA
Zachtronics Creative Director Zach Barth made things easy by listing all of the features that help Ironclad Tactics stand out from all the other fast-paced, card-based tactics game set in the American Civil War with robots:
- When it comes to games, I am not a patient person. One of my biggest frustrations with card and tactics games is waiting for my opponent to take their turn, especially when they’re an AI. In Ironclad Tactics, this is not a problem, as the entire game is streamlined for 10-second, fixed-length turns taken by all players simultaneously, blending the best of turn-based and real-time gameplay.
- You can call me old fashioned, but one thing I don’t understand are digital card games that require you to purchase individual cards. They’re just ones and zeroes! They don’t exist! In Ironclad Tactics, you win cards to build your decks by playing the game and completing puzzles and challenges, not by purchasing them individually or in digital “booster packs.”
- There’s a story in Ironclad Tactics, and it’s awesome. It also happens to be an 80+ page in-game graphic novel, with beautifully colored illustrations and snappy dialogue. It took us so long to make that I can’t even count how many months we spent working on it. You’re going to love it.
- Did I mention that Ironclad Tactics is fully multiplayer enabled? In addition to being able to play matches against other players, you can also play all of the campaigns cooperatively with your friends over the internet. There’s even a mode where you get to play as the bosses from the game and crush your friends!
They’re looking into a possible PS Vita version of Ironclad Tactics, while the PS4 version will be “packed with our recently developed bonus content” that’s been out on Steam for the past few months.
Jamestown Plus (PS4) – Summer 2014
Final Form Games is bringing Jamestown Plus, a shoot-em-up, to the PS4 this summer. While the game will include local co-op for up to 4 players, Tim Ambrogi explained why online co-op isn’t happening: “We’ve tried to make it happen a few times now, but you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to port a local-only game to online multiplayer when it wasn’t designed that way in the first place! Not to mention, Jamestown is a twitchy, low-latency game where a single frame of error often means the difference between life and death.”
Originally released in 2011 on PC, here’s what the PS4 version will add:
- New ships, replete with innovative special attacks and customizable weapon systems!
- New levels, taking players on a swashbuckling adventure to the mysterious Martian moons of Phobos and Deimos!
- A new chapter of the Jamestown story that spans space and time, adds new dimension to established characters and locations, and finishes what the original game started.
If you were curious, Ambrogi said, “We don’t have any Vita plans at present, but we’ll see how the PS4 version goes and take things from there :).”
Which of these PS4 indie titles do you want the most? Let us know in the comments below.