by James Toal
It’s been 20 years, but now a sequel to the PS1 game Fear Effect is on the way thanks to Sushee Games, with some help of AAA games company Square Enix. You may remember Sushee Games’ previous work Goetia, in which you play the role of a ghost of a young lady who is made to remember the tragic past her family has had through Point ‘n Click style gameplay.
Fear Effect Sedna is a pausable tactical real-time action game that reunites the old characters, Hana, Rain, Deke and Glass where they travel from Hong Kong to Greenland to face off with the spirit world. I managed to get a one-on-one talk with Sushee Games’ Community Manager, Teej, to talk about the upcoming sequel.
JT: What made you want to make a sequel to Fear Effect?
T: Well, our first game with the Square Enix Collective was Goetia, and after that successful release, we spoke to them about creating something new, something original with the Fear Effect IP. We had the opportunity to work with the original writer of the original Fear Effect series. So we pitched and everything snowballed from there. We launched on Kickstarter and that successfully got funded with huge support from the community, and here we are.
Fear Effect (PS1) was written by John Zurr Platten and was released back in 2000. The Kickstarter for Fear Effect Sedna reached €107,285 and received around 2,500 backers.
JT: With this game, are you trying to entice older fans to come back or are you trying to reach a newer audience?
T: A bit of both really, most of our supporters on Kickstarter and in general are fans of the original primarily. It’s quite an opportunity as the gameplay is slightly different, it is different. We’ve been able to have our own take on the art style, gameplay and story. It’s quite an opportunity to take up and if it’s a franchise you like but you’re able to do something new, it’s still your own as well. We’re also trying to make something that the original fans are going to enjoy playing, but also people who play games nowadays so they’ll enjoy it as well. It’s a bit of a change of pace.
JT: Yeah from what I’ve played, I enjoyed the tactical edge to it and I like the switch from real-time shooting to slowed down tactical planning. Was this what you initially planned to have in this game?
T: Initially it was a lot more to do with the tactics, more giving orders and things like that. Then we actually shifted the gameplay more to the action side, so there’s still that tactical mode which is more about managing your multiple team members. It’s quite fun being able to set up a flank attack and everything like that. But, it’s still a bit more action orientated. Then there’s the stealth element and then the puzzles. So we kind of leaned more towards the action than the tactical because the first demo we had still had that kind of mix, but we wanted to focus more on one than the other. So we went that way with it.
JT: So how has the Square Enix Collective benefitted the development of the game?
T: I mean they’ve been a huge support, what I think is great as well is that they’ve let us do our thing. I think everyone and the collective would agree with this. There’s the support that you need, but then there’s also the freedom to still be your own games company and create something that you’re proud of. There’s not too much red tape to be cutting through.
The Square Enix Collective is a service provider for indie developers to get them get a step up in the game industry. This can range from helping to build community, helping to raise funds via Kickstarter or with support for releasing games.
JT: Does Square Enix have any involvement in the development of the game?
T: In terms of development, not too much. In terms of creative input and things like that. We worked with the original writer, we co-wrote the story with him and Square Enix basically oversee everything. Which is great, it takes a lot of pressure off and guides us into how to do certain things, usually, things that larger games companies have team members take care of it.
When we’re such a small team, it’s great to have that kind of background and history, you have a company that’s done all these triple-a titles and know how the business side works. So regarding porting to consoles and stuff like that, it’s new to us. There’s always that kind of assistance.
JT: What would you say was the hardest part of development for this game?
T: I think to try to make something that the fans are going to enjoy, and to keep that same atmosphere and tone with the characters and everything like that. Then also making something new at the same time, for a lot of the people that backed us on Kickstarter they were real fans and it’s their childhood memories. So we’re trying to still make something that people could remember playing this in 20 years time, as well as remembering playing the first Fear Effect 20 years ago.
So it’s trying to find that balance and to make something we’re proud of, trying to make something new, and also trying to make something in a world where there’s a huge fan base that exists. You want to try and make everyone happy, so that’s probably the most difficult.
JT: Final question, when can we expect the game to be released?
T: I can’t say, we’re in the final stages though I can tell you. I don’t think we’re going to be far off being able to give a final date. There are all the things that we’re in the progress of fine-tuning like visual effects, dust, snow, particles, things like that and gunfire animation. Some cutscene animation that needs to be rendered, need to have all the basics there.
The voice acting is kind of coming together, we’re adding all those story elements where you find documents to help uncover and discover more about the story’s Inuit mythology that we explore in the game. So there are those little details that we’re adding in and finishing off at the moment.
JT: Right, thank you for your time for this interview.
T: No problem
JT: I’ll see you next time.
PC (Microsoft Windows) / PlayStation 4 / Xbox One