Quick Cuts: A Short Interview With the Lead Designer of Severed
Toronto’s Drinkbox Studios is most known for last year’s Guacamelee, a Metroidvania action platformer. The game was met with high praise and was featured on numerous game of the year lists in 2013.
Last month, they announced their new project Severed, a gesture based adventure game with dungeon crawling and RPG-like elements. CGM recently had a chance to talk to Greg Lesky, the lead designer on Severed about the game.
Comics Gaming Magazine: How did the idea for Severed come about?
Greg Lesky: The idea of Severed came from our Concept Artist Augusto, who was born and raised in Mexico, from thoughts about memories and physical and emotional distance from his family. Living far away from them made him constantly dwell in memories when they were together and he thought it would be great to explore this feeling somehow.
CGM: What is the story of Severed?
GL: I don’t want to give away too much because that’s a big part of the game, uncovering exactly what the story is. I can say you play a warrior that wakes up with a missing arm and a lot of questions about what happened. She goes on a quest to find the answers in a strange and surreal world.
CGM: What makes Severed different from similar games like Punch-Out and Infinity Blade?
GL: Punch-Out had enemies that had a strategy that made defeating them easier, exposing weak points. Unlike Punch-Out this doesn’t go round-to-round, so you’ll need to keep your health up during and after battles if you want to explore deeper into dangerous parts of the world. While we do use a gesture based melee attack system like Infinity Blade, our attacks are location-dependent which will feeds into the Punch-Out gameplay.
CGM: Why did you choose touch controls rather than using a normal controller for Severed’s controls?
GL: Gesture controls fit the style of gameplay better, especially with location-specific damage. Also it feels more satisfying to swing a sword with a gesture than a button press as it does better at mimicking the action she’s performing in game. We wanted you to feel like you were in her shoes (or boots).
CGM: What have you learned from your previous games that you’ve applied to Severed?
GL: This game is really a departure from what we’ve done in the past – 2D platforming – so we get to approach this from a fresh angle. I think this will be more about lessons we learned playing other games that inspired the gameplay.
CGM: You mentioned that there will be some RPG elements in the game, how will they work?
GL: There will be character progression but it will be RPG-light. You won’t be balancing how many points you add to your Strength or Intelligence, but you will have a satisfying level of customization without getting bogged down with details.
CGM: Drinkbox games always have had a vibrant and distinct art style, how does it contribute to the world Severed?
GL: I think the vibrant palette makes the world we’re setting up more unique. It is not a world deeply grounded in reality, so we can afford to be very bold with stylistic choices. The goal is to communicate a feeling and colours are one of the important tools for that.