Dev On Dev: Friday The 13th – The Game
Dev On Dev is an interview segment where I sit down with fellow game developers and talk to them about their games, and answer some questions about their projects, future, etc. Its goal is to help people who aren’t developers understand the industry a little more but also learn about some pretty great games.
I sat down with Ronnie Hobbs, co-creator of Gun Media’s horror game, Friday The 13th. You can read the interview below, and go help the game get kickstarted over here. They’re currently sitting at $612,721 out of their $700k goal. So close.
Justin Ross: The game looks visually impressive. In what ways are you guys going to be using the environments to help give the players that sense of dread when they’re moving around Camp Crystal Lake?
Ronnie Hobbs: Well, that’s the beauty of Camp Crystal Lake. It’s very peaceful and tranquil at its core, but once Jason is introduced the environment starts to shift from serene to deadly. It’s an odd combination of quiet and creepy, which is exactly what we want in our game, and a trait that was so heavily used in the film franchise. We don’t have to go overboard on set dressing because the reference environment already perfected that sense of dread you’re referring to.
JR: We’ve seen both Sackhead Jason, and the standard goalie mask Jason in some of the concept footage. Is there any chance we could be seeing a Jason X variant? I’m only asking this because it’s totally my guilty pleasure movie of the series. Also, along those lines do you guys ever see yourselves wanting to do some sort of Freddy vs Jason DLC or something down
the road if things go well?
RH: We’ve been getting a lot of fans asking about various versions of Jason Voorhees, and how we plan to incorporate them into the game. We’ve already announced Part 2, Part 3 and Part 7 as playable, but we’re keeping the other ones close to the chest right now. I think fans are going to be happy with what they’ll see coming up. Perhaps we will hold a vote?
JR: In my article covering the game and how people need to go fund the Kickstarter, I mentioned that having one singular location can make or break a game. How are you guys going about making Crystal Lake exciting everytime people boot up the game, and could we see other locations? For example, I’d love to see the cruise ship from Jason Takes Manhattan, or
even Manhattan itself.
RH: Our maps will have several dynamically generated aspects that will make each play session feel unique. Cabin placement, weapons, car and boat parts, and even the escape vehicles themselves can all be uniquely generated so that players don’t feel too comfortable with their surroundings, whether it’s the first or the 50th time playing the game. This is an area that’s really important to our team, and we are still exploring these ideas in the prototyping phase as we speak.
As for other locations, we definitely want to try and include as many memorable locations from the films as possible, which would of course include Manhattan or the cruise ship. It ultimately comes down to the game’s final budget, which will of course be determined by our Kickstarter campaign.
JR: As a horror developer myself, I feel like relying on proximity based chat in multiplayer horror games like this is the key to making it a horrifying experience even with your buddies walking around with you. Will there be proximity chat, and how do you guys plan on going about isolating people during a multiplayer, cooperative experience?
RH: A lot of that still needs to come out in play testing. Allowing people to communicate across the map definitely has its benefits, as does restricting voice communication to those nearby. You can honestly make the case for both sides, and this is something we are still exploring.
JR: Achievements are a pretty popular thing in video-games nowadays.Could you maybe give us a tease on what we could expect in terms of achievements/trophies?
RH: Nope. But you will definitely crack a smile at a few of them. Some will be obvious homages to the films, while others will be unique and difficult to attain. For those gamers that are up for a major challenge, we’ll definitely be rewarding them with magical internet points as well as in-game unlocks.
JR: Modding is a huge part of gaming too, and with Steam Workshop there’s been a ton of wonderful user-made creations come to light. Will you guys be open to mod support, or atleast support people to make their own levels?
RH: We haven’t discussed mod support at this point in development. Perhaps after the Kickstarter campaign ends we can determine if it’s the right fit.
JR: You’ve talked a bit about the core concept being to escape from the camp via boat, or car. Do you have any other modes planned?
RH: The escape vehicles are definitely a big part of the counselor dynamic, but there are other ways to survive the night. Players can also look for and repair a phone line that will ultimately alert the local police to your location, or you can actually find a weapon and confront Jason head on. We don’t recommend taking that path but you’re more than welcome to try. But
yes, our core gameplay mode is 1v7 multiplayer (or 1v1v1v1v1v1v1v1 as we like to say). We do have some single player stretch goals planned, so we will have to wait until the Kickstarter campaign ends before committing to other game modes.
JR: Why do you guys think Friday The 13th suits the asymmetrical multiplayer formula, and how are you going about to make people keep wanting to come back?
RH: Well, it fits because Jason is a lone hunter, against a large group of regular, ordinary people. The films didn’t rely on a narrative. It’s just an unstoppable masked maniac, killing anyone that steps foot on his home turf. That works PERFECTLY for asymmetrical multiplayer because we get to rely on human error to craft the outcome of the game, instead of scripted AI. Some players stick to the plan while others will abandon you at the first sign of Jason. It’s an interesting dynamic that the video game industry hasn’t really seen before.
JR: If the Kickstarter doesn’t reach the $700,000 goal (I seriously hope it does) can we still expect the game to release in some form or another? I’m only asking because we’ve needed a good Friday game ever since the rise in popularity for survival horror games, and because it just looks that fucking good.
RH: We’re confident we’ll hit the 700k goal, but if not, our team will sit down and reevaluate feature sets and determine what we can include with our current budget. So the game will get made, it just won’t be as big or as dynamic as we had hoped. Let’s just keep pushing everyone to the Kickstarter to pledge and support and we’ll get to our $700,000 goal in no time!
JR: And finally, if things go well with development, release, etc is there anywhere you’d like to see the game go?
RH: Straight into the living room of every gamer on the planet, duh. In all honesty, we love the franchise and expect that we can do a lot more with the 30+ years of history surrounding it. This started as a love letter to the franchise and now it is part of it. We’re going to make it the best game it can possibly be, one that people look at and say “God, you remember how awesome Friday the 13th was?”
I’d like to thank Ronnie Hobbs for taking the time to sit down and talk to us about this amazing game, and we here at Pixel Gate are looking forward to it.
Friday The 13th: The Game has a release date of October 2016 on Steam, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.