The man behind Phoenix studio Razor Edge Games knows its video games have to stand out. Surrounded by potential competitors, CEO Mike Weiser is confident the company's PC game Epocylipse: the AfterFall will turn some heads.
“I think there’s a big hole in the gaming market right now,” he says on the show floor during Phoenix Comicon in early June. “Games have descended into this shoot-and-kill-everything mentality, question marks over people’s heads for quests.”
That’s why the company is developing an old-school turn-based role-playing game (aka RPG), inspired by classic D&D-esque tabletop gameplay and with a cinematic presentation. They aim to give gamers hardcore play mechanics in a modern, graphically impressive package when it comes out.
He says fans crave an experience his game will offer.
“I’m going back to the idea like I’ve built in the past: Let’s make a game that makes you think, makes you wander around, makes you try to figure out based on clues and things what you need to do,” he says. “You know, an RPG.”
Epocylipse: the AfterFall uses a post-apocalyptic setting, but not of the zombie or post-nuclear variety that gamers have become numb to. Weiser says the scenario is based on an asteroid projected to collide with Earth more than 100 years from now, establishing that the game will have a foundation in the real world.
As well as the ability to customize characters, the game will employ a real-time aging system and perma-death, adding a unique aging mechanic to the mortality of each playthrough.
The real-time is used on the main server of the game, run by Razor Edge, but players will also be able to run the game on their own computers in a way that time will not continue to tick if the player isn’t online. This also allows players the ability to create their own servers and invite their friends to join in.
“If you choose in your ruleset that you want a persistent world, you want it all the time, if you’re there or not, your character is aging, time is going on, you’re missing out if you’re sleeping,” Weiser says.
He adds that the team doesn’t want the game to ever be boring, saying that the cinematic portrayal will only show relevant information.
“Picture your favorite movie or show you watch,” he elaborates. “You don’t care about the guy driving from point A to point B ... you get to the action.”
The camera is neither cinematic nor isometric, he says. But what that means at this point isn’t clear. Regardless, they want to create an engrossing experience that will engage all kinds of players, but with enough variety that no single person can play all of the content.
“You’re going to have to choose how you want your character to be,” Weiser says.
He stresses that the game will not be based on player skill sets, but on character skill sets, employing Dungeons & Dragons-style dice mechanics or random number generators as determined by the character’s attributes. So even though the player might command the character to attack, the power of that attack will be determined by classic tabletop rulesets.
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Epocylipse: the AfterFall’s development team is headquartered in Phoenix, but they employ programmers across the entire world.
“We started in October 2014, and as of today [we have] about 207 people on my team scattered in 32 countries,” he says, adding that 36 members of the development team are based here in the Valley.
As of this writing, there's not a set date for when the game will launch on Steam Greenlight, but Weiser says they hope to have a release announcement soon.