4Players: Please introduce yourself to our readers. Shadowgrounds is your first commercial product. What have you done before that and what are your future plans?
Frozenbyte: As you said, Shadowgrounds is our first game. In our case, it truly is everyone’s first game – none of us has been in the games industry before Frozenbyte. Four years ago we were just gamers who wanted to make games. We made that dream true, although it took a lot of hard work, dedication and sheer willpower.
Our future is extremely bright. Obviously we are dependent on Shadowgrounds’ success but at the moment it looks like we will be able to continue creating innovative and fresh games in the future. We already have a couple of plans… We probably will not create a sequel, at least not very soon, but we have a lot of ideas that would fit the Shadowgrounds world and be very cool games… and we also have some totally new ideas but I can’t tell you more yet, sorry!
4Players: Where did the idea come from to revive the top-down-action games of former years? Considering the excellent shadow- and lighting effects the game reminds more of Doom 3 or FEAR…
Frozenbyte: Shadowgrounds has been in our minds for a long time, four or five years. In 2003 we finally decided that we had enough knowledge and experience that we could start working on the game. We made the decision to focus on the lighting effects and especially the shadows, and at that time we didn’t know about Doom 3 or F.E.A.R...
4PLayers: Who is the main target group for Shadowgrounds – horror fans or action fans?
Frozenbyte: Action fans, no question. We have some horror elements but at its core, Shadowgrounds is about action and atmosphere. We don’t try to scare the player all the time, but instead we wanted to create a thrilling atmosphere that keeps them on their toes. There are also some humorous and not-so-serious moments in the game.
4Players: The smaller aliens in the game remind of the Alien movies, one of the big enemies more of Half Life. Where did you get your inspiration from?
Frozenbyte: From numerous sources. Of course Aliens was a big inspiration in the beginning but I think we have come up with pretty unique blend of monsters –
and in fact, the whole game feels fresh, unlike so many other games.
|Narrow hallways require an especially fast trigger finger.|
4Players: The easy outpine of the game seems determined to be a console game. Do you plan a conversion for Xbox or PS2?
Frozenbyte: Not at this moment. We wanted to make an Xbox version once but the business side is much harder in the console world. So ultimately we decided to focus on PC only – it’s our first platform of choice anyway, and allows more creative and technical freedom. But we do support PC gamepads. There’s just nothing that beats the feeling you get when 2-4 players are crammed in front of a single computer – oldschool co-op! That’s a console-like thing these days, and it’s a shame because PC has such a long history of oldschool co-op games. We wanted to bring that back.
4Players: The lighting effects are the most outstanding feature of the graphics. What additional effects does the engine provide?
Frozenbyte: All the technology has been made in-house, so we have been able to create the technology to support the features that we needed. We have beautiful particle effects, very cool-looking rain, awesome explosions… and last but not least, the heat distortion effect that is used with the flamethrower (and explosions etc).
4Players: With the flashlight some monsters can be allured or deterred. How far is the interaction between light and enemies going to work in the final version? What other possibilities are there to influence the environment and the monsters?
Frozenbyte: We wanted to keep the action focused on the weapons and upgrades but lighting and reactions were one of our focus points and still is. Some monsters have a distinct reaction to light, but others don’t. The spider aliens fear light and run away quickly, for example. Many others try to avoid light but this is much more subtle and harder to notice in the game. In addition, there’s also a nasty monster that is invisible normally, but becomes visible when exposed to the flashlight. It’s one of our favourite monsters and makes some great surprises.