“And what happens in this moment is a lot of what interests us in an immersive sim. When the player is trying to recover from a situation, trying to improvise, that’s when our games shine the most.”
Split into four explorable areas and four times of day, the game allows players to plan each loop depending on the goal they’d like to pursue. While they’ll eventually be able to kill all eight visionaries in a row, the early game is about finding where the secrets and powerful weapons are, growing your assortment of magical abilities, and prodding at the corners of the world to fill your journal with leads and tips.
“You’re never going back in this investigation, you’re always learning something,” Mr Bakaba said.
“Even if you die after learning something, you still know that thing and you can go to the next step. It’s very hard to be entirely lost if you follow the threads.”
Aesthetically the game is a mix of 60s influences. Art director Sébastien Mitton said the team had a very clear vision for the trailers and promotional material: James Bond meets Tarantino. But in the actual game things go further.
“You’ll see all the references, from TV shows from the 60s like The Avengers, to movies like the one I always like to talk about which is Point Plank; Lee Marvin’s really mad and he wants revenge,” he said.
“We thought that was really interesting this clash between all these movies and books that give this game a certain style. It’s all the 60s, that’s the colour we wanted to bring to it through the characters, the environments, and how people how the characters think and feel”.
As for Julianna — the only other person on the island who retains memories between loops, and who shows up constantly to assassinate Colt —she plays a very interesting role in the game’s multiplayer. Mr Bakaba said the team wanted a way to play “quick hit Deathloop”, where you’re free to mess with the systems unencumbered by wider objectives. They came up with something unique: a secondary mode where players take on the role of Julianna and invade other players’ games.
“You just click, and you’re in someone’s game. You can hurt them, place traps, stalk them, scare them. Just walk around in the environment. It’s something very immediate,” Mr Bakaba said.
The fight is always to Colt’s advantage, but if you die as Julianna you can at least feel good that a player somewhere in the world got the benefit of looting the sweet weapons and abilities you chose to equip yourself with.
“You’re going after someone more powerful than you, who has a goal, trying to be smarter or more skilled or just have fun with them,” Mr Bakaba said.
“But why not help them? Nothing prevents you from helping them get the Visionaries. It’s a very freeform experience, not a competitive mode. It’s the story generator, we like to say.”
Deathloop is out now on PlayStation 5 and PC.
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