June 19, 2018

E3 2018: A chat with Emil Kraftling for Generation Zero

Thanks to E3, I had the chance to not only check out Generation Zero, though I did not get to play it, I had a chance to ask the games director, Emil Kraftling a few questions about the game, including why they chose to set it in Sweden.

Maxi-Geek: Any particular period in 2019 or just that for now?

Emil Kraftling: For now its 2019 (chuckles)

MG: So January 1?

EK: Let’s say 31st of December and maybe we’ll push it forward.

MG: So, is the game just for Xbox or is it coming to other platforms as well?

EK: It is coming to Xbox and Steam, PC and to PlayStation as well.

MG: Is it exclusive to Xbox for a period?

EK: All platforms will be launched at the same time.

MG: Why set the game in 1980’s Sweden?

EK: Good question. Now I get to tell you the origin story of the game. How it actually began, was that we were working on our previous project, which was a hunting simulator called ‘the Hunter: Call of the Wild’ and when we set out to do our next self-published game, we knew that we wanted to do something that was more mainstream. When we looked at the game we had, we saw all these mechanics that were, stealth-action mechanics that in a different setting would be, a fantastic totally different game. One of the reserves in that game was actually the spitting image of the countryside where I grew up, in Sweden, so I got these throwback memories, to when I played in the woods together with my brothers, playing war, in the late 80s.

So, having the creative freedom of a self-published game, we felt that, hey this is something we can do, we could probably not have pitched it to a publisher, but with the full creative freedom of self-publishing the game, we thought, yeah lets do it, because we believe in it. It’s a setting that is so authentic to us, because a lot of members of the team, grew up in 1980’s Sweden and it’s so close at heart, so we feel that even though people who weren’t Swedes or didn’t grow up in the 80’s of Sweden, would feel that authenticity come across when they play it and the world would seem like a real place basically.

So, that’s where it started and then there was a story about Sweden in the cold war that we thought, no-one had really told before and on we went and it fit together.

MG: It reminds me a lot of ‘Dark’ the German Netflix show.

EK: Yeah, with the forest setting?

MG: Yep, now where the demo started, is that were you get onto the shore from your boat?

EK: No, this is about an hour into the game.

MG: So, you are not decked out with weapons when you start the game?

EK: No, when you start you have nothing.

MG: And all the information, about what you need to do, is explained at the start of that?

EK: Yes, you will get a soft start.

MG: The weapons seem to have colours, is there a quality system in place?

EK: Yeah, so the quality levels are currently defined through colours, but what they are now, is not necessarily final.

MG: The main story thread, is there a set number of hours you would expect it to take to finish off?

EK: I could not really say a specific time, because it depends on how people play it and how creative they get. We expect people to play with the dynamic systems, that they can overcome certain challenges faster than we could have thought of as developers, but there is definitely an end, or a sort of end, that you will strive towards, to get the answers of what is really going on, maybe you will find out, maybe you won’t.
But there is definitely a story that you can follow, but we think a lot of people will play it just for the open world.

MG: When the boombox was thrown down, it was playing a very synth heavy, 80’s style music. Will there be 80’s Swedish pop-rock music in the game, or will it just be internally developed?

EK: We have a composer creating a soundtrack for the game, that is heavily 80’s inspired and it’s fantastic. It is a small team, it’s not a Triple A, $60 budget game, so in terms of licencing we don’t necessarily have all the options, but we are looking at those options, to see what we can do.
I think a lot of 80’s music in Sweden was actually the same as elsewhere, we were that far behind.

MG: You said before that the game is being made on your own internal engine?

EK: Yes, Apex.

MG: And you have been using that for…?

EK: We are using that for all of our games, we used it on our hunting game, the Hunter Call of the Wild, as well as Rage 2 and Just Cause 4.

MG: Is it pumping out 4K on the Xbox?

EK: It’s currently not 4K, but it is Xbox One X enhanced

The game is set for a 2019 release, but for now, you can check out the BCD of the game, but until then, maybe do some research on this cold war story, if you want to know more.

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