It is the time of a new world order. Large private corporations have obtained absolute control over the world and its resources. Countries and governments are merely pawns controlled by money and corporate interests. The whole world has united under the reign of greed for profit. In human history, there has never been a greater gap between the rich and the poor, between the elite and the rest – everyone has been enslaved, turned into mere tools for creating more money for that 1% of the population, the privileged ones who regard themselves as the rulers of the Earth.
Most of the population refuses to accept this state of affairs. The repressive police and military forces have been keeping things under control but more and more people are starting to oppose the rulers, openly showing their disobedience and calling for justice. Labeled as criminals/terrorists, they are transported to privately-owned correctional facilities. Once locked away, they rarely live long enough to come out alive. In addition, the few who somehow manage to survive the prison terms, usually develop serious mental disorders and die quickly upon the release, being unable to adapt back into society. There are even rumours about illegal experiments being conducted on the prisoners; as nothing has been proven so far, these remain merely unjustified claims.
Exciting stuff and it has really piqued our interest here at The PCMR. We wanted more information about SCUM, the latest game from Gamepires and Croteam, so I reached out to Josip Barisic at Gamepires to ask a few questions. Here is what he told me.
Hi Josip, can I start by asking what you do at Gamepires?
Hello I’m Josip and I’m the community manager at Gamepires. I’m the guy who is chained in the basement of the offices. I answer all the questions regarding our games, and interact with the community as a whole.
Lets talk about SCUM then, we have seen a lot of survival games of late, what is the idea behind SCUM?
The idea behind SCUM was to get the survival genre to a new level. From a human metabolism to making and preparing food better than Gordon Ramsey, or the so called cooking skill.
Do you think this is what separates SCUM from the plethora of other titles in the genre?
Yes but not only this. Primarily it will be the dose of realism that SCUM will bring to the table.
In what way?
What I mean is that every decision you make will have an impact on your game play for any current situation or the long run. From eating, crafting, what weapon you use, will you sprint or jog more as all that impacts the development of your character, and then you also have the world you play with and its interactions with the player from weather changes, animals, other players and so on. You could say it’s a new level of immersion in survival games that people are looking for.
We have all seen the footage of SCUM game and have been very excited by the prospect of playing the game. The market is awash with survival clones and some people might think its a risky strategy so what is your motivation for wanting to make this game now?
When we first announced SCUM we got a lot of hate, just because it’s a survival game, the genre is popular but also has a bad reputation, for delivering incomplete titles however, once people saw SCUM and realised how different it is we instantly saw the tables turn and people became very excited about us. They can see that it’s something different and better.
Is that something that has driven the team on?
You just get pumped by seeing that you can make something that will rattle the whole genre and I dare I say the entire gaming scene.
I know you have said when its ready but excitement is building so when can we expect to be able to get our hands on a version of the game?
We aim for Q2 this year.
Many survival games have taken the reality concept and run with it often to the detriment of the game, how are you going to ensure the game is a true survival game but ultimately still fun to play?
First of all we don’t like that in most survival games people get punished for mistakes, yes for a game that bases itself on reality its needed but it’s still a game and it needs to be fun first. We are working hard to balance that out so in the end when you make a mistake there will be some kind of setback but nothing that will make you quit the game, and you will be able to ride bears into battle so its win, win! Fun is a subjective thing however, and I think everyone has their own opinion, personally I like a game with diverse game play.
Making a game this complex is no simple task and it makes me wonder if there have been any issues so far or things that you couldn’t achieve because of budgetary or time constraints that we may see added a little further along the development path?
The biggest issues were of technical nature, the last few engine builds were problematic so we had to focus some of the man power to fix the problems those builds created instead of making game play material and ultimately there were few things that we postponed until after we hit Early Access on Steam, but they all will be added later on.
How many players will be on one server and how do you intend to manage their flow of moment to keep them having encounters with other players given the scale of the map?
64 is the number for now. There will be hotspots, or areas we are calling bases, that will give the player some extras if he captures them. Although we wont “force” players to encounter other players this is not a battle royal game. In short if you want to have some PvP action you will be able to find it without any real problem, if you are more of a lone wolf you will be able to be that as well without any problems.
With so many development houses choosing the early access route one of the many criticism launched at games recently is the lack of content coming forward after release. What will you do differently to ensure this isn’t the case for you?
No worries there, the 200 page game design document will make sure that we have more than enough content to provide for 2 years at least.
I think another issue for gamers at the moment are are micro transactions, I read about the corporate sponsors so wanted to ask, will the corporate sponsors gifts be part of a micro transaction eco system or will the player be able to gain everything from just playing?
There will be few ways to get sponsor goodies, one way will be through fame points that you get by completing certain actions, quests etc. and there will be random air drops on the island, this is another way to force players together by the way, and none of them will have micro transactions.
The skills in the game seem to be a big factor, will players be able to learn all skills or just a few for each character and will this help players working together to spread their skills out?
In theory they can learn all skills, but that will be hard to achieve as you will need a lot of game play time for that. We are curious to see how far the players will be able to push characters in that regard and what natural organic game play results from it.
So how will “the show” affect players for example is there an end goal that can be achieved through clever play?
The end goal is to get from the island, and join the rebellion. But to achieve that you will need much more than just clever play.
The game is set on a Croatian island archipelago. How much work went into creating the environment and are you pleased with the results or do you wish you could do more?
We spend a lot of time on coast, land, mountain regions studying flora, fauna, weather, architecture, geology and we are happy with the end result but it can always be better.
I have seen an image of a building on Brač and the in game building they are practically identical, given this level of graphical fidelity will we need a super computer to run the game?
No worries you won’t, we just have an epic art team.
What is the size of the play area and how many islands will we be able to travel to?
The size will be 12x12km and for now it’s only 1 island but there is always room for expansion.
That is a large play are there vehicles in game?
Cars, trucks, bicycles, boats, bears a lot of transportation options.
The game looks incredible, the hand to hand mechanic struck me as a complete departure from other survival games but it begs a question of you intend to change the pace of play from gunplay/ranged combat to in close fighting and hand to hand combat to ensure that this mechanic is useful and preferable to say, sitting on a hill and sniping people all day?
First of all you won’t be finding guns laying all around. But let’s say you got lucky and found a gun. Now it depends how good can you actually shoot and maintain the weapon that’s where the handgun skill comes in. If your skills are basic or you don’t have that particular skill at all the weapon can get jammed and its durability drains faster. The bigger the skill the better you are with maintaining it and using it. Guns are loud they attract attention and not just other players attention but also puppets, and maybe some weird genetically modified animal that needs a snack. Let’s say you have a nice day sniping people (small hint it will be harder than you think) and you hear something is close to you, and your hand to hand combat is not the best well the best option is to run but a gun that big and all the equipment makes you slow and noisy, and on top of that if you have a bad constitution you will fatigue fast. Those all are some examples from a lot of possible situations so be careful and think twice before going on a shooting rampage.
SCUM looks to be a hugely ambitious game with many mechanics working together, this will be a worry for many players as we have had issues with games not meeting expectations or specifically hype in the past. What parts of the current game may not make it in?
From our experience, all the complicated mechanics that SCUM has we have not found a problem that was not solvable, and we are confident that in one way or the other all we present will be in the game.
A lot of people like to play these types of games as a group and one ommision from many survival titles is the ability to easily meet up. Will you have some sort of party mechanic that will allow players to start the adventure together?
Yes we will have a party system where friends or random people can group up and go on an adventure together while holding hands.
We have heard about the ability to tame animals, will these animals be able to act as guards for our bases?
Yep they will be able to guard it, you don’t want to mess with a chicken named Roger that holds the door.
An issue plaguing the online community at the moment is hackers. What steps will you take to combat cheating in your game and how will you handle those who are caught?
We don’t have a final solution for that yet although it is something we are taking very seriously, all we can say it that if you are caught you get the ban hammer for all eternity.
Thank you Josip, the game is looking so good right now that I for one am very excited to see what the game plays like, however, many people are very sceptical about Early Access titles so what could you say to someone on the fence about picking your game up out of the gate that would give them the confidence to invest in your product.
“Hey kid, wanna ride bears?” Jokes aside that’s actually a really hard question as I don’t even know where to start. I would say it’s the metabolism we made and combine that with the skills we have so you can be anyone you like, a huge dude that can 1 hit k.o you, an agile person that can shoot an arrow to your knee from 80m or a super smart guy who can hack into your BCU and make you do polka dance. SCUM will have as many play styles as there are people and if you are looking for something definitive then SCUM is the survival game for you.
So lastly who is currently the best at your game in your office?
Well that would be me.
And who currently thinks they are the best?
Everyone else but me.
SCUM is coming soon to PC so keep checking back for as much news and content as we can bring you.