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Three for Frostpunk: OPN Dev Talk with 11 Bit Studios

Editor's Note: with our latest Dev Talk series, Three For, developers make a case for their upcoming release, gaming history and industry trends considered. Acknowledging the busy market that has become the indie scene and today's abundance in options, our questions invite developers to make a case as to why their labor of love is worth what's in your wallet.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Let’s dive right in: What’s your story?

11 Bit Studios was founded in 2009, and since then we've released six games. This War of Mine was the latest and Frostpunk is the next. In the early years we had a philosophy of making games that mix genres or turn genres upside down. For example, inverted tower defense became tower offense, which was the idea behind Anomaly Warzone Earth. The philosophy evolved into making innovative games with a focus on thought-provoking topics and that's what drove us into creation of This War of Mine. The further step is Frostpunk. This is a game that questions morality as you play as the leader of a society in the last city on Earth, in an alternate history where the whole Earth freezes in the XIX century.

We dig it, but why industrial on ice?

Frostpunk speaks about ruling a society and asks what your moral responsibility is. Ruling people in times of danger is a sort of catalyst, as every bad decision can lead to failure. Finding a setting with harsh conditions was a natural choice. In a frozen world people are pushed to the limit, so you need to foresee consequences of your moves to make sure your city survives. An alternate version of the XIX century where the planet gets frozen seemed like a great choice for Frostpunk's universum. Plus, we could use steampunk technology in the game's mechanics, not for the sake of having steampunk, but because melting ice to create steam seems like the most natural way of creating heat and energy in such a universum.

What's in the game design, strategy, and gameplay mechanics that makes it worth my time?

Gameplay in Frostpunk has three important layers: first is fighting for survival, which means gathering resources, healing people, building infrastructure to endure cold, and exploring the outside world to gather information while looking for more resources and survivors; second is city-building around a huge warmth generator, developing technologies for more efficient factories, coal mines and so on; and third — the most important layer — is ruling the people, employing them to make the society develop further, and creating new laws and customs so the population is kept in order, working as a well-thought-out organization.

I think you can call Frostpunk one of the first games of society simulation. And when you rule the society, the game often challenges your morality when you create laws or make tough choices. Do you send children to work if there's not enough manpower? Do you treat the gravely ill when others need help too? How do you bring safety back to the streets if they're taken over by rioters? Do you imprison them, or create a Neighbourhood Watch to make people watch for themselves? That's just the tip of the iceberg of what you'll be dealing with in Frostpunk. We are talking about a serious, mature game here. Is it worth your time? If you like to engage in such experiences, you've just got the right title.

Straight from the Devs
Wednesday, 07 March 2018 07:14
Published in Dev Talks



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AAA or indie, big or small, OPNoobs is looking for quality games made by talented people. It’s not about marketing budget or Twitch numbers, we bring you updates straight from the developers of the games you’re playing. We provide an unfiltered voice from inside the gaming industry. Anything published in OPN’s Straight From The Devs series is just that, and we hope our readers feel that this narrows the gap between them and the industry they follow so closely.

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