City of Brass Interview – Talking About The First-Person Arabian Nights Inspired Rogue-Lite Game
Eight years have passed since the last main entry in Prince of Persia, the biggest Arabian Nights-inspired franchise in the games industry. For some reason, this setting is criminally underused by developers but thankfully Australian studio Uppercut Games is about to remedy that with City of Brass, its first-person action game with rogue-lite elements due on May 4th for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
In City of Brass, you'll play a thief hellbent on infiltrating a procedurally generated Arabian Nights-inspired metropolis to pilfer its fabled treasure. There'll be genies to barter with, too, in case that's your thing. Ahead of the game's launch, we were able to talk with Designer and Co-Founder Ed Orman who leads a small but experienced team with veterans from titles like Bioshock and Bioshock 2, Tribes: Vengeance, Fallout: Tactics and Freedom Force. Enjoy!
Why did you choose to make City of Brass a rogue-lite game instead of a more traditional narrative-based game?
Since we started Uppercut Games, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work on some wildly varied game types, and that freedom has been terrific. I’ve enjoyed jumping between different playstyles a lot: we’ve done games with deeper narrative structures, and we wanted to try something different this time around.
We’d also decided early on that the game was going to be procedurally generated – for both gameplay and production reasons. For us, that meant we had to limit the scope of any narrative because procedural stories are a whole different kettle of fish.
How did City of Brass fare so far on Steam Early Access, sales-wise? Are you satisfied?
Not as well as we’d hoped – we certainly haven’t reached the number of people that we wanted, and I suspect that’s part of the fact that Early Access as a thing is aging. With that said, the people who have bought and played the game have loved it (98% positive reviews!), and they’ve also given us a boat-load of useful feedback that has gone a long way towards shaping the final version of the game.
Would you like to possibly grow it into a franchise with a sequel, if the game sold enough on consoles?
Since we started Uppercut Games, we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work on some wildly varied game types, and that freedom has been terrific. I’ve enjoyed jumping between different playstyles a lot.
City of Brass is our first return to first-person (we have a decent history in that space back when we worked at 2K/Irrational), and it’s been terrific flexing those old muscles. As a game, it’s one of the most complete and polished we’ve created, but there’s always more that you want to add. So yes, given time and enough success, I’d love to do more in the City of Brass universe that we’ve created.
Are you planning to add any major free or paid DLC after launch?
We do have plans for free and paid DLC, but we don’t have anything to announce at this stage.
How long will it take to complete the campaign, on average?
That’s a difficult question to answer because we’re expecting players to learn a lot from dying. And because the game is procedurally generated – every level is different each time you start a new game - there’s a lot of replayability to be had.
If you had a perfect run, it would probably take you about an hour to get through all 13 levels … but that assumes you already know everything there is to know about the game – what traps to avoid, how to defeat enemies, how to use all of the gear and objects you find.
The game has been confirmed to be enhanced for the Xbox One X. Can you tell us the full specifications of this version as well as your thoughts on the hardware as a whole?
With an Xbox One X, the game will output HDR10 if your TV supports it. It’s also got 4K resolution, higher quality lighting and higher quality shadow resolution/draw distance. And of course, the framerate is higher. Basically, the game just looks and runs better.
Will City of Brass also be enhanced for the PlayStation 4 Pro? If so, how does it compare in terms of specifications (frame rate, resolution, settings etc.) with Xbox One X?
The PlayStation 4 Pro version runs with a similar level of quality to the Xbox One X, but without the HDR – that’s something we’re hoping to patch in at a later date. Also, the resolution on PS4 Pro is 1080p just like on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Do you have any interest in exploring a Nintendo Switch port for City of Brass?
I love my Switch. And the Unreal Engine supports Switch, so it’s something we are considering for the future.
I noticed that you made other two games prior to this one, Submerged and EPOCH. Any chances of those getting a console port later down the line?
Submerged actually launched on console and PC – in fact, we’ve been thrilled with how well it did on Xbox One and PlayStation 4; it continues to sell well for us now.
EPOCH was our very first game when we formed our own studio, and it launched on Apple mobile devices. We’ve since done a sequel and even a PC port of the first game, but we don’t have any plans for a port to console as it was designed with mobile in mind. Now a completely different game set in the EPOCH universe … that’s a different question entirely ☺
Thank you for your time.