Hover: Revolt of Gamers Interview – Mirror’s Edge Meets Jet Set Radio
Gaming, like cinema or even TV shows, is defined by trends. A few years ago, for example, the old timers were mourning the sudden disappearance of space simulators; we are almost overwhelmed by them today.
Another trend is the increased presence of parkour/free form movement in games. Hover: Revolt of Gamers (funded on Kickstarter in early 2014) is based around it as well, though it is also unique in other ways, such as the complete absence of combat by design. After yesterday's appetizer, here's the full interview with Midgar Studio's CEO Jérémy ZELER-MAURY from our chat at Paris Games Week.
- What were your main inspirations for Hover: Revolt of Gamers?
- Hover is inspired by Mirror's Edge for the gameplay and Jet Set Radio for the visual style. As for the city, we have been inspired by movies like Star Wars or The Fifth Element. We wanted to create a huge futuristic city.
- When you had the Kickstarter campaign, many gamers were vocal about missing Mirror's Edge-like parkour gameplay and flocked to support the game. However, now the new Mirror's Edge has been announced and will be released before Hover – are you disappointed by this fact?
- No, because Hover is really different from Mirror's Edge. Mirror's Edge is a game where you start from one point and go to another through missions. Hover is absolutely not like that, it's like GTA in that the city is a hub and we have a lot of missions; also, Hover is a multiplayer and you can do online missions with other people and there are even dungeons where you can go. There are two types of gameplay. There's hardcore with the dungeons and there's more casual with the city, so it's really kind of different; moreover, in Mirror's Edge there's a little bit of violence whereas we do not have violence of any kind in Hover, and of course the visual style is completely different. So yeah, it's a parkour game but Dying Light is also a parkour game!
- You've been on Steam Early Access for a while. Can you tell us anything about the final release date of the game?
- We are actually looking for some kind of deals that can accelerate the process of development. We really want, in the next months, to speed up development by increasing our budget, but until I have something solid I don't want to announce any kind of release date because I don't want to disappoint people.
- It will be next year though, right?
- Yes, it will be next year – that's sure!
- Hover will also release on consoles. Can you tell us anything about the development of these versions?
- They're progressing well. There's absolutely no problem, I've been working on consoles for a long time and the technical part is not really an issue. The most complicated part about releasing on consoles is complying with the requirements of the manufacturers and right now I cannot say how much time it will take after the PC version, but by using Unity we know that compatibility won't be a problem.
- In terms of resolution and frame rate for consoles, can players expect 60FPS for Hover?
- Yes, it will run at 60FPS on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
- What about the resolution?
- 1080P on both.
- What about the WiiU version of the game?
- The WiiU version of Hover is the most complicated thing and will be done after the console releases on PS4 and XB1. It will require us to recreate the game from scratch in terms of graphics. We're using Physically Based Rendering and other rendering technologies that don't really run well on WiiU. Also, we promised during the Kickstarter campaign that we would tune the gameplay properly, we don't want to do a cheap port, so it will take some time.
- Is Hover running on Unity 5?
- Are you using their new real time Global Illumination system?
- No, because Hover is using a dynamic day/night cycle. We created some techniques to fake global illumination by changing ambient lights depending on the time of day, so like Edge of Eternity, we use many in-house modifications to the rendering pipeline because both games are demanding in terms of space since they have open worlds rather than linear levels. Unity's lighting system is really suited for small scale levels, so we had to create new technologies to match the open world scale.
- So you had to modify the engine.
- Yeah, a lot!
- What about adding DirectX 12 to Hover?
- Why not? But Hover is less demanding than Edge of Eternity, so it's less important for this game.
- Do you intend to release more content (free or paid) to Hover after the release?
- Honestly, it will depend a lot if the game sells well. By being independent, we love our game and we want to extend it and offer free content to the people, but we also need to live. If the game sells well, yes, we'll do free content; if it doesn't, though, we'll be obligated to start focusing on a new project. We'd really like to do free content, though.
- Thank you for your time.