Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival action shooter set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by monstrous creatures. Arriving on Xbox One later this month, challenge-seeking players looking for their game can look forward to 100+ unique enemies, 20+ epic bosses, and endless adventure. Gunfire Games Principal Designers Mike Maza and Ben Cureton provide some insight on designing an experience that wants players to learn through death.
Jared Browar: What is the allure of designing a challenging game like Remnant: From the Ashes?
Ben Cureton: Challenging games come with many unique player requirements. Some require heavy dexterity, some require meticulous planning, others quick reactions; among a host of other elements. With Remnant, we want to create an experience that places tough obstacles in front of the player, then give them a variety of tools and methods to overcome.
The allure of creating a game like this is that, because of the challenge – and the robust player toolset – we don’t even know every solution to every scenario. This means that, first of all, we expect that players will surprise us with their creativity, but even more importantly, we create a game that we can enjoy after is out in the wild. Overcoming tough obstacles feels amazing when you can figure out the solution on your own or with your friends. That’s the world we wanted to present to players.
JB: Challenging games have become more popular over the last decade. How did this approach become part of Remnant’s design and how does it improve the game?
BC: The challenge was the obstacle; an integral part of the journey, so to speak. We utilized the concept of challenge to help guide the design of our player’s toolset; melee, gunplay, mods, armor, amulets, trinkets, traits, boss weapons, etc. We’d look at an obstacle – a tough boss, a horde of enemies – and think about interesting ways to engage them. The more unique obstacles we came up with, the more potential solutions we would create. Over time, it formed into a cohesive combat system that utilized creativity and planning instead of twitch-based reactions. Ultimately, this provides a different gameplay experience… something we hope resonates with players as much as it does with us.
JB: How does Remnant reward players for their tenacity and triumphs?
Mike Maza: Remnant features a deep, compelling, and open-ended progression system. The game presents three iconic archetypes that serve only as a stepping stone for developing characters that cater to each player’s unique and personal playstyle. As players advance through the game, they will collect resources, consumables, gear and weapon mods that will improve their odds and open new tactics and strategies to explore.
Players are then free to upgrade and equip any item, weapon, or armor they find regardless of what initially came with archetype they chose. You want to play as a Scrapper that specializes in long-range weapons? Go for it. How about a Hunter that likes to wade into battle swinging devastating melee weapons? Not a problem… the game gives you the freedom to explore those possibilities and more. Players are also free to spend points in whatever passive Traits they unlock as they complete quests or events – all in an effort to craft exactly the type of hero that enhances the way they like to play.
JB: What will players who aren’t seeking challenge find in Remnant?
MM: We believe that all players are looking for a challenge when they play games… the difference is in how those challenges are presented and scaled. We will be honest here – Remnant’s combat is deliberate and unforgiving. Players will die and die often. Death is a certainty in Remnant, but we’ve found that, instead of being a negative, dying only serves to drive most players to persevere and overcome as they hone their abilities. Each failure is a learning experience and most players stack those experiences together, eventually developing the skills necessary to conquer the game’s many trials.
Thanks so much for reading, Survivors. I hope you’re a little more prepared for what Remnant: From the Ashes has in store for you on August 20. And don’t forget, if you pre-order now, you can gain access to the game early beginning on August 16. See you beyond the World Stone!