Fernando Cruz is a passionate anime lover and devoted independent games developer and producer. Having this deep admiration for Cyberpunk themed worlds he and his small team are creating a 2D story driven adventure game with a stylish free flow combat system. Breakthrough Gaming talks to Fernando about the stunning work he and his team are putting into Evolutis.
How would you describe Evolutis to an uninformed player?
I’d describe Evolutis as a playable anime, that’s how we like to call it. We always dreamt about having a game where you could instead of watching an anime you could be playing it. So our main inspirations were Akira for animations and Ghost in the Shell for backgrounds. The game is divided into chapters but there is a lot of freedom so as you can see in the trailers the character is walking in the city so you can go and enter the arcade. We’re still thinking of having some playable arcades in the arcade area. You can go to other places and buy some food and things like that. The main goal in the game is to have good exploration to get the player engaged into it so they get more connected with the characters and the Cyberpunk world. You’ll be playing as 3 main characters and they’re facing hard times in their life. Our goal is to really make the player attached to these characters.
We also have diversity in our gameplay so hand to hand combat, exploration in some parts it’ll be up to the player whether your character talks or draws the gun. You won’t be facing the same enemies over and over again. There is a purpose in everything you are doing and it’s up to the players to make up what is going on in the world. It’s like a thriller and suspense type of game.
This sounds very ambitious having a variety of gameplay styles. Is that a challenge for you in development?
Wow a lot. Especially for the animations in order to make it look like a playable anime because we cannot cut the transitions. If you play normal 2D games you don’t see the transitions, you don’t see the character move his arms to hit and coming back to a neutral stance. In Evolutis it’s different we have all the transitions and it takes a lot of time and effort to make it look good. One of the publishers that tested our demo went ‘wow’ when you press the button it looks so beautiful like an anime. I think we’re making pretty great progress. It’s challenging but developers need to take risks or you’ll just be creating a common game. I’m not sure if you saw that David Cage, the creator of Heavy Rain and Detroit Become Human tweeted about us. I‘ve never met him before however I’m a huge fan of his and wow man, I was speechless. It was pretty awesome to be recognised by a such a person.
Yes, I was going to ask you about how that felt. How did the game catch his attention?
He mentioned a person called Alisa. I think she saw one of out tweets and she tweeted him and then I checked on her she follows us and David Cage
What’s the significance of the name Evolutis?
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with transhumanism and homoevolutis. So we are homosapiens and and we will become homoevolutis in the future. So that’s why the game is called Evolutis.
Is a Cyberpunk themed game something you always wanted to do?
Yeah but we’re not focused too much on the cyberpunk world that their is a government killing everyone. I think this is too generic. We’re more focused on the characters and what they’re going through in their lives, you know.
What are the differences between the characters?
Chelsea is a famous wrestler but in her life she’s a lonely person. The only thing she has in her life is her cat. Despite the fact that she makes a lot of money her life isn’t very happy. People may see her as a strong, awesome person because she is a wrestler and everyone wants to be like her but deep inside her life it’s totally different. It’s something that I believe happens to people who thinks a famous person’s life is perfect but it’s not like that at all.
Damon, he has just lost his wife, he’s in a deep depression. He’s thinking about killing himself in the beginning because he doesn’t see how to move on without his family. Throughout the game he’ll find out that maybe his family is still alive but the player will have to decide whether he’s going crazy or it’s really true what is going on
And finally Derrick he’s a drug addict, he’s really emotional so he doesn’t consider a lot before taking action. He just does the first thing that comes into his mind. Damon has more control over himself as his is a CEO of a company. Damon is more manipulative though and Derrick is a good person but he lets his emotions take control of himself.
What I found really impressive are the little snippets of combat that you post on Twitter. It looks very fluid; it looks very stylish. How do players pull off those moves?
It’s basically the same mechanic as the Batman Arkham games but in a 2d way of playing. In the trailer you can’t see the indicator above the enemies’ head for you to dodge enemies’ attacks and pull off combos. It’ll be quite similar. As Chelsea is a wrestler her body is her weapon. It’s different from the others Damon is more skilful with a gun while Derrick is not as skilled.
So they all play completely differently?
Do you play these characters individually or do you jump between characters?
So it’s like you play as Damon in a chapter and then it changes to Derrick and then it changes to Chelsea. You start playing little segments with each of them and then there is a part in the game when they’ll all be connected. Of course I can’t say too much about it right now.
So in terms of development how big is your team is it only a couple of you?
We have 3 members
And what’s the pros and cons of working in such a small little group?
The pros are that you can have a lot of ideas and work closer. I think it’s easier to manage. The cons would be you don’t have a lot of people for marketing which means I have to spend a lot of time out of development so I can do this, which sucks. We’re in talks with some publishers, some of them are really interested. I believe when we sign our contract with a publisher it will be better for us regarding these circumstances. Right now it’s a challenge to manage all these things.
The voice actors have also been very helpful all of them worked on Dragonball Z and Gundam. They help us a lot through Marketing on there Twitter pages
What stage in development are you in?
I’d say 10%
Have you got a release date in sight?
It’ll probably be in 2020
That’s quite a futuristic date, very fitting. Where can people pick up Evolutis when it comes out? I know it is very early days but would you like Evolutis to appear on consoles?
I’d love for Evolutis to appear on consoles at the same time it’s being released on Steam. It’s very early to say right now but we aim for it to be on all consoles.
It’s so common now to see indie games appear on Steam and a year later they appear on consoles and I love playing indie games on the Switch they’re perfect playing it on the commute to work.
I have a Switch too. I prefer playing indie games on Switch then other platforms. I love Playstation and Xbox as well and of course Vita. I think it’s pretty cool to play on Vita too.