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This episode is part of a series of interviews with developers. Check out this page for more of them.
As the topic of this episode is a survival horror game, we ask that you please listen responsibly and consider anyone who may unintentionally be listening, too.
We were joined by Evan Wolbach for this episode. He is the developer behind the Outbreak series of survival horror
something both Jay and Squidge are into
more Jay’s genre of choice
No pants means no rules
And Squidge couldn’t have been more correct.
We wasted no time in getting to know Evan, and leapt straight in with a discussion about how he go into making video games, why he chose survival horror, and just how many possible camera systems his games have.
Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark (series)… this is a loving homage to all of them
It seems that Evan is a big fan of the early survival horror games - particularly the classics of the 90s, and the multiplayer titles of the early 2000s - and it was mainly due to the fact that Capcom (et al.) weren’t producing survival horror games in 2015 which drove Evan to try his hand at it with the first Outbreak game - quite simply titled: Outbreak.
A lot of people think, "I’ll take a computer science degree, then I’ll go make games." But then they get out in the real world and realise that they need to pay the bills first.
But not all of the titles are about dispatching wave after wave of the undead, as is the case with Outbreak: Lost Hope
You’re just kind of alone on a giant map, and you’re trying to explore and find your way around, and find resources. You can’t really kill every enemy, so you have to get really clever, and run away and hide
The Recent Games segment will not be new to listeners, but in case you’re new to the show here’s how it goes: we go round the table and discuss one or more games that we’ve been playing recently, and whether we think it’s worth the listeners checking it out. We continue to do this until we’ve run out of games to discuss.
I love to hear what everyone’s been playing, and whether they would recommend it.
And, of course, we shared ours too. Would we recommend the games that we’ve all been playing? Or course!
Evan’s Recent Games
As is tradition, we asked our guest to go first.
Evan, being a full-time dev, doesn’t have a huge amount of time to play games these days. Although he had managed to put in a few hours with
Resident Evil Village
Final Fantasy VII Remake
I look at games like [Final Fantasy VII Remake) as a triumph of engineering and a sign of things to come
And of course, Jay brings up the “Dino Crisis remake in the RE Engine” point again - it’s not as if Capcom are going to make it simply because he shouts up about it so much.
And Evan agreed, going so far as to point to the design and look of Resident Evil 3’s remake as a basis for what it could look and play like.
Squidge’s Recent Games
Streets of Rage 4
As mentioned in the previous episode of the podcast
Jay had discovered a series of mods for the original PC releases of Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3 - the so called Classic REbirth mod from Apple of Eden. These mods allows you to play the original PC release of Resident Evil (as in the 1996 game) on windows 10, with a number of bug fixes and quality improvements.
Squidge would definitely recommend them.
So that’s all I’ve been doing: beating people up, and raging out on zombies
Jay’s Recent Games
In his excitement to talk more about the Outbreak series, and to see what Evan would take with him to the Thunder Plains
Jay completely forgot to talk about what he’d been playing. But rest assured that he hadn’t played a great deal.
but for copyright reasons, it is completely different
Imagine that you are in Final Fantasy X, and the Thunder Plains is a place that you get banished to. And what we’re going to do is we’re going to open a portal to the Thunder Plains and, very nicely and politely, boot you through it. You will get help, maybe it will be tomorrow, maybe it will be in a week, maybe it will be in an hour.
To stop you from getting bored, we’ve said that we’ll keep the portal open and we’ll throw through up to three video games and everything you need to play them - including an Internet connection. The only rules are that you can’t ask for help, because help is on the way, and you can’t tell anyone that you’re in the Thunder Plains.
So our question is: were we to do throw, boot, or yeet you through the portal, which games are we throwing through with you?
Resident Evil 3
Evan sounds like he would immediately have a great time in the Thunder Plains
Sounds like he’s a glutton for punishment, too
With there being so much to do, and the inclusion of Mercenaries mode, the third title could provide quite a lot of entertainment whilst stuck in the Thunder Plains.
Outbreak: Endless Nightmares
With outbreak: Endless Nightmares being the latest in the series of games, we’d asked Evan to be on the show and talk about it and the series that it’s part of. This latest entry
as you’ll hear in the episode
has three different camera systems, boasts endless rogue-like replay-ability, and an aesthetic look and feel which should feel right at home with almost any survival horror fan.
[the camera angles] played very nicely into the feeling of claustrophobia and uneasiness that I was going for
Squidge, not the world’s biggest fan of rogue-like games, loved playing Outbreak: Endless Nightmares. There’s something about the combination of survival horror and rogue-like gameplay which really spoke to him. He ended up in a “one more go” loop, for the majority of his play time.
What I didn’t realise was that the enemies level up with you
Unlike a lot of other titles out there, Evan had decided on a hands-off approach for guiding players through the game
pro tip: follow the music
as this gives more of a feeling of realism
in a game where the dead walk the Earth, obviously
as that would be the case in real life: no one would be around to tell you what to do.
It’s up to you to figure out how to use your map and to keep exploring
All the Game Modes, So Many Game Modes
Standard, randomised, one-shot, iron man (permadeath mode), these are just a few of the different game modes that Endless Nightmares brings. What gives?
The reason there are so many is just to keep tailoring the experience to the player
On top of that, there’s an easy mode inspired by the easy mode of the original Resident Evil 2
which starts you off with a machine gun, get twice as much ammo, and deal twice as much damage
Evan calls this “Rambo mode,” and that makes sense. Even though he was worried that it made the game too easy, he had messages from some players asking to make easy mode easier.
you can’t please everyone
And the majority of the other modes (randomiser, iron man, etc.) where inspired by fans of other survival horror games.
Those were inspired by the survival horror community, seeing what mods people were making for the classic Resident Evil games.
And Lost Hope is a mixture of both randomiser and iron man, to give the player absolutely no hope - apparently.
If you wanna throw your controller, go play that mode
There was a lot more conversation that just this, so please do consider listening to the episode