Grip Digital s.r.o. and Teotl Studios recently unveiled their forthcoming game, The Solus Project, which is jointly developed and published by the two companies. The Solus Project is a first-person single-player survival game, headed to PC and as a console exclusive to Xbox One, via the ID@Xbox self-publishing program.
The following is an interview with Sjoerd de Jong from Teotl and Jakub Mikyska from Grip Games:
1. How did you come up with the idea of The Solus Project?
Sjoerd: Around 2011 after we wrapped up The Ball I began thinking of what we could do next. Since I have a background in level and environment design, my thinking was very oriented towards something based on cool environments. The first draft design of TSP was a colony on Mars that got abandoned, and you would try to survive it. That then over time, also due to influence of series like Lost (began watching that in 2012 only), morphed into an alien planet far away on which strange things were happening.
In general most of what I design is strongly influenced by popular movies, games and comics that I experienced when I was growing up. The first Unreal game had a major impact on me, but also Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, and I also read tons of local comic books about kids exploring strange far away places. That sense of adventure coupled to the colorful alien planets of Unreal, combined with the ancient monuments and mysteries of Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider is basically what The Solus Project presents. And on top of that I also have a weak for the mystery of ancient astronaut theories so that is thrown into the mix also.
2. Would you say that it’s easier or more difficult to coordinate between two development teams? How do you decide who does what?
Jakub: It certainly is a challenge, but on the other hand, we believe that in the current over-saturated and super-competitive climate, independent developers will only stand a chance if they work together, pool the resources and each of them focuses on what they are good at, making the best possible game together. Responsibilities were set right at the beginning of the project. Our team is more responsible for the Xbox One version and some specific game features, while Sjoerd’s team is the main development and creative force behind the project.
3. What has been your biggest challenge with The Solus Project so far?
Sjoerd: Hm, it is probably striking the balance between being too obvious, and too vague what you want the player to see and find. If everything is super clear then it beats the point of doing an exploration game that is all about unraveling the mystery of the planet. But on the other hand if it is too well hidden then people get lost and lose interest. Getting that balance right is not easy. We’ve been moving a little bit more towards making things a bit easier to understand, but at the same time we are keeping some very hidden secrets and large hidden level sections in also for those players who really want to investigate every little corner.
4. Will The Solus Project be included as a Game Preview on Xbox One?
Jakub: I cannot confirm or deny that at the moment. We are certainly interested in the Game Preview on Xbox One and are in talks with Microsoft regarding this. They are going to hand-pick only a very few titles and we would be very honored to be among them. Let’s see.
5. Last but not least, if you could be any video game character, who would you be?
Sjoerd: Hard to say. Since I am so focused on world creation, I tend to be more into the game worlds than the characters. As of such the main character in The Solus Project has no name and no real personality either. We want the player to focus on the world instead. My favorite game worlds are the ones from Unreal and Morrowind.
The Solus Project will be released for PC and Xbox One in early 2016. We’d like to thank both Jakub and Sjoerd for taking the time to interview with us.
Related: E3 2015 The Solus Project Announced