First person tactical shooter Epsilon is the latest project for independant studio, Serellan, a company brim with veterans of the video games industry, one of whom is Christian Allen, the CEO and Creative Director for Serellan, who has worked on several high profile AAA titles such as Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Soldier 2, T.C’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 1 & 2, Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor and Halo Reach. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Christian about Epsilon.
PressA2Join: Can you tell me a little about the idea behind Epsilon?
Christian: Epsilon is an outgrowth of a combination of the development of an art style, and our community feedback.
In 2014, we were working with a large publisher on a game for their now spectacularly failed mobile device, and we developed a prototype for a game called Project Pi (a teaser can be viewed on our YouTube channel). Unfortunately, the device tanked and the game was shelved. We showed the footage of the game to our community, and in a 6000+ person survey, they let us know that they liked the art style but weren’t too into the gameplay concept (a FPS tower defense game).
So, we decided to combine the art style from Pi and squad based tactical gameplay, and Epsilon was born!
PA2J: How is Epsilon different to Takedown and will there be similar elements between the two?
Christian: Listing the ways in which TAKEDOWN is similar to Epsilon would be shorter than listing the ways that they are different. While born of the same DNA, TAKEDOWN focused on a hardcore, retro gameplay experience, while Epsilon focuses on giving users the tools and information to take down a formidable enemy in a uniquely presented, story driven, non-linear experience.
PA2J: Will Epsilon have a single player campaign or is it purely multiplayer driven?
Christian: Epsilon will definitely have a single player campaign. Our cinematics are presented in graphic-novel style, penned by noted artist Craig Gilmore (Ubisoft, DC, Marvel, AMC, etc), and we are telling the story of an elite team of international operatives who discover that that powers behind the target of their operation are more powerful than they ever could have believed.
PA2J: Is there anything you can tell us about the multiplayer maps, what players can expect to encounter?
Christian: While the release of MP is a bit out on the horizon, as we are an Early Access title, you can expect non-linear maps that emphasize planning, coordination, and realistic architectural design, not the standard choke-point driven fare. If you expect to win, you need to work together, communicate, and execute.
On the art side, expect a hyper-modern visual design. Our lead artist, herself a modern artist of many different styles, brings a unique and colourful style to a world cluttered with green and brown shooters.
PA2J: Will Epsilon be set in first person or third person view?
Christian: First. When we take over the world and surpass COD in sales, we can talk third.
PA2J: Can you tell me about the weapons that are likely to be used in the game?
Christian: Even though our setting is near-future, our weapons are real world. But, as a former Marine and FFL Collector, I know my guns. We are trying to step outside the bounds of the standard M4/MP5/Shotgun combo, without stepping into the world of the impossibly large, stupidly designed bro-weapons of sci-fi games. So you will see some cool stuff, like a bullpup AK 12 guage, a pistol firing taser rounds, etc.
Non-Lethal weapons will also be a focus, and there will be a gameplay benefit to completing missions without going into full on murder mode.
PA2J: Rich Douglas composed the score for Takedown and is again working on the sound for Epsilon, what can we expect sound wise?
Christian: Yes, Rich is back, and he is kicking ass! Since we are focusing on an international cast for Epsilon, Rich is doing experiments in a more ethnic and international vibe for our music. Not your standard Bill Brown clone. Rich has done great work for games like Insurgency, and he is excited to be sticking with Serellan for Epsilon.
PA2J: You have Artist Craig Gilmore working on the project, who has previously worked for D.C Comics and Marvel, what is it like to have someone of his talent working on the game?
Christian: It’s both an honor and a reunion. I worked with Craig when he was a storyboard artist for Ghost Recon back in the day, and since then his career has exploded. The fact that he would take time when he could be working for DC, Marvel, AMC, etc, and even his own projects to contribute to this game is just fucking awesome. Plus, I get to pump him for info about The Walking Dead, since he storyboarded so many key scenes. The graphic novel we are collaborating on together for Epsilon is going to be epic.
One cool thing about the graphic novel, is that those who buy the game will get the whole thing. Everyone else will need to buy it.
PA2J: You used Unreal Engine 3 for the making of Takedown are you using Engine 4 for Epsilon, if so what are the benefits?
Christian: It is night and day. We developed twice the number of features in UE4 with five people in 8 months than we did with 19 people in UE3 in 18 months. UE4 is crazy awesome.
PA2J: What platforms do you plan to release the game on and when can players expect to get their hands on Epsilon?
Christian: Right now, we are focused on PC. If gamers tell us different, then we will adjust. Being independent has it’s advantages, and being flexible is one of them. We will not screw one platform and release a shitty port. It’s just not how we roll.
PA2J: Is there anything else you would like to say about the game?
Christian: We have taken the learning from our past games and are applying them with a laser focus. Take some time, check it out, and let us know what you think. Don’t rely on the gaming press, since we don’t pay them. And think for yourself!
Massive thanks to Christian Allen for taking the time to chat with us.