AquaNox 2: Revelation © Massive Development / Jowood Interview
By Andreas ‘Interman’ Misund
One year ago AquaNox 1 was released, and a lot of hype followed it. It was one of the first games that could utilize the most advanced graphics features in modern hardware. It was a fun game that took place in a underwater city, filled to the brim with villains and tons of missions to perform. The sequel should be very interesting for fans of the first one, since it improves just about everything, and adds tons of new content. We were itching for more details about this game, so here's our interview with Alexander Jorias, co-founder of Massive Development, the team Behind Aquanox 2: Revelation!
First off, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Alexander Jorias. I’m the Managing Director and cofounder of Massive Development. Besides the business part I’m currently involved in gamedesign and programming of AquaNox2:Revelation.
When did you decide to create a sequel to AquaNox, and what did you then want to improve?
The decision has been made in late 2001, when all the ideas we had had been revised and it became clear that there are still a lot of things we wanted to improve on AquaNox. So we said: okay, let’s do it: improved interface, tighter story, better voice-overs, a more tactical setup for the combat and that cool bonus and reward system we had in mind.
For those who haven’t tried the original AquaNox, could you briefly explain what it’s about?
It’s a fast-paced action game, where the player steers a futuristic one man submarine through somewhat 30 missions. The player has nearly total freedom of movement in all three dimensions, but the controls are not that of a simulation game.
All this is set in the world of Aqua, which actually is the earth in the year 2666, where the surface has become uninhabitable. But mankind hasn’t learned too much from past devastations and so wars, religious fundamentalism and the uncontrolled power of money rule again. This scenario allows us to accompany the action with great story.
Also, what is the story about this time around, and will you use any particularly different means of telling it?
Yes, definitely. The story of AquaNox2: Revelation takes place at the same time as AquaNox, but the civil war which was the background of AquaNox now comes only as a silent echo. The story is much more private. A treasure hunt, where a young man, William Drake, inherits the last remains of a once huge trade company: the last freighter called “Harvester” – and sets of rather to see some adventure than the rise of a new trading empire. The player takes the role of William Drake.
There are much less acting characters in the stoty now, but this gives the player to actually get the single character to know much better: to understand his motives, see the cracks in them, feel with them.
Could you give us an example of a mission?
Missions usually come with a main target and a couple of bonus targets. You have to fulfil the main target, but it’s up what you make with the bonus targets. An example: There’s a scientist endangered by some cannibalistic Crawlers. You have to free her and guide her to the “Harvester”. There are a lot of wrong warnings of attacks or suspicious radar scannings. Not a lot happens for a while, though due to the bonus goals the player will be rewarded for any kind of curiosity. After a while the small convoy stumbles over a pirate’s nest and now the player finds himself involved in stealth combat in an old ruined under water station. He has to deal with snipers, dogfights, torpedo towers, all such things.
Later to the end of the mission he sees himself in open combat against a bunch of Crawlers: 4 or 5 fast, agile submarines.
AquaNox 1 certainly looked impressive when it was released. What plans do you have to follow this up? Have any other technical aspects been changed?
We added everything to our krass engine ™ modern gfx boards are capable off: cool environmental effects, the newest pixel and vertex shading technologies and everything else, DirectX 8.1 supports. We also overhauled our large scale plant rendering system, so now we are able to render a couple of ten thousand plants at the same time.
When it comes to story presentation we wanted to give the player a better feeling for the world of Aqua. So we pre-rendered all stations in the game, all rooms and all characters. The player gets the very mood of each specific location: its sounds, its look, the characters living there.
We wanted to have AquaNox2: Revelation looks much darker, Blade Runner-like, more grown-up. And we definitely reached this goal.
How about gameplay changes? Can we expect any new and exciting weapons, upgrades perhaps?
The gameplay changes are on several different levels. The most important change is the switch from the “one mission – one goal” setting in AquaNox to the “one mission - one main target plus a lot of bonus targets” setting in AquaNox2: Revelation. The next big step was a result of the story setting. If youz’re on a huge trading ship cruising the oceans the next weapon shop usually isn’t around the bend. So the AquaNox system of a reward in money was changed to a booty system: one of the guys on board of the “Harvester” will go out after the mission and collect all the weapons, torpedos and stuff floating around. That’s what your new equipment comes from most of the game.
Since different bonus targets give you different reward there’s a tactical momentum to the decision, if only onbe out of two bonus targets are possible in the given situation
And of course there are new weapons, new special items and a lot of other new stuff, but they mostly belong to the story and we don’t want to spoil that.
Did you attend the recent ECTS expo? If yes, how was your experience?
No, we concentrated on the development of AquaNox2: Revelation and skipped this years ECTS.
What is the new feature you like the most about AquaNox 2?
The bonus targets combined with the booty system is incredibly cool and adds a lot of tactical options to the game. We are very proud of the new controls. Now you can play AquaNox2:Revlation however you like. Like AquaNox (classic fps mouse / wasd), like Archimedean Dynasty (joystick), like Descent (complete freedom in space), enable or disabe looping, rolling, banking a.s.o. It is up to you. Besides we have full support for the latest joysticks (incl. ForceFeedback) and the game comes with presets for all major input devices.
Is there anything else you would like to include?
Expect AquaNox2: Revelation to be the most impressive under water experience since your last visit on the Titanic when Leviathan came by to meet you.