Overgrowth (PC) Interview

We had a chance to talk with John Graham of Wolfire Games about their upcoming release, Overgrowth. Overgrowth is the sequel to Lugaru.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and Wolfire Games?
Well David Rosen is the guy that started Wolfire Games. I've known David since kindergarten and had the good fortune to watch David make his first game. I used to sit next to David at recess as he used Hypercard's black and white graphics to program a stick figure war game. This game's success can be measured by the fact that it became popular with other students and was then promptly banned from school for being too violent.

David has continued making great games to this day. You may have heard of his early hit titles like FirePong, GLFighters, Black Shades and Lugaru. As David's games won awards and achieved recognition, he decided to group them together on what is now the Wolfire web site.

After single-handedly programming many games, turning down offers from big companies like Crytek and graduating from college, David decided he wanted to expand Wolfire into a full time company. David is now joined by his twin brother Jeff, Aubrey, Phillip and myself (John). Together we hope to help David realize his goal of making awesome games.

What aspects of Lugaru will carry over into Overgrowth?

Overgrowth will inherit Lugaru's streamlined fighting system. You can watch a Lugaru fight montage here. Lugaru was founded on the principle that you shouldn't have to button mash or memorize combos to win fights. Lugaru lets you stitch your own combos together on the fly.

Lugaru also never provides players with a dominant strategy. There is no move that always wins. In fact if you do the same move too many times, the AI anticipates your attack and punishes you. Thus no two fights are ever the same and the player is constantly forced to use mixed strategies. It's like playing a high speed rock, paper, scissor with medieval weapons.

Overgrowth will recapture and expand on these principles.

What demographics are Overgrowth aimed at?
Realistically males between the ages of 18 and 36 are most likely to enjoy Overgrowth. Honestly though, we're not doing any strategic targeting. We have a lot of ideas about what makes a great 3rd person adventure fighting game and if we do it right, we hope Overgrowth will have broad appeal.

Does Overgrowth run on a new engine?
Yes. Since Lugaru was released, Wolfire's Phoenix Engine has been completely overhauled...twice! David uses a lot of fancy words to explain what we're doing but it's best to just see things first-hand on our blog.

What types of characters will there be?
Wolfire Games OvergrowthSo far we've announced rabbits, wolves, rats and cats. Rabbits will be the most acrobatic because of their jumping ability but will not be very strong. Wolves will be powerful and barbaric but their rage will cause them to forgo certain tactical advantages. Rats will be capable of stealthy brutality but won't like fighting other creatures face to face. Cats will have both decent strength and agility, making them almost a mixture of rabbit and wolf attributes. Also, Aubrey made some concept art about whale men as a joke. However, we've received more than a few requests to actually put whale men in the game so we'll see what happens.

What new moves are being added to the combo system? and could you tell
us about the new grab button?

Wolfire Games Overgrowth
The grab button literally doubles the size of Overgrowth's potential move set. David doesn't want to reveal how the grab button will affect the combat system just yet. However, I can tell you that instead of Lugaru's passive system, where the characters automatically climb any edge they jump into, Overgrowth's new grab button will give the players precise, active climbing control.

What types of landscapes will be included?
The old favorites will return: grass, snow and desert. So far the team has done an excellent job of modeling the desert terrain. Other landscapes that might get added are rocky cliff sides and swamps.

Could you tell us how violent the game will be and the use of blood and gore?
Overgrowth will be extremely violent. David has spent a lot of time studying skeletal animation and physics so Overgrowth combat will be realistic and brutal. To get a hint at Overgrowth's potential for realistic violence, check out these initial blood effects.

What has been the most exciting part of working on Overgrowth so far?
The most exciting part of Overgrowth development has been watching our ideas transition from concepts to realities. Every week we have a little bit more to show for ourselves.

What are some of the challenges of developing an indie game?
Wolfire Games PumpkinThe biggest challenge for indie gaming companies is getting noticed. Even if we develop an amazing product, there will be some people that just won't hear about us. We're doing everything we can to reach foreign countries. We went so far as to ask our fans fluent in non-English languages to help us spread awareness of Overgrowth abroad. We called this project Overt Ops. If you're interested in helping us, please contact me.

Where will people be able to pick up a copy of Overgrowth, once it is released?
Well we'd certainly prefer it if most people purchase Overgrowth from our site, because then we get all the revenue. You can actually pre-order Overgrowth right now if you want to help support us. In return you will get access to our alphas and betas as they become available. We just released a new alpha yesterday and should have another one ready next week.

That being said, we are definitely doing our best to get noticed by publishers and online distributors. If anyone has any information on how we can find someone who can help us, please let us know.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!
Thank you for interviewing me.