Interview: New Horizon Games Brings Empire Eden to Life

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March 6, 2013 by khrisgolder

Empire Eden_1New Horizon Games talks to GamerCheese about their first project, Empire Eden. Ryan DeGange, Chriss Legasse, and Luke Butler explain why they think their tight knit team has something special in this homage to games like Metal Slug, Contra, and Metroid.

Khris Golder: Ryan, you were previously working on another interesting side-scroller called Virus Effect. Will it ever be completed?

Ryan DeGange: I actually started doing some art for virus effect many years ago when I was in the Marines. It was very fun, but the creator decided to pursue other ventures… So any hopes for Virus Effect faded away. I’ve watched teams lose interest in games time and time again. This is the reason I decided to take the reins on a project of my own.  Empire Eden will not suffer the same fate…

Empire Eden_6

Ryan, Chris, and Luke are making sure Empire Eden will be made

KG: It’s a shame to hear about Virus Effect, but it is good news that you’re in charge of EE. What was it like working with Corv Studios?

Ryan DeGange: It was enjoyable, and a great learning experience… But it was hard to communicate as often as I wanted to while being on active duty in the military.

KG: Chris, how did MiniFlake prepare you for your work on EE?

Chris Legasse: Working on MiniFlake helped me find all the strange nooks and crannies that are hidden in Gamemaker: Studio. If it weren’t for MiniFlake, it likely would have taken me a good deal longer to do the programming on EE.

KG: The last update on Desura was in January 13. When do you think MiniFlake will be finished, and are you finished with all the art assets?

Chris Legasse: MiniFlake hasn’t been updated in a good while, but I’m still hard at work on Alpha, which is a big one. I don’t expect the game to be finished any sooner than 6 months from now. Much of the artwork is still left to be done, as well as just general planning that needs to take place to smoothen out the programming process.

KG: Before MiniFlake, you also made 3-D art assets on YOYOgames a while back, which leads me to believe you could be involved in any number of art styles. What attracted you to the style of Empire Eden?

Empire Eden_2Chris Legasse: Honestly, for me the biggest appeal that EE has is the fact that I don’t have to provide any of the art assets and I can still rest assured in the fact that the game will come out looking great. I’m a big fan of retro gaming, as is evident in much of the work of my past. I saw EE’s mockup artwork and it instantly clicked with me.

KG: Luke, what other projects have you worked on?

Luke Butler: Well I can start off by saying that Empire Eden is the first project I’ve been a part of that has made it to this stage in development. I’ve had long discussions in the past with close friends about things we think would make a great game, but none of our ideas have ever come to life like this.

KG: What do you consider important in video game storytelling?

Luke Butler: As far as important story elements in games are concerned, I think establishing a bond with the other main characters in the story is crucial.

KG: Are you aware that you and Chris look like you could be brothers?

Luke Butler: Yeah on the whole Chris issue, it does look like we could be related. He’s got a wicked stache on me though. Props to him for that.

KG: Ryan, how long has the game been in development, and how close is the game to completion at this time?

Chris Legasse: Ryan and Luke began the story back in July of 2012. Art assets started forming for fun around August of 2012 at a pretty slow pace until finally deciding that this game should actually exist.Empire Eden_4Luke Butler: Jan 1st, 2013 we chose to actually make Empire Eden a reality and went looking for a programmer.

Ryan DeGange: We found Chris 7 days later on Tigsource, and we’ve all been working 12+ hour days since.

KG: What can gamers expect to see out of EE’s gameplay?

Ryan DeGange: Like the old saying goes, “There is nothing new under the sun”…
Although specific mechanics may exist in other games already, I
believe the combination of elements that are in Empire Eden will have
every player begging for a sequel.

Empire Eden_3 Animal

Animal Powers in action

Things you can expect to see:

-An entire spirit world
-Multiple animal forms
-Mode 7 environments
-Moving environments (trains, elevators, large bosses)
-Riding horses, hover bikes, controlling machinery with heavy weapons -Choosing the direction you will go during and after each zone/area
-Gripping story
-Multiple Endings
-Replay value, (new areas and items unlocked after playthroughs and achievements met)
-A game that never slows down
-Tons of environments and enemies
-Questing
-Blood, gore, nudity

KG: Sounds like almost everything. We want to know about the chemistry between the three of you. Explain how you guys have worked together to get as far as you have on an independent project.

Ryan DeGange: I’ve known Luke for 12 years. We grew up playing games and talking about game ideas with our group of friends. Chris has only been around for about 2 months, but works insanely fast. Our team always seems to hash out bugs/issues in a matter of minutes. All three of us basically have an identical vision of what we want the final product to be.

KG: Shared vision is hugely important when completing an independent project, and it’s good to see the three of you mesh so well. It’s sure to pay off in the long run. Thanks for telling us all about it, and we hope people check out the KickStarter campaign!

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