Severed: Old School Influences in a New Generation

The Toronto-based studio that has brought us award winning titles such as Guacamelee! and Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack, is creating yet another new property. Titled Severed, other than the visual art style, this is very different from what the developer is known for, using touch-based gestures as a means of interaction. We were able to sit down with designer Chris McQuinn to get a better understanding of the mechanics and their general vision.

The development of Severed is still very much in its early stages. DrinkBox Studios still hasn’t finalized the release platforms, with what they showed and announced at PAX being early prototype footage. It was stated that iOS, Android, Vita and possibly 3DS versions would make sense, but nothing is set in stone just yet. This is a touch-based gesture game where the player will face off against various monstrous creatures in a one-on-one fight. There is the possibility that this system will transition over to Kinect or Move like instruments, using motion gestures as actions, but being so early on in creation, the team is focused on working with touch controls first.

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There’s not a lot of story revealed, unfortunately. A young woman wakes up in a dream-like (or possibly nightmare) world and has to survive the ugly events. The world itself is non-linear, meaning that while there is a pathway to a definitive conclusion, it’s up to the player to decide where to go first. It was compared to Mega Man, going from stage to stage and fighting various unique enemies. The difference here is that instead of stages, you are going through different rooms. Once inside a room, players will be able to swipe in a 360 degree radius and strategically choose which monsters they want to fight in which order.

While the developer is mainly known for their platformers, Severed is more of a light RPG. There is no inventory system, but the heroine will obtain new spells and better armor, reflected through the visual aesthetic, throughout the campaign. Infinity Blade was a significant influence, but they wanted to have something a little deeper, merging it with a more Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out! style of combat. Here, in a first person perspective, the player will need to take advantage of an enemy’s hidden weaknesses, while maintaining their ability to avoid damage.

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Another intriguing aspect to Severed is its music. While details are still sketchy, Chris did mention that they are working with various artists in the Toronto area, specifically the recent Juno-nominated Yamantaka // Sonic Team. There seems to be a good collaboration between the two as DrinkBox is drawing some of its art around the music they’re producing, and Yamantaka is doing the same around scenarios that are written up. Because of the rather unsettling setting Severed takes place in, it’s a goal for them to find “eerie-unique sounds” that resonate with the events around the young woman, and you can tell just based on the announcement trailer that they hit the nail on the head.

DrinkBox Studios continues to innovate in their respective space, offering up unparalleled experiences that does the gaming world proud. While Severed is still in the early stages of development, DrinkBox is hopeful they’ll be able to release the game sometime in first half of next year. What platforms it will appear on is still up in the air, but this is definitely one we can’t wait to see more of.