E3 2012: We chat with Tequila Works about Deadlight

Microsoft will be releasing a number of original and exclusive Xbox 360 games this summer via Xbox Live Arcade. One of those games is Deadlight, an impressive looking 2D side-scrolling zombie action game from developer Tequila Works. The game got a lot of media praise earlier this year, thanks in part to some impressive looking trailers. NeoGamr recently got Raul Rubio of Tequila Works to give us some more info about Deadlight.

First, how did the idea for Deadlight come about?

Tequila Works was founded in November 2009, when a group of old friends and talented veterans from Blizzard, MercurySteam, Weta, Triumph, SCEE and Pyro decided to focus on tasteful little creations.  Something we could feel proud of. Most of us had worked together before, and our highlights include, among others, Diablo III, Heavy Rain, the Motorstorm and Commandos sagas, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow or Overlord II.

We wanted to really enjoy again with what we do, and let our artisan spirit dominate all our creations. This mix of might, logic and traditional attention to detail is what makes Tequila Works a place where everybody must get passionately involved with the universes we create. Projects are enriched by the collective vision. Couldn’t work on project we don’t feel a passion for. We create our own universes because we want the player to experiment something specific, something unique and special.

What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?

Deadlight is set in 1986. We can rewrite history and play with the player’s own memories. This is an alternate world after all. The 80s have a unique visual appeal, and also marks the beginning of the end of the Cold War. Paranoia and fear defined most of the 80s; add chaos to remove civilization and you will get a world based in distrust and individual survival.

From a design point of view, it was challenging to contextualize elements typical of platform games. But it allows us to create a unique yet familiar universe.

The first gameplay trailer for Deadlight has generated a ton of praise..did you expect that kind of reception?

No we were not expecting so much praise, we were thrilled, we are now trying to keep the same level of quality for all our materials, and I hope that the game will please you as much as the first gameplay trailer.

How hard was it to make a zombie survival game with a 2D viewpoint?

It has been a challenge as we looked at combining 2D gameplay to 3D detailed graphics with old-school gameplay to create a better experience by controlling what you have on screen and how it is presented.

What sort of weapons and abilities can players expect to use in Deadlight?

There are more enemies than bullets, and noise is a key mechanic in Deadlight, so you'll need to use your weapons wisely. Randall finds tools and small firearms during the game, but these are more useful as ways of unblocking paths than killing.

How dangerous are the zombies in the game?

They are pretty nasty, always watch your back… They are dumb, but tireless, and in vast numbers

What other aspects of Deadlight do you think are important?

Deadlight is a narrative driven experience. Randall is alone most of the time and his character is introverted and slightly paranoid. Deadlight’s story goes back to the character, it’s Randall’s inner journey.  There are not hidden evils in the shadows, just you and your fears. I hope you enjoyed our last trailer. Then again, think what YOU would do in this situation. With no weapons or gadgets. We take so many things for granted! For example, the power of noise and using yourself as a life bait. When you are in a dead world, every little sound is amplified.

Why did you decide to work with Microsoft to make it an Xbox 360 exclusive title?

This is our first downloadable game –coming from retail projects-, and Microsoft Studios came to us, really caring about the game without being intrusive with our creative decisions. They let us create and they take care of the rest.

What is the current status of the game's development and when will it be released?

The game is in its final shaping it will come this summer.

Finally is there anything else you wish to say about Deadlight?

We've been putting all our experience, and imagination into this game, we hope you'll really enjoy playing it.

NeoGamr and Neowin's coverage of E3 2012 is sponsored by War Inc. Battle Zone.

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