Science fiction in RPG genre

There are not many sci-fi RPGs in the computer gaming world. Perhaps fantasy suits better for this genre, lots of elves, dwarfs, magic and so on. But when time comes and a new sci-fi RPG game is born, it`s usually a big event. And no doubt that Harbinger from Silverback Entertainment will be one as well.
There are not many sci-fi RPGs in the computer gaming world. Perhaps fantasy suits better for this genre, lots of elves, dwarfs, magic and so on. But when time comes and a new sci-fi RPG game is born, it`s usually a big event. And no doubt that Harbinger from Silverback Entertainment will be one as well.

Steve Macomber, Art Director / Co-founder of Silverback Entertainment answered a few questions for us. Here they are:

Doupě: First of all, could you please introduce your company to our readers?

Steve Macomber: We’re a small group of friends in Tucson who are really passionate about games. We got an opportunity to start our own development house, so we just ran with it.

Doupě: Do you have any previous game-development experience (undoubtedly:)?

S.M.: Most of us worked at Running With Scissors; another Tucson based company, for several years. We gained miles of development experience working on everything from children’s games to real-time strategy games.

Doupě: How long are you working on Harbinger?

S.M.: We’ve been working on Harbinger for just over two and a half years now and plan to release it this summer.

Doupě: Where did you go for inspiration? Especially for the Harbinger - ship - itself?

S.M.: Our inspiration comes from everywhere. We’re influenced by movies, books, games and magazines. Everything from Blade Runner to Heavy Metal.

Doupě: Could you tell us something more about the background story?

S.M.: The game begins on a giant warship orbiting a dead planet. The overlord who once commanded the ship has disappeared and rival factions are taking their first tentative steps toward seizing control. It’s against this background of conflict that the player will grow from a lowly refugee to a being of unimaginable power.

Harbinger Harbinger

Doupě: How many character classes will there be and what are their specifications?

S.M.: We have three different playable character classes. The most familiar is probably the human. He can use ranged and melee weapons along with a vast arsenal of drop items. These include things like controllable cameras (most armed with weapons or explosives), mines, and enemy-specific devices. The human also has access to a variety of different smart drugs to enhance his combat performance.

Our Gladiator character is a very large robot that, like the human, uses ranged and melee weapons. In addition, the Gladiator itself is a weapon capable of delivering electro-magnetic pulses, electricity, poison and more. This character also has drop items, but his are heavier, more robotic and generally more devastating than those used by the human.

The Culibine is the most alien of our characters having the unique capability of manipulating ambient energy for all of her attacks. She also uses a variety of amplifiers that, when activated, orbit around her and deliver punishment to her enemies.

All of these characters have unique skill sets and more importantly their own unique feel while playing.

Doupě: What will the gameplay look like? Will there be missions, quests, subquest and such stuff?

S.M.: Harbinger is a non-linear game that is filled with missions and sub-missions that become available based on the player’s decisions. In this way, the game offers a unique play experience each time through.

Doupě: How many weapons and which ones will the players be able to use?

S.M.: Though the exact number of weapons has not yet been set, we are providing a huge number of cool toys for the player to use. We have a variety of guns, blades, combination weapons, placeable mines, controllable cameras, amplifiers and enemy specific devices that are effective only under the correct circumstances.

Doupě: Will there be any special weapons and/or other items for each class?

S.M.: Absolutely! There is almost no crossover for item use between the different characters. Even health packs aren’t shared between classes. It really doesn’t make any sense for the human’s health back to work on a giant robot or with the Culibine’s alien physiology. The same can also be said for most weapons and armor. However, just because the player cannot use an item does not make the item worthless. They can still be sold or traded for something more useful.

Doupě: Strategy and tactics will be an important or rather minor part of the game?

S.M.: Strategy and tactics are very important. On the most basic level, each character has its own strengths and weaknesses that have to be taken into account. On top of this is the player’s equipment that plays a huge factor in how easy or difficult a particular mission is to complete. Finally, we have the environment itself that can be used and manipulated to the player’s advantage. So for almost every obstacle, there is a wide array of both effective and ineffective tactics that can be applied.

Doupě: How many NPCs will we meet on our journey?

S.M.: The player will build relationships with a handful NPCs, all with unique drives, behaviors and personalities that are designed to actually impact gameplay.

Harbinger Harbinger

Doupě: What are your graphics engine specifications?

S.M.: The programmers are still tweaking things, so it’s a little premature to give out specs. You do however need a 3D accelerator to play Harbinger, but beyond that, it’s a little too early to say.

Doupě: Do you have a publisher yet?

S.M.: Nope. Our agent is currently working with a number of publishers to get us the best deal.

Doupě: When will the game come out?

S.M.: We are shooting for this summer.

Doupě: Are there any other projects you`re working on right now?

S.M.: Currently we are focusing all of our energies on Harbinger.

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