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Q&A: Recoil Games Reveals Eco-Themed FPS  Earth No More

Q&A: Recoil Games Reveals Eco-Themed FPS Earth No More Exclusive

May 18, 2009 | By Brandon Sheffield

Young independent Finnish game studio Recoil Games was founded by Remedy Entertainment (Max Payne) co-founder Samuli Syvahuoko, and first came onto the radar in 2007, revealing its debut game Earth No More in conjunction with 3D Realms.

The following year, 3D Realms founder Scott Miller announced his IP incubator Radar Group, which took over now-defunct Duke Nukem creator 3D Realms' duties on Earth No More.

The game, which is currently in development for PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, has been revealed as a shooter in which the Earth has risen up against its human occupants. Players see the world change around them from day one of a series of cataclysmic events, which leave all elements of nature curiously altered.

Gamasutra contacted Recoil to ask about the team's roots and technology, as well as debut the first two official screenshots from the game.

You have an international team working on this, with, if I recall correctly, seven foreign employees out of about 30 total, including several Americans. How does that work? Does English become the de facto language?

Samuli Syvahuoko: It's great to have a multinational studio, as that makes the company culture more interesting and helps us make a game that's more international in flavor. English has always been our main language and one can get by with English very well in Finland.

There have been a number of high-profile games lately about ruined utopias or apocalyptic landscapes. What do you think has prompted this trend?

SS: With the climate change, various natural disasters and the economic crisis, the world is going through some rough times that affect everyone living on the planet.

So, it's kind of fitting and logical that the settings in games and also movies are following similar themes. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned in all this?

Are you using your own technology or licensing?

SS: We are using Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 as the basis for Earth No More, but we have made several additions and enhancements, including our own rendering engine, to make the tech fit our game and to make it stand out and feel unique.

You founded Remedy, and it seems like most of the higher-level console developers in Finland have worked there. What do you see as Remedy's place in the Finnish industry? By contrast, how then does Recoil's mission differ?

SS: Remedy is certainly the crown jewel of the Finnish game industry. Everybody knows Max Payne and many people are anxiously waiting for Alan Wake, me included.

However, there is plenty of room in Finland for more developers to grow and create some very cool games.

Our mission at Recoil is to push gameplay in new innovative directions and carve out a sub-genre of our own. Pushing the graphical envelope is also a long-standing Finnish tradition that comes naturally for us.

The demoscene has been really important to the Finnish game industry in the past, with most game company founders having risen from that environment. Do you still hire out of the demoscene? How do you think the scene's roots have affected the current state of development in Finland?

SS: Finland has always been an active demo scene country and, yes, that's where most game companies have their roots.

The demo scene is a great "preschool" for learning the art of optimized programming and amazing graphical effects. However, nothing beats actual game development experience and that's what we value the most with anyone wanting to join our team.

Has the closure of 3D Realms had any effect on the studio?

SS: No, the situation at 3D Realms has no effect on us or Earth No More.

Can you talk about the game's release date?

SS: We are keeping all the doors open for now. Once we have a publisher in the picture, we will figure all this stuff out.

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