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Developer Interview: Renegade Kid Tells Us More About Cult County

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

"It was important to us that our new FPS presented something unique"

Last week, just before its unveiling at PAX East, Renegade Kid revealed its upcoming 3DS eShop FPS title that had been confirmed earlier in the year. The accompanying logo and screens revealed relatively little, but did make it clear that the aptly-titled Cult County had a rather mysterious, spooky survival-horror vibe — the character shown is clutching a wrench, after all, rather than a powerful gun. Its aged horror-movie styled filter was also in evidence, suggesting a stylised approach that promises, as a download-only FPS, to be a unique prospect on 3DS.

Of course, Renegade Kid has a strong legacy in first-person titles on Nintendo handhelds, with Dementium: The Ward, Dementium II and Moon all earning some praise on DS.

With relatively little known about Cult County since its debut at PAX East, we decided to catch up with studio co-founder Jools Watsham to learn more.

Nintendo Life: First of all, as you've shown this game at PAX East this past weekend, can you tell us how players have reacted to it so far?

Jools Watsham: At PAX East we had Mutant Mudds Deluxe and ATV Wild Ride 3D on display for everyone to see and play. However, we deliberately kept the 3DS unit with the Cult County atmosphere demo concealed from sight at our booth. We had a tall vertical banner on display, as we did for our other titles, but the game demo was not openly displayed. The reason for this was so those who sought out our new FPS would be the ones to experience the game. We were approached by many interested players who had heard about the game and wanted to play it. This way, only true fans of the genre or our previous FPS titles would get some hands-on time with Cult County.

This approach ensured that the feedback we received was based on their prior knowledge and experience with our previous titles or other FPS games. The response we got from players was fantastic. Many people immediately commented on the windy dust particle effect that swept through the scene, which really added a tremendous atmosphere to the environment. Other aspects of the demo that were called out included the 3D effect, real-time lighting, shadows, and the attention-to-detail of the surrounding area that featured windmills, oil-pumps, and trees blowing in the wind. Our goal was to set an interesting and eerie atmosphere, and based on the players reactions we achieved our goal.

NL: Can you give us a brief overview of the setting and storyline for Cult County?

JW: Cult County is set in a small west Texas town. It is a town experiencing severe dust storms, as well as some other disturbances. You visit the town in search of a family member. Things start to get weird and then the real fun begins. We'll have details on the story later this year.

I feel as though we have had a good distance away from our earlier FPS titles, which gives us a good perspective on what we want to do with Cult County.

NL: With the studio's beginnings of producing three well-received first-person titles on DS, has this project felt like a return to your origins?

JW: Yes, it feels really good to return to the first-person survival horror genre. I feel as though we have had a good distance away from our earlier FPS titles, which gives us a good perspective on what we want to do with Cult County.

NL: The screenshots you've released show a rather mysterious, intimidating churchyard with a filter effect. What led to this style choice?

JW: We spent a lot of time discussing different locations and themes. It was important to us that our new FPS presented something unique. Something that helped define it and allowed it to be easily identified within the FPS genre. It was also important to create a naturally eerie setting. One that could be pushed to present a truly scary atmosphere. One of our main goals with the development of Cult County was to present a very tense experience. More of a slow burn, than an explosive one.

NL: We see a wrench in the screenshots as a melee weapon, is survival with such crude weapons likely to be a prominent feature?

JW: Yes, absolutely. There will also be firearm weapons, with ammo being naturally scarce.

NL: Does the 3DS hardware, such as the 3D screen, change your approach to FPS design compared to your DS titles?

JW: The awesome 3D depth feature that the 3DS offers works perfectly with a first-person perspective game. I feel as though it enhances the experience, and it is something we are constantly mindful of when implementing each aspect of the game.

NL: You've previously stated that you prefer touch screen aiming, is that still the case or are you warming to the Circle Pad Pro?

JW: The Circle Pad Pro is certainly more comfortable than using stylus control, but I personally still prefer the immediate control that the stylus provides. Everybody's preference will vary, and as such we're supporting a number of different control options.

NL: Why have you decided to release this as an eShop title, rather than as a retail release?

JW: We're very excited about the episodic approach, which is a great fit for the eShop. Also, an eShop release allows us to publish the game ourselves, whereas with a retail release we would need to rely on a publishing partner to get it to market.

NL: So, as this is planned as the first of a series of games, do you have storylines and scenarios already planned out?

JW: Yes, the first Cult County title that we release will be episode one of an ongoing story. We have detailed out the first six episodes, with an opportunity to continue past that. Each episode will end on a cliff-hanger that is resolved at the beginning of the next episode. Players who enjoy Cult County will be able to stay with its unique setting, interesting characters, mysterious locations, and continue to enjoy the experience the series offers with each episode.

NL: Do you have a rough release window?

JW: Early 2014.

NL: And a big one for those of us outside of North America, are you aiming for simultaneous NA and European releases?

JW: We are aiming for a simultaneous release.

NL: If you could summarise why 3DS owners should be excited for Cult County in just one sentence, what would you say?

JW: If you're looking for a scary first-person experience on the 3DS, Cult County has you covered.

We'd like to thank Jools Watsham for his time. So, what do you think about this upcoming release at the moment, and are you looking forward to its episodic approach? Let us know in the comments below.

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User Comments (40)



JuanitoShet said:

Here's to hoping the title doesn't dissapoint. Sounds like Renegade Kid really put some effort behind the game. Good to hear.



NImH said:

Rad. Dementium was a surprisingly good game on DS. Disturbing is the adjective I'd use for it. I look forward to RenegadeKid's return!



Triforce83 said:

Being episodic on the eShop is very interesting to me, I wonder what the file sizes and cost will be per episode?



Tony_342 said:

Very much looking forward to this. I loved Dementium and Moon.

The release date was originally Holiday 2013, now it's Early 2014. Then, I read it's going to be three episodes, and now it's six. Oh, well. Whenever (and however) it comes, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait.



Undead_terror said:

I hope they add a survival mode, since this is episodic, it would be rather sad if you beat one episode and has no point in playing it again until another episode is released.



GuSolarFlare said:

this will REALLY be the first FPS in the 3ds? wow! I was thinking I never saw one because I didn't care about most of the FPS games(but this one looks interesting enough!)



Spoony_Tech said:

What I want to know is are they going to complete the whole game and then chop it up or just the first chapter then take another 6 month's or so to release the next chapter. I don't want to drag on the experience over a two to three year period.



TenTen said:

This looks promising, so I'll be keeping an eye on it. However, I'm not sure I like the episodic direction. It could work, however.



SkywardLink98 said:

I'm intrigued by this. The first FPS is going to be on the eShop and is survival-horror vs the typical Call of Duty games that were release on the DS.



SkywardLink98 said:

6 episodes, I hope it's not over $6-$7 an episode, as it would end up costing more than a retail release. Anywhere from a $2-$5 range would work depending on the amount of content.



Dyl_73 said:

It looks good but my concern is the same as others have stated. What will the price be if there are at least six episodes. It could end up being a very expensive download. Maybe a lower price for episodes 2 and onwards.



rayword45 said:

6 episodes? With that idea, each episode should cost $6.50 or less, lest it cost more then an actual retail game. Also, not too long a wait, and decently sized episodes (not too short nor too lengthy, add some replay value)



Jaz007 said:

Wow, didn't expect it to take that long to release and the first game in an episodic eshop series.



C-Olimar said:

I hate episodic games: they never seem to have much content in total. Plus, the final cost is usually ridiculous for a download title.
Anyway, the first chapter should be half price to entice people to the game.



rayword45 said:

@C-Olimar Name some episodic games?

Half-Life episodes: Take about 3-5 hours each, so individually they already are practically modern FPS campaign length. Combine all 3 (with the third one missing) and you have a 12 or so hour game.
Telltale games: Strong Bad, Sam & Max and most other games had 2-3 hours for each episode. That totaled about 10-12 hours each season.
EscapeVektor is also worth mention, 8-10 hours for what would've been $20, then endless replay value.



C-Olimar said:

@rayword45 Exactly - Strongbad, as well as Monkey Island, offer 2-3 hours of content for £7. I don't really see that as good value personally.



C-Olimar said:

Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of episodic games, but they are never really seem to be good value to me.



rayword45 said:

@C-Olimar In America, the average $50-60 doesn't last very long outside of RPGs. A first-person shooter can be as short as 2-4 hours, while most action-adventure games are 8-12 hours.



Morpheel said:

I just hope they make a single release and add the other chapters as DLC for that.

It would be nicer than having 6 different "Cult County"s in my activity log.



gojiguy said:

Keeping a close eye on this one. Renegade Kid has built up quite the pedigree and I'm glad to see them work on something like this.

There needs to be more horror games on 3DS.



Sir_Deadly said:

I really hope we get some kind of demo this year, but i am really excited for this game!!!!




So I'm guessing they will arrange the development as though they were to "greenlight" the seasons and continuing it on iteration at a time if they sell well? That sounds plausible.



DerpSandwich said:

This looks really cool, so I was sad to hear about it being split into episodes. I'm really just not into that sort of thing. I might be interested again of they ever release it all in one for a good price, but chances are the total cost of the game will be much more than I want to pay, as is always the case with episodic games.

On a slightly different topic, wouldn't it be awesome if they gave their old games a polish and re-released them on the eShop? I've never played them, and I would probably be more likely to if they had a fresh coat of paint and a higher resolution. (I find playing DS games on my 3DS a little unpleasant.)



AG_Awesome said:

I think to ease the wait time (a whole year?!) they should rerelease the first two Demetium games and Moon on the Eshop with increased resolution, new control options, and maybe a gameplay update for the first Demetium to make it more like 2.



Gustoff said:

Thanks for posting the video. Now i'm even more interested in this FPS. Have been since i first heard of it. Bummer that it's almost a whole year away from being released.

You should give any of the previous FPS from the DS a try. I went to my local Gamestop this past weekend to look for Renegade Kid's FPS on DS and found Dementium II selling for $5. Bought it and am playing through it. So far, it is awesome, creepy, scary and fun. Now going to try and find Moon next.

Any info on the graphics? Will the game look more on the side of DS or 3DS graphics? In other words, will it look like Dementium II or closer to Resident Evil Revelations?

Thanks for the informative interview! You guys are doing awesome! Enjoying ATV WILD RIDE 3D!



pops330 said:

Like some others have said.Very interested,but not so sure about the episode thing.I need to go find their past ds games,they look like they could be fun.



Kage_88 said:

Sweet, can't wait to play this!

Dementium and Moon pushed the DS to the limit, so I can't wait to see what Renegade Kid are able to accomplish on the 3DS. Also, touch screen aiming FTW.



brandonbwii said:

The thing that makes me nervous is the episodic structure. I'm not against it but that structure mainly works due to having a strong story.

As someone who played and enjoyed their 3 FPS's, I can easily say story telling is not Renegade Kid's strong points.



Dpullam said:

I am kind of uneasy about the theme of this game but perhaps it will turn out to be a surprise hit. I've been surprised before and I could be surprised again.

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