Co-Optimus: Shifting gears to the game’s mechanics, I’m curious about some of the decisions made around player movement and gun fire. There’s no way to roll or dash out of the way of enemy fire and you’re also fighting in narrow hallways or close quarters much of the time. Was the intent to have players use the environment as their shield and try to either sneak up on foes or attack when they’re reloading?
Sampo: The environment is your friend in Neon Chrome – you should use the walls as cover and make sure you have a plan when you attack a larger group of enemies. You can also surprise the enemies by going through the walls or simply walking up to them from behind if you find a nice route. You should also keep an eye on the reload indicator to time your attacks especially if facing an enemy with significantly higher power level.
You can actually dodge most of the enemy projectiles simply by lateral movement. Many projectiles are slow or the enemies have laser sights or aiming cones which you can dodge. There are some enemies though which have faster projectiles such as the Auto Turret, Elite Soldier with the assault rifle and some named enemies. If you're facing more than two enemies the dodging task becomes extremely hard so you're better of trying to lower their numbers quickly with a surprise attack or a barrage from your ability.
Co-Optimus: What about the player’s gun fire? Not every bullet will hit its mark and it seems some weapons have a fairly big cone for where the bullets will go. I suppose what I’m getting at with both of these questions is what was your goal in the game’s difficulty? Was there some particular balance for which you were aiming so that making it to (and beating) Overseer 1.0 was as achievable on your first asset as it would be on your 85th?
Sampo: The first playthrough (1.0) is theoretically possible to do with the first asset (death) as it is not prevented with any hard limit. However, we have no knowledge that anyone would've done it. The assumption is that the player will upgrade his stats like health and damage after each death with the credits he collected. You also unlock more abilities, enhancements and weapons as you go, which make you more powerful. So, the player power will increase after each death and usually he gets more skilled at playing the game all the time. With the persistent stat upgrades you don't have to rely only on your skill to survive so a wider range of players can complete the game.
Advanced players can beat the game with less than 30 assets but on average you need 40-50 assets for the first playthrough. Basically you need to buy some stat upgrades in general to keep you alive in the later chapters and to beat the bosses but the more skill you have, the less upgrades you need and the faster you gain them. It takes 6-15 hours to complete the game the first time depending on your skill.
Co-Optimus: A few weeks in, have you all been able to track any data with the game that points to players preferring certain weapons/enhancements when they start out? Anything that you didn’t expect?
Sampo: The most surprising thing for us was how large percentage of players would complete the game at least once. I think we're already at over 10% completion ratio on Steam. After Overseer 1.0 a lot of the players continue to play more and players with at least four playthroughs are not rare at all. Because of this, we've already launched a couple of updates that improve balancing in general and especially on subsequent playthroughs after 1.0.
We've also listened to the player feedback in general and made numerous adjustments to improve the game experience.