A midst all of the huge game releases that are on the horizon, one title that has really grabbed my attention is a smaller title coming our way courtesy of Neocore Games which is The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. Perhaps it’s my love of monsters or maybe it’s my admiration of Bram Stoker’s original novel but regardless of why; this game has me, and many others, anxious to get our hands on the finished product.
Even with the rather busy schedule of prepping the game for launch, Neocore Games Orsolya Toth was kind enough to take the time to answer some of our burning questions. Here’s some hot-off-the-press info and tidbits about this much anticipated game, right from the source!
Could you tell me just a little bit about the protagonist? What drives him to carry on his father’s work?
Truth is that we’re changing the protagonist right now! Everyone can cast their vote on their favourite of the three Van Helsings on offer at http://devblog.neocoregames.com/van-helsing/40-voting-started-new-hero-needed-for-those-incredible-adventures.html
The motivations of the main hero highly depends on the actual character. Each of the available Van Helsings has a very different approach to his chosen profession and has a different relationship with all possible allies, friend and enemies, but for all three it is true that they protect innocent people and are excessively talented in eradicating monstrous creatures. We’ll see shortly which character will continue the family traditions: the noble knight, the hard-boiled veteran or the mysterious expert?
Borgova is looking very cool! Although it is a fictional place, are there some specific real world locales that you guys drew inspiration from?
We are extremely lucky that our company is located in the centre of Budapest. The capital of Hungary is a beautiful, historical European city, so we find plenty of inspiration around here, like the St. Stephen’s Basilica with its monumental bell towers and dome, the Heroes’ Square with its iconic statue complex and with the museums or the Buda Castle and the Royal Palace. They fit very well into the game’s setting.
It’s rather a mixture. Most of our monsters are entirely of our own design, but of course we drew a lot from the Eastern European mythology. For example both the Vodyanoy, a race of male water spirits and the Rusalka, an evil nymph-like creature who charms handsome men with songs and leads them deep into the water, come from Slavic mythology.
It’s been established that this title will be an action/rpg. How deep of a system will players be dealing with? Will it be a more traditional, full fledged RPG, or will it be more in line with what some have coined “RPG lite”?
Fundamentally we follow the traditions of the action-RPGs. You can fight, explore, loot, level up both your character and your follower, talk to NPCs and fight a multitude of different enemies. On the other hand, we have also implemented plenty of unique ideas into The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing. The skills are very variable and can easily be combined. There are three skill trees in the game, one for melee skills, one for ranged skills and one for magic skills. We let the gamers decide which direction they would like to improve their character. If you want a Van Helsing that rushes forward and jumps right into the middle of the battle slashing monsters easily, you should develop your melee skills in the first place. But if you prefer keeping the distance, you might develop your ranged skills first. Magic always comes in handy, so it’s always worth it to learn a couple of new spells. Or even more. It’s all up to you.
You can power up most of your skills from your Rage in different ways. You gain Rage by killing monsters and you can use it to make your spells and skills stronger. For example the “Flaming Sphere” – which is basically a fireball – has three catalysts: the “Napalm Catalyst” makes the effect last longer and do extra damage by igniting the cloth of the target, the “Sulphur Catalyst” makes the explosion stronger dealing more damage and the third one, the “Nitroglycerin Catalyst” makes the explosion hit a bigger area, dealing damage to more surrounding enemies.
You can activate three catalysts at a time and combine them even in the heat of the battle: for example you can activate the same catalyst three times making its effect three times stronger or activate all three catalysts once or one of them twice and another catalyst just once, etc. All of these will have a different result and you should use them in different situations.
Tactics are very important in battles as your enemies show big diversity. Some monsters have extremely strong front armour, so basically you have to get behind them to deal a decent amount of damage. Others with different types of elemental resistance require you to use different skills against them, some creatures will slow you down, freeze you, resurrect fallen monsters, and give you a challenge with many more special abilities.
You can loot different kinds of swords and pistols and these can be enhanced with enchantments. There is alchemy in the game as well. Some items have an alchemic capacity and depending on this trait you can forge different resources into them.
Your character can of course equip anything he finds during his battles besides the weapons, like hat, armour, belt, gloves, boots, amulet, rings and cape. Changing these will also change the main character’s appearance. When he gains a level, you can spend ability points on four primary attributes (body, dexterity, willpower and luck) and also skill points on three separate skill trees. You won’t unlock new movements but you can learn special buffs that make you invincible, invisible or able to stop time for a while.
Will there be boss battles?
Most definitely. Boss battles are an essential part in any action-RPG.
It’s hard to tell for sure yet, but it will be about 7-10 hours of continuous fun.
Anything you can tell us about multiplayer?
The game will offer a co-op campaign for up to 4 players, where players can hunt down the scientific nightmares with other members of the Hunters’ Guild. Other multiplayer modes might be added later.
Who is that cat that hangs around your offices? Is he on the payroll?
No, he’s the cat of our Producer and our Lead Artist. And their daughter takes a lot of pictures of Morpheus in her free time and that’s how we began using these pics on our Facebook page out of sheer fun.
Is XBLA and PC the only planned platforms, and is there a time-frame we can expect a release?
Right now they are, yes. Together with a Mac version. We expect to release The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing sometime early next year.
Lastly, and most importantly: Who made a better Van Helsing: Hugh Jackman or Anthony Hopkins?
We would cast our vote on Anthony Hopkins, who got the expertise and toughness of a good monster hunter absolutely right, while his portrayal of the character as the over-the-top scientist made Van Helsing quite an unforgettable hero.
It looks like whether you’re a fan of action, role playing, monters, humor or multiplayer; Neocore Games’ The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing will have you covered. Make sure you clear some time in your gaming schedule for this promising title in early 2013!
If you’d like to keep up with the development of this or any other title that Neocore Games has cooking, be sure to check out the following links:
Van Helsing Facebook: www.facebook.com/VanHelsingTheGame
Van Helsing Twitter: https://twitter.com/VanHelsingGame
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/NeocoreGames/featured
Special thanks to Orsolya Toth and everyone at Neocore Games for taking the time to answer our questions!