Welcome to the Resistance and the Dark World of...
In Culpa Innata, gamers first met a young ambitious peace officer, Phoenix Wallis. While investigating the murder of a World Union citizen, Vassily Bogdanov, she not only identified the murderer, but also discovered a strange Virtual Reality (VR) device at the heart of a vast criminal enterprise. One that began in the vast reaches of the Rogue States, reaching deeply into the World Union. At the end of Culpa 1, the success she had always craved was near. But life and events are rarely that simple. Faced with growing disillusions with the World Union, lingering questions about her past, and ultimately her future in this perfect society Phoenix arrives at a decisive point in her life. What of the mysterious Renovators and other strange events? And then there are the increasing nightmares, clouding her mind with unanswered questions about her past. What does it all mean?
Case closed? Not for this intrepid young woman.
Culpa Innata 2: Chaos Rising begins with Phoenix's journey to the heart of chaos and resistance, the Rogue States, armed by a deceptively simple mandate. Meet the Russian detective in charge of the case, take custody of the captured murderer and transport him to the World Union to face ultimate justice. But Phoenix is not the same young woman who started this investigation and what began in Adrianopolis follows a wild and unpredictable path to surprising conclusions.
Play as both Anatoly Pavlov, the cynical survivor of societal collapse and the disillusioned yet politically naive Phoenix Wallis. Deeply bound by mysterious events, Anatoly and Phoenix will encounter obstacles far more challenging than ever before, testing their courage, determination and wits as they seek the truth hidden beneath the worlds that they know.
At a Glance Game Features Include:
GameBoomers talks to Laura MacDonald of Momentum AS
Phoenix will see a great many changes in Culpa 2. Depending on player's choices, she will evolve fully into who she is, resolve many internal conflicts, and rise from her own ashes. Part of this process of self discovery will definitely include facing her past. In Chaos Rising, Phoenix will discover hidden strengths and abilities, and find a new meaning and motive for her life.
What changes or growth will Phoenix undergo in Russia? While there, how will her awareness of society -- the World Union she grew up in -- change and mature?
We don't want to give away too much at this early stage, but Russia, as a rogue state is very different from the World Union. Certainly extremely different than Phoenix grew up with. Russia, India, China and other areas were considered too uncontrollable to be admitted to the new order of the World Union. Gamers who explored the many historical documents, signs, posters in Culpa 1, would know this time line. These people endured great personal ordeals (and terrors like economic riots) as their individual economies, governments and societies collapsed. But even after epic hardships, people find a way to survive. So Russia, Odessa and other “Rogue State” countries are full of survivors. These are people with a lot of pain and suffering in their pasts. For most, the future looks dim and hopeless, with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Raised in the World Union, she never knew any other way to understand life. She will be exposed to some very harsh realities and experience emotions and relationships that are very new to her. Then when she is in the Renovator world, she will be exposed to the darkest realities of the Culpa Innata world. And here are emotive components in the gameplay and challenges. The choices made by gamers will affect how fast and how deeply Phoenix adapts and succeeds in this new environment.
There were some things left unexplained at the end of Culpa Innata. Were these red herrings or will any of these strange people and events be re-visited in Culpa 2 and will the plot expand?
There were mysteries, people and places left without explanation or closure in Game 1. These events and personalities will be detailed and explored in Chaos Rising. And all the people within this game have intersecting pasts, presents and futures. So some people from game 1 will appear in new and surprising places, others will be seen again but with deeper roles and back stories. Then there are all the unique personalities of the Rogue States, Renovators and other resistance elements.
One thing for a fact, there will be many things that we think will take players in one direction, only for them to dig deeper and uncover a whole separate layer of events, people's lives, the greater world history. These revelations will surprise gamers and turn conclusions and theories based upon Culpa Innata upside down and inside out. As intricately detailed as the fictional fabric of this society and the plot was for game 1, Culpa 2: Chaos Rising's gameplay, characters and events within the characters own story is much more involved and twisty.
You mentioned “new characters”. Are there any you can discuss?
One new change is there will be two playable characters in Chaos Rising. Phoenix will acquire a new partner, while she is in Russia. His name is Anatoly Pavlov and he is the detective in charge of the Bogdanov case in Odessa. Anatoly is an old school detective and like everyone else in the Rogue States, he is a “survivor”. Meaning he has suffered great personal losses and has more than his fair share of secrets. How Phoenix (and Anatoly) interact, choices made as the gamer goes through the game will play a large part in Phoenix's personal growth and awareness of others.
We have some sketches and head renderings of Anatoly and our updated Phoenix. We were quite happy with Phoenix's appearance in game 1, but moving to our new engine and tool sets meant all preexisting characters had to be redesigned. Though we obviously want to be faithful to the original look of any returning characters from Culpa 1, especially Phoenix.
Will gameplay in the Chaos Rising be similar to that of the original game?
The gameplay will be essentially the same in some ways. The game will be point and click, 3rd person perspective, non linear. There will be a player built diary, similar to the one created while playing game 1, but this one will feature new comments related to Phoenix's own personal growth and struggles. As well as her emotional connections and observations.
We have some unique new types of dialogue based puzzling, that we are very enthusiastic about. We liked the dialogue puzzles from game 1, like the security interviews. But rather than merely packing Chaos Rising with just more of the same, we spent a great deal of time thinking of how to expand possibilities for dialogue driven challenges and believe we have come up with some highly unique and original designs. There is less dialogue in Chaos Rising, but not to the point of taking away any nuance or meaning.
The game will also feature more side quests, activities and encounters, than in Game 1. Although player decisions mattered to the end score in game 1 and determined how the game journey progressed, what people and places were experienced. We wanted a tighter and more perceivable fit between choices and results. So at select areas or moments of the game, players will have certain options and what they choose will directly influence events, challenges and encounters elsewhere.
Will there be any new tech devices to play with?
Regarding new technical gadgets, the answer is yes .. and also new uses for familiar devices. The infrastructure Phoenix takes for granted simply does not exist in Odessa and many of the devices she is accustomed to using simply do not function correctly there. So Phoenix learn to succeed by her wits. She must study, adapt to and learn a whole new skill set that works within unique societal rules & ways. The player must also think outside the box, while Phoenix is in Odessa and use old familiar gadgets in unique ways for some challenges.
When the player is back within the World Union, there will be many familiar devices (to those who played game 1) but even these will feature improved interfaces and enhanced functions. And there will be optional activities where high tech equipment exists to explore and use. However, we also believe that any new gadgetry must have a tight fit to the story, events, and gameplay - rather than just be there for eye candy.
Why do you think gamers had such strong reactions (both positive and negative) to Phoenix's best friend, Alessandra? Will there be any similar characters in the follow-up story?
Sandra is a very strong personality and the personification of an ideal World Union citizen, or in Chief Morssen's words, “the most selfish, the most determined and the strongest”. Though Phoenix's friend she was also written to provide a sharp contrast to what else might be out there. We believed the best way to show what the WU was in practice and ideology was best played by interacting with a “true believer”. The WU and any society where extreme self absorption and greed outweigh moral concerns, empathy is repugnant on so many levels. We took many cultural trends and events and took it to an extreme possibility. So Culpa is at its heart, a dark satire. So a true believer such as Sandra should raise questions as people play and even create strong feelings.
But unlike most other characters in game 1, Sandra's personal back story and history wasn't as fleshed out or accessible. There are reasons that Sandra and Phoenix are good friends, and for Sandra, it is obviously based on certain personal benefits, but also because genuine ties exist between them. In Chaos Rising, deeper motives and personal histories will be revealed for all of the main characters, new and old. As characters from game 1 appear many changes will occur. Some will have lessening impact, others will grow into a deeper role, in the game and to Phoenix personally. We will see Sandra, but in a different context as Phoenix is changing. There will also be cameo appearances for a few “where they are now” type moments.
Will Phoenix play a part in the changeover of the society she's in to the one that Hamilton foresees for the future?
That is the heart of the story and the game. Not just whether she does play a role in the change that must be coming, but if so; how, why and to what extent. So that has to be left for the players to learn from the full game.
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