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Interview with PiXYUL about ReROLL



Earlier this month we spoke about a game called ReROLL being developed by PiXYUL, a company formed by two ex-Ubisoft developers. ReROLL is being designed from the ground up to be a survival-action RPG with real-world locations and accurate world mapping with the help of autonomous drones equipped with digital HD cameras.

The goal is to map out the entire Earth with these drones by taking thousands of pictures and then processing them into 3D software to reconstruct the environment as 3D objects in the game for the actual level design.

While it is very ambitious, it certainly sparked my interest and led to me contact them almost instantly for an interview. The two lead developers are ultimately very informed about what the plans are and how PiXYUL plans to do what some might deem as “the impossible”.

Engine and Development

Telkom Do Gaming (DG): How much of the development process is underway already and how much of the world has been scanned and modelled using the autonomous drones?

PiXYUL: We have been doing tests and prototypes, but nothing is final, same goes for scanning. Please note that the drones will be one source or one tool for capturing the data, we will use other tools to capture these images too. The goal is to reproduce accurately at scale the planet. We will use multiple methods to achieve the best results.

DG: In terms of actual game development, how ready are things like the engine, in order to accommodate such a large world?

PiXYUL: We are truly at the beginning of conception, we are doing this crowd-funding campaign so we can hire some more people and start really pushing the development. Tech wise, we have consulted and we have also realised that there are many tools, software and existing data out there that is pretty damn impressive.

DG: In numerous interviews across press sites, PiXYUL has said “a lot of money is necessary”. Just how much are you talking (ballpark figure) and if users were to crowd-fund the game, what is the certainty that it still will be made without reaching the goal?

PiXYUL: We have multiple plans depending on what amount we get. It ranges from getting sufficient funding to be completely autonomous (the ideal scenario) and get enough leverage to be in a good position to negotiate or access whatever left we might need. Also please note that this game will start with a 1st brick (see details on the FAQ on rerollgame.com) and will constantly update and release new content. This is not the typical development.

Julien Cuny Julien Cuny

DG: From numerous reports, it seems the game is going to be in an isometric view. Why have you opted to go for this instead of a first or third person view?

PiXYUL: Yes, it will be an isometric or for lack of a better term, “Diablo-like” view. For a typical first or third person view, we would need a level of detail that would be impossible to achieve for the entire planet. Basically what you are saying, is Watch Dogs, but the entire planet… No way, not now. The game is a survival action-RPG. We want players to fully immerse themselves at a level of quality we can deliver. Also, a first or third person game would require high-precision animations, visuals etc. We believe that our choice is ambitious but realistic while still giving a high level of options and depth.

DG: Speaking specifically from South Africa, where 1MB or 2MB Internet is the norm, how playable will the game be for us to overseas servers?

PiXYUL: It is too soon to answer this at this stage, sorry.

Louis-Pierre Pharand Louis-Pierre Pharand

The Game: ReROLL

DG: From your rewards structure, people who pay more, get more items for in-game use. How is PiXYUL going to deal with “pay to win” critics?

PiXYUL: Firstly, this is not a free to play game and not a person vs. person game. So I have a hard time with that expression. By the way, no, too many people when they don’t like something from a game, will say its “pay to win”. The game packages you buy are predetermined skill sets. Skills, any player can master if he or she decides to develop them by doing it in the game. The game packages give you a head start for certain specific skills, that’s it! But again, since this is now a PVP game, it cannot be “pay to win”.

DG: Is Player vs. Player combat encouraged or will it even be possible?

PiXYUL: This is a single player and co-operative game. Note that we are building these gameplay bricks so that hopefully one day we can scale to a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. But what we are doing and funding is the SP and COOP experiences.

DG: How realistic exactly is the survival? Are we talking DayZ-esque where players will need to eat and drink and shelter from the cold?

PiXYUL: Every game package comes with a basic shelter, to be protected while you are not playing. Your character though, will still be active so you will need to manage his/her time. Getting resources like water, food, protection (from threats, weather etc) will be the base for survival.

DG: Will ReROLL only be coming to PC or are there console plans in the works too?

PiXYUL: PC first, we will see after, we never know.

DG: Will controller support be available on PC?

PiXYUL: Too soon to say now but probably yes.

DG: Do you plan to integrate Africa as well as South Africa into ReROLL?

PiXYUL: Of course! I was the producer of Far Cry 2. I’ve been to Kenya and to South Africa for the game. I loved it!

ReRoll ReRoll

The Release

DG: The first BRICK is scheduled to ship mid-2015. Would a delay be expected here or are you shipping mid-2015 come hell or high-water?

PiXYUL: I thought this was a trick question (laughs). We are putting all of our efforts towards that goal.

DG: How big would you say BRICK 1 would be? Would it be one continent or country?

PiXYUL: We are looking at many options and we have many candidates now. We are more looking for diversity within the first brick than size. But it will not be a continent or a country, more along the size of a city.

DG: After the release of BRICK 1, would you be up to announcing a final release date?

PiXYUL: That’s the goal, but we will see then.

The All-Terrain Vehicle The All-Terrain Vehicle

DG: Would BRICK 1 be the equivalent of an Alpha or a Beta?

PiXYUL: Yes.

DG: What is the benefit of backing the project right now as opposed to waiting a few months to see how things look?

PiXYUL: That’s a very good point. The thing is, if everybody behaves this way, there will be no game at all. We need a critical mass of Gamers Angel (the name for our backers) so we can start investing much more into the project. It’s up for you to decide if it’s worth the risk and if the project deserves your attention and money.

DG: What is your release rollout going to look like? Will it be primarily a Steam release?

PiXYUL: We cannot confirm this as of yet.

Hunter in ReRoll Hunter in ReRoll

Final Thoughts

DG: What motivated the team at PiXYUL to include real world geography?

PiXYUL: Since we saw Google Earth when it came out, we knew we wanted to make a game with the entire planet being the back drop. Also, four years of developing Far Cry 2 pushed us thinking of what could be the ultimate open-world experience.

DG: Could we see the same type of topography or map used in upcoming PiXYUL games?

PiXYUL: Yes, good question. Our goal is to create a platform, the planet. We can then develop all kinds of games for this platform. More info to come (laughs).

DG: How many members of your development team are there?

PiXYUL: For now, full time, it’s the two of us. We have different people doing some work for us. The goal of the crowd-funding campaign is to rapidly get some full-time staff.