IIt’s always refreshing to see a new release in the FPS genre that tries to do things a little differently. Rather than delivering another gritty military shooter, Ground Shatter’s RICO London instead offers a flashy and explosive game inspired by cop buddies movies with an aesthetic oozing graphic novel style. Prior to the game’s recent launch, we had the chance to share some of our questions with you about RICO London to its developers. Below you can read our conversation with designer James Parker.
NOTE: This interview was conducted before the game launched.
“The aesthetic of the graphic novel was a natural development from the first RICO, which had a stylized aspect shaded by cells, so with RICO London we wanted to go further. “
How was the process of developing the graphic novel style visual aesthetic for RICO London, then implement it in the game?
The aesthetic of the graphic novel was a natural development from the first RICO, which had a stylized aspect shaded by cells, so with RICO London we wanted to go further.
The RICO The series is heavily inspired by popular action cinema, and you can see that influence in everything from the theme to the visual aesthetics and gameplay. We want players to feel like the protagonists of a ’90s cop movie, so everything is over the top and unrealistic, from the action, to the slow-mo, to the characters, to the story and the enemies. The graphic novel aesthetic suited the dynamic, punchy style we were looking for well, allowing us to give feedback to the player in a quick way that looked cool and made sense to the world.
We took inspiration from games such as Volition’s XIII and The Punisher for the look of the game. It was important for us to encourage players to go for a scoring attack type of game, and the novel style lettering. graphics are excellent for communicating the action to the player in a way that is both elegant and instantly recognizable. We combined this with slow motion, which adds a cinematic touch while still allowing players to assess the environment and react quickly during combat.
Considering the setting of the game, what can players expect from RICO London with regard to optional content and ancillary activities?
Players can choose to fight their way through the building, go straight up as fast as they want, or explore the side rooms on different floors to maximize their score and collect tokens they want. they can then spend in stores. There are a few side objectives, like rescuing hostages, but one of the things we wanted to do that is different from the first game is to focus more on the shooting side of the gameplay, rather than giving players objectives. that force them to slow them down. . So there are no bombs to defuse this time (you’re welcome).
RICO London the premise of being located in a single high-rise building is fascinating. How does that lend itself to things like variety of fights or level design?
The first game took place in a modern American setting, with Miami-inspired environments and more Bad Boys aesthetic. RICO London, as the name suggests, is set in London, and we wanted the style and environments to reflect that, to create a real sense of place. We were inspired by people like Die hard and Dredd to create the feeling that the odds are stacked against the player as they make their way through a building.
The high-rise building presents a variety of environments with different looks and feel, as well as many possible configurations of rooms on each floor, from narrow hallways to open arenas. The color scheme is more subdued and the environments are much more detailed than in the first game. There is a clear and obvious progression, from the underground levels, through the office spaces and residential areas, to a showdown in the penthouse. But the levels are procedurally generated, which makes things interesting in terms of navigation and gameplay.
We took some liberties with the level design and the environments. Realism was not the goal, but rather the creation of distinct environments that create fun playing opportunities. Most high rise buildings in London are not as idiosyncratic as ours.
“We took some liberties with the design of the levels and the environments. Realism was not the goal, but rather the creation of distinct environments that create fun play opportunities. Most high-rise buildings in London are not as idiosyncratic as ours. “
How will the experience change as players progress through the tower? Will there be firefights or more difficult enemy types to face?
As the player progresses through the tower, they encounter different gangs of enemies which become increasingly difficult to beat. New enemies will try to stop the player with increasingly desperate measures and more firepower. As players learn about the story, their goals change and what seemed like a simple operation increasingly turns into something much more complicated, culminating in an epic showdown in the penthouse.
What can players expect from the game’s arsenal of weapons in terms of quantity and variety?
We have added a wide variety of weapons to the game, from handguns to tactical weapons. In turn, each weapon has different special versions, which give you advantages like better aim, better speed, and better resistances. Players also have various throwables, from the usual ones, such as grenades, C4s, and flashbangs, to more unusual knives and axes. If you kill an enemy and they drop their weapon, you can pick it up and immediately start using it, or just grab their ammo to continue the fight.
The names and skins of the special weapons are inspired by action movies of the 80s and 90s, as well as cultural references to London in 1999. Highlights include The Queen, a golden M249 machine gun and The Great British Sawn-Off ( which is a bit anachronistic, but we couldn’t resist).
Can you tell us about the game’s customization and progression mechanics? To what extent will these systems allow players to create their own constructions and styles of play?
The more the player explores the building and the faster they move, the higher their score. The higher their score, the more tokens they earn to spend in the store. The store gives them a random assortment of upgrades, weapons, and other microphones. Some of these are also available throughout the levels, which is a change from the first game and saves players from having to stop the action for too long in order to get shiny new gear.
Upgrades allow players to customize their character and enhance the playstyle of their choice. For example, they may want to become even faster and more precise, share their pickups with their partner, or improve their gliding and diving skills, among other choices.
With RICO London Being also playable in co-op, how is the game balanced in terms of difficulty and design to ensure that solo and co-op play is viable? Would you say that one is the preferred way to play the game?
In solo play, the player is alone, but has a walkie-talkie that allows him to communicate with his partner (in the manner of Die hard) and boss. It’s a fun but difficult challenge, as all enemies will be focusing only on you!
In co-op, players have more strategic options. They must coordinate so that no one is left behind, focus their firepower to make the most of slow emotions and eliminate threats as quickly as possible, while being careful not to accidentally kill their partner. One difference from the first game is that slow motion supports the co-op style of play, as it encourages you to stay together, enter the same room through different doors, or enter adjacent rooms at the same time.
We designed the game with popular police buddy movies in mind, so we spent some time developing both playable characters and how they interact with each other. The excellent voice actors we worked with played a huge role in the creation of these characters. However, we hope that most of the banter happens in real life, between players – this is the kind of fun we would like them to have fun while playing!
“We designed the game with popular police buddy movies in mind, so we spent time developing both playable characters and the way they interact with each other.”
Do you plan to add PvP modes to the game?
Not at this time! Our goal for multiplayer was to create a cool co-op experience, for couch and network play, because we believe there isn’t enough of it. We found with the first game that people liked it precisely because it filled the void left by the lack of triple A shooters that still support co-op, and we want to continue supporting fans of the genre.
What will be the average duration of an average part of the game?
It depends on the degree of completion of the players and the score they want to achieve. The structure of the game rewards a lot of repeated play, so it will take a few reruns to see everything on offer, and if people are playing at the normal difficulty level, there is no second chance, so we don’t expect that players finish the game on their first try! Then there is the Daily Play, which extends the life of the game as it allows players to compete against other people, solo or co-op, to achieve the highest score.