Vivisector: Beast Inside Q&A - Overview

We get the answers to this first-person role-playing hybrid that's inspired by <i>The Island of Dr. Moreau</i>.

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One of the new trends emerging in the first-person-shooter genre is the attempt to bust out of the linear gameplay found in many games. While fun, these types of games basically take you on a tightly controlled roller coaster ride. But there are a slew of shooters on the horizon that aim to combine action with role-playing to give you more control over your destiny. Interestingly, many of these games, such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl and Boiling Point, hail from Russia and the Ukraine. Such is also the case with Vivisector: Beast Inside, an upcoming Ukrainian-designed action game that will place you on a mysterious Pacific island surrounded by the mutant army of a twisted scientific genius. To get the details on Vivisector, we caught up with Valentine Yeltyshev, the game's PR manager.

When science runs amok, we get animal-human hybrids!
When science runs amok, we get animal-human hybrids!

GameSpot: Can you give us a brief overview of what Vivisector is about? How is the game different from a typical first-person shooter?

Valentine Yeltyshev: Vivisector is about human relationships, only veiled under animal muzzles. It differs from other games through its storyline. The story will not only join the events that happen onscreen, but it will also let the player make choices and draw his or her own conclusions. Playing the game will make you feel like you're watching a film, but with one exception: interactivity.

GS: Tell us about the game's story, which, as we understand it, was inspired in part by H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau. Why did you decide to use this unusual premise, and what does it add to the game?

VY: The game starts on a forgotten volcanic island in the Pacific, where the evil genius Dr. Morhead conducts his experiments. His line of investigation was the creation of humanlike soldiers with high intellect and animal aggressiveness. This resulted in several kinds of monsters being created. In the game, you will encounter an unpredictable story of friendship, betrayal, and the consequences of a madman's uncontrolled activity. The different endings will surprise the player. As for the inspiration, we are fond of Wells' works in general and, of course, The Island of Dr. Moreau inspired a game about half-human beasts that possibly possess souls.

GS: Tell us about the game's structure and pacing. Is Vivisector intended to be a straightforward, action-packed shooter, or will there be adventure elements, such as puzzles and character interaction, or role-playing elements, like character advancement?

Vivisector features Black Hawk helicopters, Pacific islands, and mutants, but it's a far cry from standard games.
Vivisector features Black Hawk helicopters, Pacific islands, and mutants, but it's a far cry from standard games.

VY: Vivisector could be classified as a story-driven action shooter with role-playing elements. It features simple adventure elements such as puzzles and non-player character interaction. Also, you are free to choose the route to the next checkpoint, as long as you're on a huge, open level. This will allow for exploration and extra experience that can be used to improve your character. It's all part of our role-playing system. Your skills are divided into personal ones, such as speed and health, and weapons mastering. You can improve your skills by using experience. The game has more than one ending, so everything depends on your actions and decisions.

When HumAnimals Attack

GS: Tell us about the game's "HumAnimal" enemies. How will fighting these creatures be different from the countless soldiers and aliens that we have fought with in other first-person shooters? What kinds of different abilities and tactics will they possess?

To make things even tougher, the mutant animals can even fly.
To make things even tougher, the mutant animals can even fly.

VY: As noted earlier, the different stages of Morhead's experiments resulted in different creatures. They can be divided into three groups: ModBeasts, HumAnimals, and OverBrutes. They inhabit three zones on the island, which you will have to navigate. ModBeasts are quadruped animals with modified skeletons. They are very aggressive, but their intellect was left on the same level as their wild ancestors. They shouldn't be too tough when encountered separately, but they can be dangerous in packs.

HumAnimals are the humanlike creatures with an intellect that allows them to make some tactical decisions. They are clever enough to hide themselves behind cover and calculate the distance toward the target to use their weapons more effectively. But sometimes their animal instincts gain control, forcing HumAnimals to go into senseless attacks.

OverBrutes are high-intellect creatures, the best of Morhead's work. They were created and trained to be absolute soldiers. Armed with powerful weapons, they are a serious hazard to even the skilled player. Generally, they try to encircle the enemy and riddle them with bullets, even if it causes friendly losses. As born soldiers they do everything to carry out the order. But at the same time, they never expose themselves.

GS: Tell us about the different tools you'll have at your disposal throughout the game. There are 16 different weapons--will they set up certain strategies? What other items and skills will you be able to pick up over time?

VY: We have enough weapons to satisfy everyone. You can choose suitable weapons and upgrade them. As for weapon types, we have knives, pistols, shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, mines, others.

GS: From what we understand, the game will not feature multiplayer modes out of the box. Why was this decision made? Are there any details about future plans for multiplayer you would care to share with us?

VY: Our game is story-driven and we decided not to implement multiplayer if we couldn't capture the same experience as the single-player game. Perhaps an expansion will introduce multiplayer mode, but that is not decided yet.

The game features realistic graphical effects, such as soft, fuzzy fur on all the cuddly, man-eating animals.
The game features realistic graphical effects, such as soft, fuzzy fur on all the cuddly, man-eating animals.

GS: Tell us about the game's engine. Are there any interesting technical features you'd care to share with us?

VY: We use our own in-house graphics engine, called AtmosFear, which supports a lot of modern graphics features. These include: weather changes, skeleton-based animation, detailed character models, particle systems, pixel and vertex shaders, and more. We also have monsters with realistic fur, a realistic damage system, and an in-house physics engine that will let you pick up and throw items at enemies.

GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about Vivisector?

VY: The Vivisector team consists of gamers, so we made this game interesting to us and, hopefully, to gamers like you. We hope that you will find Vivisector interesting.

GS: Thank you, Valentine.

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