The indie developers Streum On Studio surprised everyone with the launch of E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy, a cyberpunk FPS-RPG hybrid resembling games like Deus Ex. The game immediately aroused lots of praises and criticism, dividing critics and the public. RPG Italia asked a few questions to Jonathan, project leader, lead programmer and artistic director on E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy.
RPG Italia: Your studio started as an artist collective, which of your artistic ideas are expressed in E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy?
Jonathan: The Baroque, cyclopean and crushing aspects were the most displayed, as well as our passion for photography. Without counting the dark atmospheric side we really like.
For an indie company, it is a big undertaking to create a complex game like E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy. Was creating such a big game the initial project or did it grow during its development?
The initial project was even more insane, and probably too ambitious for our work force. We had to cut some ideas and features, with a lot of regrets.
Which are your sources of inspiration both in terms of gameplay and artistic direction?
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. has had a huge influence, as well as Doom (1 & 2), Fallout 2, King Field, Syndicate, X-COM, Arx Fatalis and System Shock. And of course Deus Ex. We drew a lot of inspiration from the works of Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Avalon), Katsuhiro Ōtomo (Akira), Enki Bilal, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, Tsutomu Nihei’s BLAME!, Zdzisław Beksiński and H.R. Giger for the artistic direction.
During the development of the game, did you focus more on the hardcore RPG PC players or did you also try to broaden your audience?
To be frank, we didn’t think about our audience target, we just wanted to make a game that fit our tastes; it’s the vision of this business we have. It may be the reason why the game divides opinions so much.
E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy results as one on the most played games on Steam. Do you think there is still room for complex RPG experience, or will the market inevitably shift to more user friendly “consolized” games, like Mass Effect?
We think that hardcore games and especially complex RPGs still have a place on the video game market. A lot of players begin to suffocate from the games’ standardization and from the fact that a lot of games treat them like 5-year-old kids who need to have their hands held. We have faith in players, and we think that their choices and desires can change the video game market’s face. And we also think that there’s room for every type of games.
What are your projects for the future, are you planning to expand E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy or to continue using the ip?
We’re thinking about making several free DLCs adding more content, like a PvP mode in the first time.
Did you focus more on creating an RPG, or more an FPS and then implemented RPG elements?
We started on the FPS aspect, and then we added RPG elements as the development went. That may explain there are some weaknesses on this aspect
The dystopic future depicted in E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy, the presence of para-psychic powers, mega corporations, cybernetic implants, resembles authors like Aldous Huxley and games like Deus Ex, both with strong connection to present-day society and events. Is there an underlying message in your game that you would like the players to catch?
E.Y.E is a kind of transmission of feeling; we made it without any particular intentions, at least knowingly. However I think it can transmit certain messages, themselves transmitted through works that inspired us, then regurgitated and morphed by our vision. I apologize for this less than tasteful image.
Is there a “right” way to proceed in the game and a path of choices as intended by the designers, and a “good” and “bad” side? Or does every faction in the game have its bright and dark sides?
Concerning the way of playing, none. We let the player have the freedom of choice. The factions are all more or less dark; Good doesn’t exist in E.Y.E anymore, even if I have some kind of affection for the looters.
Did moving from the Crytech Engine to the Source Engine somehow impact on your artistic vision of the game or technically limit it?
We had to entirely revise the places where the game was supposed to take place. For example, a huge level took place in a European-type forest and this level later became a Jian temple on heights.
E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy is for sale in digital delivery only on Steam.