Hey there Lift Gaming friends! As many of you know I am a huge fan of a game called Crimsonland, made by a studio called 10tons Ltd. When I heard they were working on a new game called “Neon Chrome” I reached out to them to ask some questions about their upcoming game. Crimsonland is regarded as one of the definitive top-down shooting experiences, 10Tons really nailed the formula for addictive shooting. Over the years there have been many shooters created with a similar focus, but none have hit the mark quite like they did. With Neon Chrome, 10Tons Ltd. is back to working on a genre that they’ve no doubt mastered. Check out the trailer for Neon Chrome:
Lift Gaming: I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions about Neon Chrome. When I first saw the game, I immediately thought of 10TonsLtd’s other game Crimsonland. From watching the Steam Greenlight video that was posted, it seems like Neon Chrome takes Crimsonland’s addictive top down shooting and really kicks it up a notch. Can you tell us a little about yourself, 10tons and what other things inspired the creation of Neon Chrome?
My name is Sampo Töyssy and I’m the lead designer and producer of Neon Chrome at 10tons. 10tons aims to create delightful and exciting games for all suitable platforms. For Neon Chrome this means PS4, XB1, and PC first and then mobile as a secondary platform. We’ve wanted to create a new top-down shooter for a long time. When Steam, PS4 and XB1 all opened up for smaller developers like 10tons, we felt that the we have a nice potential audience on those platforms.
Neon Chrome is an indoor shooter with destructible environment where the player is armed with a weapon and an ability. The ability can be a weapon or some other tool to manipulate the enemies. The ability requires energy to function and energy is dropped by the enemies and found in loot boxes. We also have a perk system in the form if installable cybernetic enhancements. So there are some similarities with Crimsonland like top-down shooting and perks, but for the most part the games are really different.
We first started throwing ideas around about the project being a more traditional shooter set in a cyberpunk world. This would’ve had handcrafted indoor levels and a fixed time line in the form of missions. We then got the idea of a cyberpunk top-down shooter with procedurally created levels. Everyone at the company got really excited about that and that is basically what Neon Chrome is: A cyberpunk top-down shooter with rogue-like elements.
In Neon Chrome, rogue-like means mainly two things: First, after dying your perks and weapon upgrades and such are reset and you start from the bottom. Second, most of the levels you encounter are procedurally generated. Also the enemies have some random parts in them as well in the form of hero-enemies, which are random twists on top of base enemy types.
The basic interaction in Neon Chrome is an extremely polished top-down shooting experience. In addition to that, the gameplay is also about using the environment and abilities to overcome the challenges. You’ll try to surprise the enemy and then maybe overwhelm them with grenades or convert some of them to fight for you. You’ll also try not to get caught in the crossfire or explode yourself into bits. Sometimes you’ll ambush the enemies following you.
“We’ve drawn inspiration from games like Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, Alien Swarm, Alien Breed, Shadowgrounds and so on.” – Sampo Töyssy, Project Lead
The environment itself is also dangerous as you’ll encounter different kinds of traps including mines and laser barriers along the way. You need to move skillfully to avoid those. There are also hand crafted boss fights which are challenging and may require some learning. The bosses are dangerous but on the other hand, somewhat predictable.
Hotline Miami games were of course an inspiration as they’re indoor top-down shooters also. The main difference is the fact that you’re not killed with one shot as in Hotline Miami. However, you’ll still die often but you get some warning and maybe a chance to find a medikit or an autodoc to save the day. We’re also very focused on shooting and the melee is only a supporting move.
We’ve drawn inspiration from games like Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, Alien Swarm, Alien Breed, Shadowgrounds and so on. Most people on the team played Shadowrun or Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop RPGs at some point and we also love Blade Runner. The list of inspirational things is a long one.
That sounds fantastic, it really sounds like Neon Chrome is a love letter to the Cyberpunk genre! What modes will be available in Neon Chrome? Will there be a survival or horde mode of sorts for players to compete for high scores?
The main mode is the main adventure which consists of generated parts and handcrafted parts. The adventure is split into chapters of 3-7 levels and usually ends in a boss fight. Towards the end of the adventure the chapters tend to get longer with larger and more numerous levels. The levels inside the chapter are mostly procedurally generated so they’ll be different each time. The adventure can be played through repeatedly with increasing difficulty.
After completing the adventure the first time, it can be played again and again with ever increasing difficulty. The second playthrough is possible for many, the third will probably be so hard that only a few can manage it. Fourth requires some extraordinary skills. Fifth, well, we’ll see. The players usually surprise us with their skills.
Survival is possible, but that largely depends on how much time we want to spend before the release so we’re not promising that yet.
You mention that level generation will be randomized in Neon Chrome. Will the system pull from a pool of pre-created levels or will it generate unique levels on its own?
One of the main ideas was to give the player a somewhat believable futuristic environment to have a gunfight in. This means you’ll see corporate boardrooms, offices, labs, apartments and such – which you can of course demolish.
The levels are a hybrid of completely procedural and pre-fabricated. The level layout is procedurally generated and then the game starts to decorate the rooms with prefabs. The prefabs are then populated with the items the player loots or uses. The final step is to spawn the enemies. The enemies will appear on random locations defined in the prefabs and their types and numbers depend on the phase of the game. The prefabs range in size from small closets to big halls.
We actually experimented level creation without any prefabs first. The levels ended up looking quite boring. It would have required massive amounts of code as you’d have had to create an algorithm for all kinds of different rooms to make the rooms recognizable.
I see there is local multiplayer available for Neon Chrome. I remember an often requested thing for Crimsonland was online multiplayer, but due to limitations with the engine and number of enemies on screen net-play wasn’t really an option I heard. Will Neon Chrome have online multiplayer or are there plans to add that feature in the future?
With a team size this small we chose to focus on the single player experience. We hope to make a multiplayer game at some point but we can’t put everything into one game. It is unlikely that we add online multiplayer into the game at a later date. Online multiplayer should usually be the starting point in order to create a meaningful online multiplayer experience. In addition to tech, it is also about the design: a fun multiplayer game might be a boring single player game. That’s not to say that you couldn’t have both, it just usually requires a lot more work.
The website states that Neon Chrome will be released on PS4, XB1 and PC in early 2016. Are there any plans to bring it to additional platforms? Any idea what the pricing will be once the game is released?
The pricing will probably fall in the 10-20 USD range on most platforms. In addition to PC, PS4, and XB1, the goal is to have the game available on high end mobile devices and hopefully PS Vita.
Is there any plans to bring future content to Neon Chrome in the form of updates or DLC?
To be frank, that largely depends on the success of the game. If the game becomes popular and we get a lot of customers, we’d be excited to create more content in the form of updates and DLC.
Great! It seems like there’s significant interest in Neon Chrome judging by Steam Greenlight where it peaked to #8 in the voting! Thanks again for talking with us about Neon Chrome, I look forward to hearing more about the game as it gets closer to release. Having sunk hundreds of hours into Crimsonland over the years in it’s various incarnations, I’m excited to see what new ideas Neon Chrome brings to the table!
Thanks to you too! We’ll keep pushing towards the release and try to make sure that people will enjoy the game! In the meanwhile sign up for our mailing list at neonchromegame.com for news and beta invites.
Lift would also like to thank Sampo Töyssy and Jaakko Maaniemi over at 10Tons Ltd, we look forward to getting a review of Neon Chrome up whenever the game is released!