In case you haven’t seen it yet, HexWorks and publisher CI Games are set to release Lords of the Fallen later this year. A reboot of the original 2014 release, Hexworks is reimagining the game in a way that seemingly puts it closer to Fromsoftware’s Souls series. Huge steps to follow, especially after the release of Elden Ring, which apparently even caught the studio by surprise as they discuss some of the similarities found in there game, while remaining confident that they’ll be offering a unique experience.
In an interview with MP1st, HexWorks head of studio Saul Gascon and Creative Director Cezar Virtosu talk about the similarities between the two games, and how Elden Ring caught the studio “by surprise.”
MP1st: Has Elden Ring had any effect on the game’s development, be it removing or changing some gameplay mechanics or design because of it, this is something like a remake or reboot, you know, did that factor in at all?
Cezar Virtosu – I hate this answer, but it is yes and no – It’s a non-answer. What I meant is that Elden Ring caught us by surprise. We were expecting something great, not something groundbreaking. Nobody expected that sort, and it came late in our development, so we had to stick with our guns.
Because the way we do business is that we lock gameplay metrics on placeholder assets early on, and from there we just do tweaks as we create art. This is our way to cut on the iteration time and create AAA in 3.5 years.
Luckily, our industry savviness, we picked our horses differently than Elden Ring. We also overlapped on some of the improvements. For instance, the crafted tankers, the vestiges, we thought we were giving the players a bit too much with manual saves, but then we saw Elden Ring doing the Stakes of Marika and we’re like, alright, we’re good. We were very concerned that we were doing too much accessibility.
Some of the weapons that we’ve done, we found them in Elden Ring. Okay, there’s nothing we can do.
They have a girl that flies and fights with a sword. We have a girl that flies and fights with a sword. They had a small noble. We have a small noble. But we didn’t change them. We left them as they were. We are confident that they have different thematics, different stories than the ones from Elden Ring. They have flying creatures. We have some flying birds and things.
I would say 98% of the game is untouched. But if we saw something that looked like Elden Ring, and we can do something about it in tweaks, colors use, and VFX, that’s what changed.
Saul Gascon – I think you nailed it. Of course, we are very aware of what surrounds us, where and when are we launching, and who’s around like the big one. We took a look, we played it, we checked, and then said, okay, we are good. We don’t overlap with them too much.
And actually, with Umbral, we really are on a different side. We saw as well and compared the main strength of being open world, right? That is something that also we checked as well with our playtests, and people appreciated that we were not open world. So it’s like a different experience. In that regard, it was a very good thing, though, that they brought in the audience, they made the game more accessible to more people, and then from those people who are taking those, are looking for us, for a more intense, handcrafted experience.
Lords of the Fallen is set to be released this October 13 on the PS5, Xbox Series X|S and PC. Stay tuned to our full interview hitting the site soon!