The screenshot above is our first fleeting glimpse of Spire, the new project of indie team Hitbox. Their last game was 2D platformer Dustforce - what happens when you introduce a clean freak to N+ - and if you’re in the least compelled by that game’s one-to-one marriage of player to keyboard then you’re probably going to like this too.
Here’s what Quake looks like, played (as it only is these days) by the experts:
Spire’s conceit sees the environmental mastery on show every day in Quake Live extracted and relocated to a story-driven, single player environment. What’s more, that environment will be procedurally-generated - the titular tower’s structure will change every time you play the game, and so too might its story.
I’ll let Hitbox take the reigns to explain that last part:
“Environments and the transitions between them tell a story. In Spire, we want to keep this in mind in order to create a procedural level generation that has flow and character. If the generator has created a dangerous, frantic sequence with lots of combat, it might think to then generate a scene with lower intensity to better control the emotional arc of the experience.
“In this way, Spire will generate intentional level flow instead of randomized environments. The resolution of the generation is very high: there are no premade rooms or scripted events. Everything from the placement of the books on a shelf to the shape of the walls and floors will be generated with intention.”
Within these designer-defined parameters, Hitbox intend to build a game which exudes a sense of “exploration and mystery”, in which new enemies and items will be frightening and unfamiliar. They also want to make you feel cool.
“We had a similar philosophy in Dustforce, where we aimed to have the most efficient play style overlap with the most stylish,” explain Hitbox.
“On Spire, one of our goals since the beginning has been to create an FPS movement system that feels snappy like Dustforce, incorporating walljumps, wall sliding, and other advanced techniques. The level generation will result in scenes that demand mastery of all sorts of skills, not just running and aiming.”
Much of that mastery will involve combining left- and right-hand items to produce a variety of effects and overcome environmental challenges.
If the word ‘mastery’ is beginning to lose all meaning, you’re probably getting the right idea - Hitbox are already talking leaderboards and “hotly contested” weekly ranked challenges. This will be as much a game to watch in awe as to play.
Spire doesn’t have a release date as yet, but Hitbox are reportedly “well into the development” of their new project. So, in the meantime: what do you think?
Thanks, Indie Statik.