The scent of spices on a cold night in the desert. The faint light of torches, far away. And between two houses, a shadowy figure: our hero, who will need all of his wit – and probably his wip, to triumph against the forces of Evil. Welcome to the City of Brass.
Described as a rogue-like, or a rogue-lite (the expression differs between the official description of the title in the email sent to this journalist and the description on the game’s Steam page), City of Brass is also described as a « palace crawler », in which the player’s character must find its way around an exotic arabian city, while battling hordes of ennemies.
« The setting is of course inspired by the classic Arabian Nights tales, and the tale of the City of Brass in particular: a cautionary tale about greed, set against an opulent city that ultimately became a tomb for its wealthy inhabitants », says the team at Uppercut Games, a trio of developers who already worked on games like Fallout: Tactics, Tribes: Vengeance, Bioshock and XCOM.
« That setting combined with our desire to create a rogue-lite game with combinatorial play. That’s the driving force behind the design, the reason why it’s first person, features a really cool whip that can be used to grab, trip, disarm, stun or shatter as well as swing, the fluid movement and melee combat, the traps, wide variety of enemies… It’s the combination of all the systems that makes it unique », they add, in answers provided by email to Pieuvre.ca.
For the early backers, the game is supposed to feature 12 levels of gameplay « with hours of replayability », in which players can unlock gear, weapons, skills… While reading the title’s description and watching the previews online, it’s hard no to think to the plethora of other games promising basically the same thing. There’s indeed something to be said about imitation and flattery, especially in the videogame world, but whilst the concept behind City of Brass is indeed interesting – combining roguelike or roguelite elements coming from a few of the games that inspired the developers (Spelunky, Nuclear Throne, Ziggurat, Heavy Bullets) and the tridimensional perspective of a first person shooter (or, in this case, a first person combat/adventure game), the absence of real gameplay videos, for example, makes it hard to say if the game will live up to its expectations.
Nevertheless, Uppercut Games are confident that City of Brass is a solid title, so much so that they’ve decided, from the start, to up the ante and dwelve into the rogue-like/lite world, and to promise « eternal replayability », nothing less!
« A game with permanent death has to be replayable, or the game fails before it’s even got started! Procedural generation means it’s highly unlikely you’d ever have to play the same level again, but it’s really the fact there are so many combinations of gameplay systems also interacting with the level layout – things like the traps and how they are oriented in respect of the enemy locations, where the swing points are found, the time of day, which genies you find and so on. As you get better at the game and manipulating its systems, you’ll explore deeper into the city, but it will always be throwing you new challenges as your skills improve », said the developers.
It’s important to note that City of Brass will take the traditional Early Access route; instead of disguising the official « launch » as an Early Access event, the game will offer limited content to PC users for 6 to 12 months, and then be fully realeased once everything is ready and the bugs have been ironed out.
As for the console version on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, it should come out in 2018, after the full PC release.
Until then, it may be wise to proceed with caution. Luckily, said caution would certainly be helpful to prepare for the magical hordes that roam around City of Brass…