One of the stretch goals in the Kickstarter for the sci-fi horror-adventure Stasis promised the creation of a prequel chapter that would dig into the story of the Cayne Corporation, the Weyland-Yutani-like conglomerate behind so much of the game's misery. The Kickstarter was successful, the stretch goal achieved, Stasis has proven a success, and the prequel is in the works. But instead of simply building more content into the existing game, “we made the difficult decision to build Cayne from the ground up.”
The idea, developer Chris Bischoff explained in a blog post, is to use what was learned in the development of the main game to simplify the creation of the prequel while simultaneously expanding upon what can be done with it. One such example is the move from the entirely 2D environments of Stasis to a “2.5D system,” with 3D characters laid overtop a pre-rendered background.
“In STASIS, I needed to animate everything, render it out, set it up in a scene, tweak it, re-adjust if necessary, re-render, tweak… This process took an enormous amount of time with the results sometimes being less than satisfactory,” Bischoff wrote. “By using 3D characters that are rigged with bones, I can animate and import them directly into the game and see what adjustments need to be made.”
Cayne will also feature new techniques for improved lighting that will allow the team to more precisely adjust the “mood” of rooms in real-time, something Bischoff said “allows us flexibility, especially where we can overlap the technical expertise with the artistic vision.”
“I want to push the design of Cayne into new directions. Cayne will portray more of Nic and my personal game styles—in all aspects, from the story to characters and environments,” he wrote. “We want to bring in something slightly different to [the] Stasis universe to challenge ourselves. But Cayne is set in the same universe, so we aren’t going to stray too far from our '80s roots.”
Stasis, by the way, was really good: Unflinchingly grim, but one of the best point-and-click adventures I've played in long time. More info is up at stasisgame.com, and a pre-alpha demo is available from The Brotherhood.