Creating Adr1ft: Meet The Team Behind Revolutionary Space FPX

Creating Adr1ft: Meet The Team Behind Revolutionary Space FPX

We’ve met with the game’s producer Matteo Marsala from Three One Zero at GDC 2015 and discusses the indie philosophy and the reasons for switching from Unity to Unreal Engine 4.

Adr1ft is one of those rare games that got everyone excited. It’s an incredible space adventure from Three One Zero, formed by people behind Medal of Honor. There’s no shooting, no guns. Adr1ft provides Gravity-like gameplay experience and eye-popping graphics. We’ve met with the game’s producer Matteo Marsala at GDC 2015 and discusses the indie philosophy and the reasons for switching from Unity to Unreal Engine 4.

Tell us a little about the game. What is Adr1ft ?

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Adr1ft is a first person experience game. You are an astronaut in space working for Hardiman Corporation. You wake up in space. Your station has been destroyed in front of you and you don’t know how or why, all you know is that it’s destroyed and you’re leaking oxygen out of your suit and you have to solve your immediate need of getting oxygen before you die.

Is this more of an exploration title?

Yeah, there’s no shooting and there’s no violence. We’re getting the game and calling it an FPX. We all come from an FPS genre, we used to work on Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and we’re kind of a little fatigued with that. We like playing those games but we don’t really want to make those games anymore. Adr1ft  is a 4-5 hour experience of you discovering what happened to the space station and trying to repair your escape craft and get back home. Along the way you’re encountering your fallen comrades and you’re understanding a little more of their story as you’re going on. You will also have to resolve their stories and tie them up and bring them back to Earth eventually.

Why did you decide to use Unreal Engine 4?

Matteo Marsala at GDC 2015 ©

My partners built this game on Unity  to begin with. The demo was built in about 10 weeks. Our team shopped it around at DICE last year and got a lot of interest from publishers. 505 picked us up from there. At that point we had to make a tough decision. Do we continue going on Unity or do we move over to Unreal? The way my tech director Omar Aziz explained this is that Unity is like an F150 pickup truck: it’s a good workhorse so it’ll get the job done and it’s not the prettiest thing in the world but it’ll do it for you. Unreal is like a Ferrari, you can do amazing things with it that are super high performance. Thank God, we’ve got a really seasoned team here and we can really produce something this wonderful on this engine.

Are you producing all the assets in game or do you use some of the assets from Unreal Engine Marketplace?

I would say 99.99% of the stuff is produced in-house. There’s some stuff that we’ll buy from TurboSquid for our game: some props here and there. But I would say everything in the vast majority of the game except a handful of props is handmade in the game.

It looks very expensive. How did you finance the game?

We got a publishing deal with 505. So the publisher is funding the game for us, they’re paying for the development. We’ve been in development for about 10 months on this. So, I think the only way we can produce something of this quality level and this time is a testament to the guys working on this team.

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These are all 15+ year veterans in the games industry that have AAA background and pedigree and have been doing this stuff for other big companies for many years. That’s why it looks like it does. It’s come quite far in such a short amount of time, but these guys are used to making AAA games for other publishers.

Who are the core people working on your team?

It’s an interesting story. We all used to work together at Electronic Arts on the Medal of Honor franchise in early 2000. Myself, Omar Aziz the tech director, Adam Orth my creative director, Tom Gerber one of my senior designers, Sam Bass is another senior designer, and Jason Barajas is our art director. That set of guys all used to work on Medal of Honor and I was the producer of Medal of Honor, so we worked together and had experience working together in the past.

All these guys had gotten on after Medal of Honor to work on some incredible games at Neversoft, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Microsoft. Everyone kind of split off and did their own thing and then we got this opportunity to come back together. We always used to say, if we were in charge we would do things differently. Now we’re in charge, we’re doing things differently. We’re doing things how we want to do it and how we’ve always envisioned things working together as a small team.


Matteo Marsala, Producer, Three One Zero

Adrift will be coming out in July. It will be available for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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    Creating Adr1ft