The Secrets of Game Design in The Ascent

Members of the Neon Giant team Arcade Berg, Tor Frick, and Alexander Litvinov Fominski talk about the little things that were thought through when creating The Ascent.

Neon Giant's co-founder Tor Frick begins by explaining where the world design came from and what inspired it. The grey cold metal-and-concrete environment with lots of neon lights was inspired by sci-fi and cyberpunk games, movies, and comic books. The idea was to make a world that is more than the planet Earth, a world that is bigger and broader, that is why you meet lots of alien-like creatures of all sorts in the game.

Alexander Litvinov Fominski, Neon Giant's Lead World Designer, explains how the game's system creates combat and gives you new variations of gameplay each time around. The smart system is not just a spawn-an-enemy randomizer – it is "a controlled random" as the artist explains. The game processes several parameters and resolves them into an encounter with an enemy that looks random but is wisely planned in reality. This way, sometimes the system throws in quite the challenge like a whole group of snipers you have to defeat but it doesn't happen all the time, the generator occasionally gives you extreme sets of enemies to keep you excited.

Arcade Berg, Neon Giant's co-founder, explains why the covers in The Ascent are the absolute gem of the game. First of all, there are lots of different covers all across the game and you can use pretty much any chunky block to hide from the enemies. You have neon cubes, metal panels, weird-looking constructions – and it's all yours. Secondly, it's not like you can only use a cover from one angle, instead, you can maneuver around it to find the best position considering where the enemies are coming from. Speaking of the enemies, they don't stand in front of you waiting to be shot as it happens in many other games – they can use covers, crouch, and hide, too! This makes the fight a billion times more intense and every win feels a billion times more rewarding.

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