Destroy All Humans – Exclusive Interview with Black Forest Games
We are happy to bring you an exclusive interview with Dennis Scheifer and Stefan Schmitz from Black Forest Games.
Disclaimer – This interview was done and recorded on June 12.
Leonid Melikhov: Alright guys, welcome to Gaming Instincts. Today we’re gonna be talking about Destroy All Humans with…
Dennis Schiefer: Dennis Schiefer Producer of Black Forest Games (BFG)…
Stefan Schmitz: and Stefan Schmitz, Senior Games Designer at BFG.
Leonid Melikhov: Awesome stuff guys so tell us about Destroy All Humans and how is it different from the original game and what’s the biggest goal with this new title, remake, reimagining, whatever you want to call it.
Dennis Schiefer: So it’s a remake of the original game, the only thing we keep from the original game is the voiceover and the basic storyline and of course our maps are closely resembling the original maps.
Leonid Melikhov: You mean like the world?
Dennis Schiefer: Yes, what we’re really modernizing is the controls and gameplay for combat because we want you to do damage that’s a bit more dynamic and just to fit player expectations of how the game will play. 15 years is a long time.
Leonid Melikhov: It’s a very long time. It’s amazing to what has happened to the gaming industry in general in 15 years right? We have all of those tools to play with, how did you guys start that process and what made you guys decide to go with Unreal Engine 4 as opposed to something else.
Dennis Schiefer: So with Unreal Engine 4 was the main decision was that we have another game made with it, so we became experienced with it. Before we were always using our own engines so this was a big step for us to switch to Unreal 4 so we’re gonna stick with it. It also does everything we want to do for those games so it’s a good fit. How the whole process started was that when THQ Nordic approached us to do a remake, the first thing we did was look into the old games and also looking at the reviews, press reviews, let’s player on youtube of people playing the old games. To get an idea of what people actually really liked about the games and the parts that kinda felt the game wasn’t that great or that smooth. So we’re concentrating on keeping what is good and improving on what was made or whatever is being criticized on.
Leonid Melikhov: So you want to take the good, take out the bad and make it nice again for the new generation of gamers going forward. If it’s successful do you guys wanna make more Destroy All Humans?
Dennis Schiefer: We’d absolutely would like to do that but for now, right now, it’s like testing the waters. THQ Nordic approached us, we were basically very anxious that our new answer would work or not and luckily it did. But time will tell essentially if Destroy All Humans will be a success we hope that we would do that.
Stefan Schmitz: The team would certainly would want to do it but it’s THQ Nordic’s Call.
Leonid Melikhov: Of course that’s on the publisher. So here’s the thing, the good news is that when you look at games like Spyro and Crash, a lot of people have been begging for those games to come back from the old PlayStation era for the new generation and so Activision is like, “Ok so we have the Spyro Ip and Crash IP. We have the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. That’s doing extremely well with three games kind of remade, people really liked it. So people wanted Spyro and they got Spyro because Crash sold well. So it’s interesting because there is a resurgence of these remakes. I never thought that in a million years that I would ever see this. A lot of people that I’ve talked to were like, “I completely forgot this game existed, this is amazing, this is a game come true that I didn’t even know that I wanted because I forgot about the game because it was so long ago so this is great.
Stefan Schmitz: It’s also scary at the same time to welcome something like this, it’s awesome because it’s an iconic Ip and an iconic character. Many know him by playing the original game back then, it’s also scary because we see how dedicated the fanbase is about this game and how protective they are. So we want to make sure not to disappoint them and it’s quite a challenge to achieve that.
Leonid Melikhov: People are also older, like the original fans so that kinda comes into play. They’ve changed, the industry changed, so how do we make this good for the old fans and good for the new? That’s the hard balance and I think the reality is that, if I’m going to be brutally honest with you, I think it’s impossible to make everybody happy so the only thing that you can do is do the best that you can and hope that it’s gonna go well.
Stefan Schmitz: There’s always people on the extreme, just make it this way.
Leonid Melikhov: Trust me I know and some of the things that I read on the internet and I think, “why?”
Dennis Schiefer: What I’m gonna do is respect the passion from this.
Leonid Melikhov: But there’s people who are passionately hate. Those people are not constructive about it and just like, “F this and F that because I don’t like these type of games.” They want to hate for whatever reason. We try to always be fair an that’s something I promise you, always get full fairness from me and our team. Now what are the new things or things that you fixed in this game compared to the first one as far as mechanics go.
Stefan Schmitz: We absolutely increased the mobility of Krypto, we’ve seen that in the demo right now. We got the dash ability to dodge bullets. It’d be fun and giving you some kind of one extra layer of challenge in this regared. The jetpack has been enhanced right now, we’ve got the glide ability to basically make you zip around even without his saucer you can travel around the map if you want to.
Dennis Schiefer: So what we did was basically, we looked at the old games and the reviews and looked at the later games because a lot of the things that were criticized from the first game were already taken care of by Pandemic themselves in the second game. So why should we reinvent that? So we look at what they did to fix the problem and move that into the first game.
Stefan Schmitz: The altitude changes were already present in Destroy All Humans 2 so we basically incorportated that.
Leonid Melikhov: That’s cool, awesome. Now I don’t know if you guys were at the Microsoft briefing. Did you attend any of the briefings at all?
Dennis Schiefer: No.
Leonid Melikhov: But you heard about Project Scarlett right, the new Xbox Console coming out? The new generation of consoles like the PlayStation 5. So they talked about framerates, high resolutions, new fidelity and most importantly when I talked to a lot of developers, they really like the increase of CPU and the increase of SSD’s, the new hard drives because the problem when you load a game. There’s a lot of open-world games right now so this is kind of semi-open world. Things loading in the distance and crazy popping-in going on all the time, how excited are you guys to finally be getting rid of that going forward with your future games. This is more of a developer question, I’m not asking what else you’re making.
Dennis Schiefer: Our coding team and our tech. It’s a real challenge to get the game optimized in a way to run with the graphics, visual quality…
Leonid Melikhov: And the particle effects because there’s a bunch of that here.
Dennis Schiefer: Yes so it is quite a challenge to get it to run on the current generation so of course the next generation will make all of that easier. On the other hand it also is interesting for developers to kind of force themselves to be conscious about their resource use. It is nice to have the next generation because we can simply do it all.
Leonid Melikhov: What do you think was the biggest holdback with the current-gen consoles is it the CPU, GPU?
Dennis Schiefer: It actually depends, I would have to talk to our technical director, because I forgot which one was which. For one of the consoles it was the CPU and the other is the GPU.
Leonid Melikhov: So it’s things on both end?
Dennis Schiefer: It depends on the console.
Leonid Melikhov: It depends on the console, I see. Are you guys doing anything for 4K on Xbox One X?
Dennis Schiefer: We will do upscaling for that.
Leonid Melikhov: Ok so you’re doing dynamic resolution maybe?
Stefan Schmitz: Yeah
Leonid Melikhov: I see. But 1080p by default?
Leonid Melikhov: And of course this is coming to PC?
Leonid Melikhov: Full-on 4k support on PC with unlocked framerate?
Dennis Schiefer: We’re still looking to what we can do with keeping the framerate as well. We don’t want the effects to be too extreme.
Leonid Melikhov: Right. What are you shooting for release target-wise?
Dennis Schiefer: It’s 2020 at the moment.
Leonid Melikhov: No season, just 2020 right?
Stefan Schmitz: Yeah just 2020.
Leonid Melikhov: 2020 is pretty packed. A lot of good stuff and a very exciting year
Dennis Schiefer: To be honest, when isn’t that the case? I mean every year we have something new.
Leonid Melikhov: That’s true but next year’s new console, it’s gonna be a wild ride.
Dennis Schiefer: Fair Enough
Stefan Schmitz: But also it’s 15 years of Krypto so…
Leonid Melikhov: Yeah that makes sense, good anniversary timing. Awesome so real quick, if the game is successful and they do make you do a Destroy All Humans 2 remake, hypothetically speaking, do you think it will be easier to develop that at this point? The first games are always hard to get up and running because they already have the tools making the second game probably would be easier.
Dennis Schiefer: Of course we have the experience from the first game and that’s one of the reasons we were so happy that we were actually asked to make a remake and not just a whole new game, because this allows our team to familiarize themselves with the Ip, the characters, the humor and that way we can be ready in case THQ Nordic wants to have a new game at some point.
Leonid Melikhov: Awesome. And one more question for you guys. What would you like to say to the fans of Destroy All Humans before we leave? Do you guys wanna take it away?
Dennis Schiefer: What I would like to say to the fans…
Stefan Schmitz: We will not dissapoint.
Dennis Schiefer: DESTROY ALL HUMANS!!! Well anyway I think the message should be that with this announcing this game early is that we’re in in pre-alpha so we’re really closely watching the reaction from the fans and this will certainly influence some of our decisions in the future. So give us you feedback let us know what you think and we will certainly listen to you.
Stefan Schmitz: All of these reactions were so heartwarming, it was an absolute morale bonus to the team.
Leonid Melikhov: Have you seen anyone cry?
Dennis Schiefer: *Laughs*
Stefan Schmitz: There was this one guy, I think it was an electrical worker, basically when he got the news on his iphone, he started screaming out of his workplace and he was completely going nuts, it was…
Dennis Schiefer: It was very emotional
Stefan Schmitz: He was overwhelmed with joy.
Dennis Schiefer: Stuff like this really motivates you. So you think that that there really are people who really care for this Ip and we don’t want to disappont.
Leonid Melikhov: You know, this is what E3 is all about. Everyone gets together and everyone is always excited to see the surprises. One of my employees, we were at the briefing. When the Halo Infinite trailer came up, he was done.
Both: *Laughing together*
Leonid Melikhov: He started crying the second the music started going and I told him, “Listen man, I thought you were joking to me when you said you were gonna cry but I guess not.
Dennis Schiefer: Some of the reactions are very emotional.
Leonid Melikhov: Yeah that’s cool, it’s their childhood. But yeah I’m looking forward to playing the full game and looking forward to reviewing it. I’ll do it personally for you.
Dennis Schiefer: We’re looking forward to seeing what you think.
Leonid Melikhov: Awesome. Thank You so much.
Dennis Schiefer: Thanks a lot.
Stefan Schmitz: Thanks.
For more information about the new Destroy All Humans including gameplay, check out coverage here.