We’re currently playing The Solus Project for our review, so we got in touch with the developer to talk about the game’s journey to the PlayStation 4.
PS4B: Hi! Good to have you with us at PS4Blog.net. Could you please get us started by introducing yourself to our readers and telling them a bit about your work?
My name is Sjoerd “Hourences” De Jong, and I was the lead developer behind The Solus Project. I am responsible for everything ranging from the concept to the game design to the art direction, but I also handled a lot of the technical work including all gameplay scripting and a lot of the world building.
PS4B: The Solus Project is now available for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR. How would you describe the game to someone who’s never heard about it?
The game is about the sole survivor of a spaceship crash who tries to stay alive on an alien planet. The planet is a water world not too different from Earth, and early in its evolution. There is little vegetation to be found on the various small islands, and there are no land animals just yet. The climate is violent, there are extreme swings in temperature between night and day, and tornadoes and lightning storms occur several times a week.
Not long after you set foot on the planet, you find out that you don’t seem to have been the first intelligent being to get there. You start to find deserted underground structures, but all of its original inhabitants seemed to have disappeared… Or have they?
The Solus Project is a first-person singleplayer story driven experience with a large world to explore. It is a mix of survival elements and exploration but tied together by the story. Unlike most survival games, it is a linear experience with objectives that sees you continuously travel to new locations to unravel what has happened on the planet.
PS4B: How long did it take the team to complete the game? Where there any considerable changes or challenges during development?
We started development in July 2013, and worked on the game for three years before its full release on PC/Xbox One. The PS4 version then took another year. We’ve had lots of challenges and changes throughout development, like most games.
In the very first concept of the game, the player was meant to play as a Mars-style rover robot. We changed it into a human to increase the emotional potential of the story. It was also a lot more hardcore in the start, but since almost no one was able to figure out where to go or how to stay alive, over time the survival experience became easier and easier, and the story became more and more important.
PS4B: How long would it take someone to play the entire game from start to finish? Are multiple playthroughs needed to see everything the game has to offer?
As always it depends on how you play, but typically most players spend 12-16 hours for a playthrough in which they will have found some of the extras, but certainly not all.
There is no need to play through the game multiple times since it is a linear experience, but there are a lot of hidden secrets and extras. We’ve got secret areas within secret areas within secret areas. You can freely wander around in all previously explored locations at any point in time to try and locate everything you may have missed.
PS4B: Since The Solus Project is now out for all to enjoy, is the team currently working on a new project or are you taking a short break?
The Solus Project was a major undertaking for us and has taken us years to build, so for the time being, the team is still recovering and looking at what we will do next.
PS4B: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Would you like to add anything else before we go?
We hope you will enjoy our alien experience! We spent a lot of time and energy and crafting the world and universe, down to some of the smallest details.
One of the things that I think no one has noticed yet, for example, is that if you wait long enough and then return to a certain memorable spot on the second island, you will find insects crawling around. These came from insect eggs that came along with some of the cargo during the crash, hatching a few weeks after crashing – and they’ve now infected the alien planet. That is the level of attention to detail we went for with this experience!