Gefängnis in Scum

The prison survival title SCUM, which is in development, has been building momentum with survival fans for the past 6 months. Until Gamescom, the goal and purpose of SCUM was a mystery to us and we were not sure what type of game this would be. Luckily we got the chance to sit down with the Croatian developers from Gamepires to see just what this game has in store for us.

A Very Skilled Development Team

In the beginning Tomislav Pongrac, Creative Director of the project and a passionate game designer, pours a glass of liquor for the both of us. “It’s easier to speak” he says. Then he began by explaining the background to the visually impressive tech demos on YouTube. To him and his team, correct character control is the core goal for the game and the team wants to do it right.

Scum fog
The fog hides foes waiting to pounce.

The mechanics shown in the videos look impressive and well worked on, but they are not set in stone. Enthusiastically, Tomislav told us about the amount of feedback he and the team have received, even though there is no playable demo for players to try as of yet. The feedback is often messy but some do actually come forward with good points and improvements from a development standpoint. Gamepires are ecstatic that a community is already building with such brilliant input. A win for the development team.

“Everything Should Be Self-Evident”

Moving away from the controversial gameplay decisions, Gamepires aims to make the most realistic playable character to date. This includes, among other things, calculations for an in-game metabolism and how our body uses it. For this, Tomislav himself experimented on his own body to test the different rates of his metabolism. He documented the changes while trying various diets. In an ‘alpha test’ Tomislav asked fans to submit certain data on their physique and fitness levels for comparative purposes.

scum metabolism
SCUM’s complex metabolism feature. I should have studied science.

Actions such as climbing, which are expected soon in Player Unknowns Battlegrounds, was deemed as not worth mentioning according to Tomislav.

“Of course we have it in, but that should be all self-evident.”

In the Creative Director’s opinion, natural aspects of the game include: the effect that water has on the character (swimming and walking in the rain will affect the players body temperature), the deterioration of food over time, the electricity system and A.I. animals. They want to be clear that none of this should be seen as ‘special features’, but more like part of the core game.

As good as the mechanics sound, what is SCUM really all about? Well we now know that Gamepires’ sealed lips are down to the hope that the surprise will bring more interest to the game. SCUM is going to be part of the open-world sandbox survival genre, a genre loosing popularity by the minute. The developers know that they need a massive shake up and something truly unique to make SCUM shine. Tomislav certainly thinks that this title is the one we are looking for. “Give us a chance” is the statement Gamepires made to the genre fans. However, this doesn’t mean that you should buy SCUM blindly. Just don’t not reject it merely because of the bad reputation of the genre. Because Gamepires want to be better: they aim to give this open-world survival a completely new player experience.

Considering the game’s story-line, there should be plenty of opportunities and motivation to be a part of the action packed multiplayer battles. Just exactly how this will happen is top secret, but the developers are pleased with their plan.

The Show Must Go On

So onto the story: SCUM is set in a future run by corporations. One of these companies – TEC1 – decides to let criminals compete against each other in a big reality TV show. Just like in the Hunger Games, players can try and win favours from the audience in the form of Fame points. (Fun Fact: Obese characters are more entertaining to look at and get more Fame points.) The setting is an island whose inhabitants left after a huge event in the past. This island now belongs to TEC1. The story is not the most original, but at least it’s the gameplay that needs to be. Players should aim to discover the history of the gladiator-style reality show and they may even find a way to escape the island.

Scum Map
Wide areas, dark forests: The map of SCUM is 144 km².

SCUM wants to be an open-world survival to keep its players entertained for long periods of time. For this, the small Croatian team does not shy away from major challenges such as the elimination of 3rd person exploits. But many gameplay elements are not yet finalised, such as base building. The tech demos are a good start to get an impression of Gamepires critical approach and we should, sometime soon, start to see the influence our feedback will have on the title as it progresses. But how will the result actually play out? Well, we will have to wait for a public demo. Can we write this game off already? Surely not.

SCUM is set to launch it’s Early Access release on Steam sometime in 2018.

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