Last night, Ubisoft announced Immortals: Fenyx Rising. The game focuses on Fenyx, a demigod, who has to save the Gods of Olympus from the Titan Typhon. Fans eager to know more about the game and its world should read on for an exclusive interview.
We sat down with Marc-Alexis Coté, Producer of the game as well as Scott Phillips, the game’s Director and Jeffrey Yohalem, Narrative Lead for the game. The talked us through the world, as well as the main ideas in making sure players enjoyed their adventures through the game.
The World of Immortals: Fenyx Rising
“Immortals: Fenyx Rising is very different compared to games you already know,” says Marc-Alexis. “Throughout the development of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, our minds lingered on another aspect of Greek history- mythology. The stories of the Greek gods and heroes have existed through generations of storytellers and have transformed into the tales we know and love today. These stories inspired us to build something totally new, which brought Immortals: Fenyx Rising to life”.
Sure enough, you won’t find the plot of the game on any pottery. In the original Greek myth, Typhon was a powerful Titan that Zeus banishes. According to the myth, volcanic eruptions are a result of Typhon trying to escape his prison.
Immortals follows a similar setup for Typhon, except this time he gets out. As Typhon defeats the Greek Pantheon, Fenyx now has to go on a quest to restore their godly powers. Jeffrey Yohalem, the Narrative Designer, talks about the decision of casting Typhon as the game’s primary villain.
“Typhon is the son of Gaia, the Earth, who gave birth to him in order to take revenge against the gods for trapping her older children, the Titans”, he says. “He attacked Zeus once before and nearly defeated him. But, this time, Typhon sneak-attacked all of Olympus and found a way to diminish and transform the gods. During his escape, he also opened the door to the underworld, unleashing deadly creatures and enemies upon the world”.
While the plot may sound bleak, the team says it’s important to not go full grimdark. According to them, keeping the story entertaining was an important part of the experience.
“Greek myths are complex, sometimes disturbing and dark, written for adults to make sense of our confusing world, so we wanted to be true to that original purpose”, says Jeffrey. “At the same time, the game is quite funny, which is also part of the original myths. These were the Greeks’ reality tv shows and soap operas, so they were also a break from everyday life”.
Like A Great, Greek Theme Park
According to Scott, this follows into the game’s design as well. Rather than create a bleak world full of ruins, he says the team opted for a more fun approach.
“Our world was built on the same philosophies as a theme park, creating strong iconic thematizations for all regions and biomes. Each region is inspired by a Greek god and everything in that region is specifically built to support the mythology of that god”, he says. “From the scarred battlefields of Ares the god of War to the lush paradise lands of Aphrodite the goddess of Love, players will encounter a huge and detailed world to explore. The land of the gods is full of varied terrains, monsters, and challenges”.
“Each enemy encounter, puzzle, and quest location is tailored to bring a unique aspect of the story, a myth, and a gameplay feature to light. Some terrain is more acclimated to gliding or focused on climbing, while other areas are larger and more open, perfect for a mount – so players will never tire of traversing the world”, he adds.
Managing Player Experience
Adding to this, Scott says the team preffered to not clutter the screen with UI elements. Instead, he wanted players to discover as much of the world on their own as possible.
“With Immortals Fenyx Rising we wanted to keep the players’ focus on the world of the game as much as possible”, he says. “We give the player tools to find and discover gameplay from a distance and then entice them to visit locations based on their attractiveness both visually and aurally when nearby, we provide only a minimum of information with the compass”, he continues.
“We made all of these choices to use the beautiful fantastical mythological world of the Golden Island to keep the players’ immersed in the world as much as possible and not focusing on UI elements to guide their experience”.
It’s Not An Open World If There’s Nothing To Do
Of course, there’s more to an open world than a big empty map. As Typhon escapes the Underworld, the world fills with other monsters also escaping. Scott says that they had to engage players every step of the way.
“We designed the gameplay experience around multiple core pillars- Rewarding exploration via dynamic and risky traversal, over-the-top, fast-paced combat against Mythological creatures and challenging Puzzles and World Challenges”. he says.
“The combat of Immortals Fenyx Rising is an acrobatic, airborne, over-the-top mythological experience. Fenyx will face off against giant creatures like the Cyclops, the Minotaur, or Medusa and use the Wings of Daidalos to lift themselves up into the air to properly deal with the immensity of these creatures.” he continues.
“Whether on the ground or in the air, Fenyx always has access to the Sword of Achilles, Axe of Atalanta, and Bow of Odysseus. In addition to physical weapons, Fenyx can also call upon the power of the gods and unleash powerful special abilities such as Hephaistos’ Hammer and Athena’s Dash”.
It’s good to know that the team behind Immortals: Fenyx Rising are working hard to make the game into something special. You can read our exclusive hands-on here for our thoughts on the game so far. Thanks again to Ubisoft for the opportunity to do this interview, and thanks to Marc-Alexis, Scott and Jeffrey for sitting down to talk to us.
Immortals: Fenyx Rising comes out December 3rd, 2020.