Posted 16 November

Introducing Chronovolt, a steampunk platformer for PS Vita

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Hi everyone. David from Playerthree here, to tell you about Chronovolt – our new PS Vita game debuting on the PlayStation Plus service next week.

Our aim with Chronovolt was to bring a challenging platform adventure to PS Vita, whilst making use of its unique touch interfaces and gyroscopic controls.

From the start, we had a steampunk theme in our heads that could allow us to create worlds and characters with strange machines and futuristic sources of energy. HG Wells’ classic sci-fi novel, The Time Machine, was a definite source of inspiration. A time manipulation concept not only allowed us to jump between very different settings, but was also a perfect fit for the Vita’s touch controls, allowing players to manipulate time with their fingers.

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On a technical level, we’d also been developing a ‘rolling ball’ engine to exploit the gyroscopic controls. It seemed a lot more fun than driving Wells’ ‘time sled’ around and, besides, the Daleks had the whole coaster-based-time-travel area sewn up already!

As the PS Vita is capable of so many methods of interactions, we were faced with a number of control options. We always wanted Chronovolt to have a fast play style and a dramatic storyline so we decided to move more control to the analogue sticks, use the rear screen to control the camera and the front screen for quick intermittent challenges.

This decision would form the basis for the main time controls where the player can immediately use the screen to stop and rewind time, target nearby or distant objects, and ‘attack’ enemies using time.

We based our story around the discovery of Chronovolts – the energy that powers time – and the use of Chronospheres, created by our two mad inventors, Dr Chase and Scabious Claw. We also wanted to have a young female hero in the form of Jessica Chase who takes up the challenge and through whom you play the game, as you set off after Scabious on your grand adventure.

Our art director Filip was responsible for developing the visual style of our protagonists. They needed to be universally understood, drawing influence from the steampunk idea, while still being fun and appealing. The characters wear Victorian-style clothing with all the added gadgets, goggles, buckles and alterations that define the steampunk theme.

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Seeing the character concepts really helped spark our imagination in producing an overarching storyline that could allow the player to journey between the different exotic locations. Without giving the game away, everyone loves an end-of-the-world scenario and the fight for Chronovolts is central to it.

Meanwhile, the aim for the environments was to create three distinct worlds which our time travelling characters could lead the player through. These ended up as a lush Mayan world, a snow-covered Chinese world and the Future world.

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As the game was our first full Vita title, we had to create our 3D and shader engine from scratch. It was an exciting process, with a steep learning curve but one we’ve achieved, albeit slightly delayed from our initial release date. Now we have an excellent footing from which to produce our next title. We’re already developing a new concept and can hopefully talk about that soon.

For now though, we hope you all enjoy Chronovolt when it launches next Wednesday. Feel free to ask any questions below!

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Comments

32 Comments 14 Author replies
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chrisboers 16 November, 2012 @ 3:09 pm   1

Thanks for this very informative blogpost. Seeing the artwork and thought process behind the creation of a game always makes it come to life so much more than when you simply get the game dropped in your lap.
It will be a joy to check this out on the Vita next week. Great launch-title for the PS Vita Plus!
One small question: What’s the install-size? (Not that it really matters, but at least I can make sure there is enough free space!)

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 3:22 pm    

    Hello everyone! We are really excited to see the game finally coming out next week and we cannot wait to hear your feedback.

    @chrisboers: Thanks for the positive comments. Make sure to have at least 280Mb of free space on your memory card.

 

hi there great post for a nice looking game.

a few questions for you.

1. how do you feel about your first title being chosen as a flagship launch title for the new plus vita service?

2. will you be supporting the game with post game dlc? as so may people will be getting the game free i see this as a great way to add revenue for you to work on your next title.

3. how many trophy’s will the title have.

thanks guys and best of luck with your future titles :)

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 3:33 pm    

    Hi,

    thanks for asking!

    1. We feel very honoured to have had the chance to release Chornovolt as a PSVita PS+ launch title. And to be amongst the other super good games feels very good. I am a big fan of Gravity Rush. :)

    2. There will be a DLC available from day 1. You can get a pack with 4 new Chronospheres. Each one has a special characteristic. You do not need them to enjoy the game but if you want to try different ones to suit your play style you can.

    3. The game has 9 trophies. 2 Bronze, 6 Silver and 1 Gold.

    Thanks!

 

Thanks for the introduction to Chronovolt I’m now looking forwards to playing this game.

Two questions, will this be a platinum trophy game and is this game a single player, multi player or both?

Thanks!

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 3:36 pm    

    Hi Unicronic,

    no platinum trophy sorry. There are 2 bronze, 6 silver and 1 gold..

    The game is both single player and asynchronous multiplayer. You will be able to send your best time to your friends to see if they can beat you.

    Thanks!

    Regards,

    Luigi

 

Been following this game for quite some time so great to see it’s finally releasing :)

 
Catkiller1 16 November, 2012 @ 3:35 pm   5

Just watched the video & it looks like a cross between Kula World, Marble Madness, Switchball & Puzzle Dimension!

The Blue Bar situated at the top-centre of the screen…..is this a time bar & it eventually depletes or is it an energy bar, as it looked like the ball suffered electricity attacks within the video but i’m not quite sure??

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 3:51 pm    

    Hi,

    the blue bar indicates how many Chronovolts you have collected. They give you the power to play with time. You consume them by rewinding, stopping time, attacking enemies etc.

 

When I read the article and saw the character I was very excited but when I watched the video nothing of what I read came trough.
Is it a marble game with a story besides it or are you going to play as these characters in a story driven world.
Anyway I’m going to play it on myu Vita because it looked old school fun!

 

Seems great , I love puzzle games and to be honest I like it that we take your game for PS+ freebie than wipeout. So two questions ( or wishfull requests :) )

1) Is the music from the game?

2) Any thoughts of future projects?

I would love to see more games with the world you created and your concerpt arts, something like an action adventure or a paltform would be great.

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 3:59 pm    

    Hi,

    thanks for preferring Chronovolt to Wipeout, but you should also get Wipeout as it rocks!

    1) Yes, that’s in-game music.
    2) We are already working on a new title for PSVita. I cannot disclose anything but the art style is as good as in Chronovolt (Filip is Art Directing the next one too).

    Ciao

 

looks amazing he reminds me Kula world! thanks guys for this free game. to bad for me i don’t have free space to my memory card, so next free gift from plus a 32 gb memory card anymore :)

 

I envision all three characters sporting a pegleg each… or maybe the one to share amongst the three of them. I look forward to playing: a big Lisa Simpsonesque “Thanks” to the team with a gratitudiful peck on the collective cheek to boot. :

 
Voodoo341 16 November, 2012 @ 4:18 pm   10

This is free to PS+ members?

 
supersmith2500 16 November, 2012 @ 4:28 pm   11

@Voodoo341:
Yes it’s free for Plus members,

Also, might give it a try since it’s free.

 
Catkiller1 16 November, 2012 @ 4:31 pm   12

@ Luigi

Thanks for getting back to me on the Blue Bar question….makes sense now!

Keep up to good work ;)

 

This looks interesting. Kind of like Hamsterball with elements of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time!

My 8 year old daughter will enjoy this just as much as me, which is very important!

 
Guillemots 16 November, 2012 @ 4:40 pm   14

Really looking forward to it!

 
RossyWilson 16 November, 2012 @ 4:45 pm   15

Really glad chris has decided to put this in the plus line up. Keep up the good work luigi and everyone else at playerthree

ShivaRpgN 16 November, 2012 @ 4:48 pm   16

Hi there! I hope you still have some time to answer questions:

1. How many levels are there in the game?

2. How much does the game cost for non-plus consumers?

 
SuperJag86 16 November, 2012 @ 4:52 pm   17

Ooh another Vita game in the works! Any hints on genre and/or release timescale?
More Vita game the better, thanks!
(Also thanks for making Chronovolt a PSPlus game, it’s much appreciated from someone who bought so many of the launch titles!)

 
teetboy71 16 November, 2012 @ 5:00 pm   18

keep up the good work guys . Nice of you all to supportthe vita. Happy to be a Sony fan.

 
BlueTigerCub 16 November, 2012 @ 5:04 pm   19

Wow. Thought this game looked cool from the post – am excited to play it ‘free’ through PS+. Should keep me busy until Wipeout 2048 gets added to the instant game collection…

Only disappointment is the lack of a platinum trophy for this title. Should still be fun though :)

 
Voodoo341 16 November, 2012 @ 5:16 pm   20

It isn’t PS3 compatible?

    Luigi Fumero 16 November, 2012 @ 5:19 pm    

    Hi Voodoo341,

    no, it is a PSVita only title, but thanks to the touch screen you can touch objects and freeze time for them.

 
Voodoo341 16 November, 2012 @ 5:21 pm   21

So it isn’t really free… I’ve paid for it through my PS+ sub and I can’t access it. That’s just brilliant. Thanks for that! I really appreciate free paid for things I can’t use.

DarktaxFA 16 November, 2012 @ 5:36 pm   22

getting it for free but would happily pay for it if i didn’t have plus looks awesome ; D

 

21# Ofcourse you can’t get access to the game. It’s relesing next week…

 
Player42791 16 November, 2012 @ 7:20 pm   24

@Voodoo341

You can always add it to your download list using your PS3 then download it once you buy yourself a vita

Looks great. Thanks for the post. How much will this cost for non plus members?!?

 
DrSHREEVEERA 17 November, 2012 @ 3:42 am   26

How many levels does this game have? What bout Trophies n DLC?

    Luigi Fumero 20 November, 2012 @ 10:57 am    

    Hi,
    the games has 27 levels and 9 trophies (2 bronze, 6 silver and 1 gold).
    The first DLC, available from day 1, adds 4 new Chronosphers with different characteristics.

 
street-artist95 17 November, 2012 @ 9:27 am   27

nice

 
Alienshade 18 November, 2012 @ 4:25 pm   28

Were is info on sine mora?

Gamesgbkiller 18 November, 2012 @ 6:09 pm   29

The track of the trailer is really reminded me of Jak and Daxter games :)

 

I dunno these guys have burnt me a couple times with that crappy match 3 game for playstation mobile and the god awful rumble trucks mini. Sorry just not interested.

    Luigi Fumero 20 November, 2012 @ 10:58 am    

    Hi matdub69,
    sorry to hear you did not enjoy a couple of our previous games. Please contact us directly at info_at_playerthree.com.

    ciao

 

Trophy for unlocking world 2 did not pop! Even after installing the update which was supposed to fix this. Do I now have to remove the game and try again?

    Luigi Fumero 22 November, 2012 @ 2:56 pm    

    Sorry for the inconvenience. We are working on a patch to fix that problem. At the moment to get the trophy you need to finish the first level of the next world.
    Sorry again.

 
supersmith2500 9 December, 2012 @ 8:11 pm   32

Oh dear, Chronovolt only got 44% Metacritic score and is the second lowest Vita game to be scored. I mean I know you guys did your best but I had a go on it since it was free for Plus members and it was okish but wasn’t that great. No voice acting, conversations interrupt gameplay and not to mention only single layer on the floor causing the ball to fall through when fell of course. Sorry guys but didn’t really enjoy it. =\