Stunning platformer/RPG Chasm hits PS4 this year

Take a closer look at how Discord Games’ adventure is taking shape

Hello, PlayStation fans! My name is James Petruzzi, and I’m the Producer of Chasm, a procedurally-generated RPG Platformer coming to PS4 later this year. In Chasm, players take up the role of Daltyn, a young soldier sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a mining crew in the remote mountain town of Karthas.14076746173_b41eb540ed_o

Upon arrival you learn the town has been cut off from the outside world by supernatural forces. Now trapped, you are left with no option but to explore the mines below the town and uncover the source of the disturbances. Only by gaining new special abilities, evading dangerous traps, and defeating hordes of deadly enemies can you hope to save Karthas – and possibly the world!

One of the hardest parts of game design is creating a unique and interesting world for players to explore. The Metroidvania genre has always been popular among exploration fans, and utilises unlockable items or abilities that help the player reach previously inaccessible areas. The goal of our latest game is to make an authentic Metroidvania-style experience that utilises procedural generation to keep the experience fresh for repeated play-throughs. Let’s quickly explore how we approached world design in Chasm.


The world of Chasm is based upon a simple four-tier hierarchical structure. Let’s start with the most basic building block: the Room. A Room in Chasm is a container that has collision tiles to walk on, one or more doors, and data for possible procedurally placed elements like enemies, traps, treasure, and more.

When creating a new room, the first task is deciding on its size. Should it just fill one screen, or should it scroll multiple screens vertically or horizontally? Next, we place the collision tiles for the player to walk on, and lay out spawn zones to define what things can spawn where. At this point, we can play the room in the game and see if it’s fun, decide what enemies or traps work best (or don’t work at all), and do general tweak ups. Once finalized, an artist visits the room and styles it with the area’s tileset.

A typical Sub-Area in Chasm (Red = Save Point, Yellow = Door)

Repeat this process many times, with many different sized rooms, and all of a sudden you have a big repository of possible options for generating a dungeon. When you start a new game, our dungeon generator lays out these rooms into the next building blocks of the world: the Sub-Area. A Sub-Area is comprised of around 10-15 rooms connected together in a unique configuration. All Sub-Areas have several things in common: a difficulty level, a save room, connections to other Sub-Areas or Areas, and the chance for “special” rooms to appear like puzzle rooms, trap rooms with waves of enemies to battle, or story rooms with ruins or notes to examine. Most importantly, we can guarantee certain items or NPCs will be somewhere in a Sub-Area for the player to discover.

Area layout for the Mines

An Area is formed when multiple Sub-Areas are connected together. Areas are designed to create a core set of goals and a path for the player. For instance, in the Mines your overall goal is to reach the boss in Sub-Area 2, but in order to reach it you first need to gain the Slide ability in Sub-Area 4. In order to reach Sub-Area 4, you must have repaired the elevator after acquiring the part in Sub-Area 5. In this way, we can ensure the area is properly paced, and the player has both short and long term goals to attain.


Lastly, the Areas are connected together to form the World. There will always be events that happen in the same order (ie. the player always goes to the Catacombs after completing the Mines), and in true Metroidvania fashion, there will also be backtracking between Areas. There may be a special treasure chest on a ledge you have to come back for later with the Ledge Grab ability, or perhaps a rather wide chasm blocking off the next area that requires the Flip ability to be crossed.

I hope this has shed some light on how the world of Chasm is designed, and gives you a better idea of how the game will play. By utilizing procedural generation, we hope to make the “room to room” exploration experience always new and exciting, while still providing a directed and well-paced experience. Finding the perfect blend between procedural generation and hand-crafting is a tricky endeavour, but one we think is more than worth exploring further.


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27 Comments 0 Author replies
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Porcupeth00 30 April, 2014 @ 11:51 pm   1

This looks like some old school goodness, thanks for bringing it to PS4

YOman1962 1 May, 2014 @ 12:41 am   2

Can we get this for vita too! 🙂

ThugETH 1 May, 2014 @ 7:47 am   3

+1 for a Vita version!

plusikowy 1 May, 2014 @ 8:10 am   4

so powerfull ps4 willl get game looks like in 98′, what’s going on, this is so annoying more and more simple games on console which supposed to be next gen, and sony is so proud of it. How many more games ps4 owners will get looks like some sh#@*ty Atari games?

    Njitram2000 1 May, 2014 @ 8:57 am    

    It takes about a year before proper AAA games other than the launch games can be released (they need time to be built and it takes at least two years to make a proper polished game). With the PS3 there was a void during that period, now Sony is filling it with indie games which is better than nothing at all.

    In one month, when E3 hits, we will see the big games that we’ve all been waiting for.

    Erroneus 1 May, 2014 @ 9:05 am    

    Urrgh, could you be more simple minded. So because you don’t like this type of graphics, nobody else should enjoy it?

    The PS4 is using a similar architecture as the PC and that’s why we are getting tons of great indie titles for PS4. These PS4 doesn’t make AAA games like Killzone, Knack, Assasins Creed 4, Infamous: Second Son, MGS V, Watch Dogs and so on worse games, they just add more variety.

    And the more variety, the more possible owners of PS4 and the more possible owners of PS4, the more games, also AAA will be released for it.

    CarotideEtude 1 May, 2014 @ 11:53 am    

    plusikowy, I hear ya, this is just a bad joke on PS4 owners. No one is saying diversity is bad but from the newsletters I get it seems PS4 is an indie gaming platform foremost. I’m glad I didn’t buy into the hype anf buy it for this.

    CarotideEtude 1 May, 2014 @ 11:53 am    


    plusikowy 1 May, 2014 @ 1:17 pm    

    @Erroneus, i am very open minded, believe me, and you can enjoy this games as much as I don’t, I do not deny this, but I can say what I want and what I think about it, in the same way which you can enjoy all this small indie games. simple as that.

Aces73High 1 May, 2014 @ 8:58 am   5

Any plans to bring this gorgeous platformer to my beloved Vita?? Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes, ple… … …

Witcher70 1 May, 2014 @ 9:00 am   6

BRING IT ON ! Day one for me 🙂

Suzzopher 1 May, 2014 @ 10:01 am   7

This looks incredible, right up my street.


Remote Play will be nice to play this on Vita but it’d be great to see a stand alone version on the Vita for times when Remote Play is unavailable.

vavires 1 May, 2014 @ 10:59 am   9

Guys, i love my ps4, and i adore rpg’s. I love the different art styles we have in them from FF, to tales, to ni no kuni.

But what i see now, no sorry thats something i played when i was a kid. gaming is like food. U eat with ure eyes they say.
Most games dont bring demos as well, so based on those graphics i will never ever touch it.
FF7 graphics on ps1 beats this.

I as a day 1 ps4 gamer am dissapointed.

    LeftMonocle 1 May, 2014 @ 1:16 pm    

    What are you talking about, this game looks gorgeous.

CarotideEtude 1 May, 2014 @ 11:51 am   10

I feel sorry for the PS4 owners who dished out huge moolah only to be treated to graphics from Sega Genesis era consistently.

    Porcupeth00 1 May, 2014 @ 12:09 pm    

    and i feel sorry for those who can’t appreciate these games. it’s your loss, not ours.

    Aces73High 1 May, 2014 @ 3:12 pm    

    Excuse me? SEGA Genesis era or not, this game looks stunning. Ever heard of the term ‘Pixel ART’?

    CarotideEtude 2 May, 2014 @ 3:53 pm    

    Dude call it art if you want, that’s beside the point. I’m saying I would feel mentally challenged if I was a PS4 owner who bought several hundred euros machine for Game Boy Advance graphics.

    Skullfaced 2 May, 2014 @ 10:14 pm    

    See, I never understood this kind of thinking.
    “Pff, who wants these old graphics on a new powerful console!?”

    Well…I do.
    I want these games because it’s mostly where the most creative games are; the indie scene.
    I get the ‘been-there-done-that’ feeling though, don’t get me wrong but the big budget, Triple-A games are on their way anyway? Because games like Chasm, Starwhal or Nidhogg are coming doesn’t make the games you’re waiting for coming out any slower.

    Why deny the smaller devs a chance to get their great games out?

tiago-kun 1 May, 2014 @ 1:11 pm   11

Chasm on my PS4? Shock Yeah!

hayzink 1 May, 2014 @ 4:47 pm   12

Out of all the games announced this has me most interested.

It looks great visually the art style really fits the game,id rather have pixel art than the more modern looking drawn style of street fighter hd for example.

Should be great fun, bring it on!

HomessaHomem 2 May, 2014 @ 10:08 am   13


jos3moreira 2 May, 2014 @ 10:31 am   14

I want to play it on my Vita only.

bennyrafal 7 May, 2014 @ 7:39 pm   15

Dear Devs, nice to see you made it on PS4, i remember ive posted a req about Vita on your forums, me enjoy!

Ampersand 20 May, 2014 @ 7:51 pm   16

Though I think the game is great looking and has a potential to play extremely well, I hope that the developers will put a lot more effort into sound design and music as the audio in the video demo is bad enough to actually prevent me from buying it when it comes out.