Christian themed games seem to be making a bit of a mini-surge in the market. An RTS game based on the best selling Left Behind novels is in the works and new game developer company Boanerge Studios is working on their own Christian themed first person shooter called Armageddon. Gamecloud got a chance to chat with the company's co-founder Garland Wong to find out more about their plans for the game.
Gamecloud - First how did Boanerge Studios come to be formed?
Garland Wong - Boanerges Studios was founded by myself and Jesse Rapczak in February of
2005. I was a serial entrepreneur who sold my last company and decided what I really wanted to do. After much soul searching, I decided I wanted to start a Christian video game company. I am an avid gamer who felt that the Christian market was underserved. I see alot of parallel between the Christian music market and Christian game market. The Christian music market was underserved in the 70's and 80's but is now 7% of the music market. Christian music attained this status because of higher production value. I believe Christian gaming market will expand based on higher production values. What I mean by higher production value is the game must be high quality and take advantage of next generation hardware and have cross over appeal which means it must be fun to play. At Boanerges, we use the term Cinematically Realistic. We believe Cinematically Realistic goes hand in hand with higher quality. This means games will approach the look and feel of today's epic movies. Cinematically realistic is now more possible than ever thanks to advent of next generation hardware like the XBox 360 and Sony PS3. From a technology perspective, this means dynamic lighting, real time physics, fully destructible environments, and dynamic special effects like motion blur and real time reflection. The other aspect and more important one is the game must be fun to play. What good is a game with a good message if nobody plays it? So, our games must be fun to play and this will add to the cross over appeal. If you combine games with a good message and higher production value it is a winning forumula. Now, that Boanerges had its mission defined. The first order of business was to secure some next generation technology that would allow us to achieve or goals. So, I searched the web for next gen game engines and found Artificial Studios. I hired the creative team to join Boanerges Studios to work on our first title Armageddon.
Gamecloud - How did the idea for Armageddon come about?
Garland Wong - Both Jesse and I are Christians and we both had read the Left Behind Book Series published by Tyndale Publishing. The Left Behind books were a commercial success selling well over $560 million dollars worth of books. What The Left Behind books did was to apply a fictious story and characters around actual events that are foretold in the Bible literally. Specifically, from the book of Revelation. So, why not create a game with the same premise. Also, we both think the world needs to know about this Antichrist who will emerge someday. What better way than to tell the story through the game.
Gamecloud - What can you tell us about the storyline for the game?
Garland Wong - The game takes place in a time known as the End of Days. A great leader known as the Antichrist will emerge and form a treaty with Israel. The world will think the Antichrist is a good person but 3 1/2 years into this treaty he will break the covenant with Israel and declare himself to be God. He will force people to worship him by taking the mark of 666. You won't be able to buy food or work or function in his society if you don't take the mark. The Christians and Jews will work together to survive this time. What is unique about this story is it talks about a war that is foretold in the Bible? Non many games have ventured into this route. There have been games that have religious overtones but not games based on the Bible from a literal standpoint. That is effectively what Left Behind did so successfully. That is what we are doing here. Also, our tag line for the game is "This isn't just a game. It is going to happen!". Not many games can say that.
Gamecloud - What kinds of missions and locations will Armageddon have?
Garland Wong - The games will take place on various different levels that have religious significance. Some of the levels include Jersualem, The Vatican City, Petra, and Westminster Abbey etc....
Gamecloud - What kinds of weapons and items will the game have?
Garland Wong -The game will take place sometime in the near future. There will be your standard miltary weapons such as assault rifles, sub machine guns, grenades, rpg etc... We will also have some cool near future weapons. More on this later...
Gamecloud - What kinds of vehicles will Armageddon have?
Garland Wong -Standard Military vehicles such as tanks, trucks, assault dune buggies etc... Also, with our customizable vehicles system, standard civilian vehicles can be made into weapons. We will also have some cool near future vehicles. More on this later....
Gamecloud - What sorts of enemies will the game have?
Garland Wong -There will be two teams. You play as a Christian/Jew or as the Antichrist.
Gamecloud - What can you tell us about Armageddon's multiplayer features?
Garland Wong -You will be able to play 32 players per server and up to 64 total includng NPC.
Gamecloud - What other unique gameplay elements will the game have?
Garland Wong -Armageddon has three main unique game play features. The first is customizable vehicles in a FPS game. You will be able to retrovit civilian and military vehicles with various weapons. These vehicles retrofitted with weapons will also react very realistic physics since we are utilizing Ageia's PhysX API and this will take advantage of the hardware accelleration. The second is squad based AI. You will be able command a bunch of AI squad members and give them commands. You can then cycle through the HUD and determine if any of your squad mates need help and take over there position. This is pretty cool for example you send one of your squad mates to complete a mission. You cycle through the camera and see he is being badly hurt or may need more "intelligence". You can then take his place to complete the mission and he will take your place. The third is random story events. Armageddon is similar to Battlefield 2 in which you need to capture and hold control points to gather resources. However, Armageddon will inject random objectives throughout the map the are mutually opposing. For example, one random store event will be a great earthquake as unearthed the ark of the covenant. The Christian's teams goal will be retrieve it while the Antichrist team will also be given the mission to capture it. These random store events have the side effect of playing a level different everytime so it will be less stale.
Gamecloud - Why did the team decide to select the Reality Engine for the game?
Garland Wong -Our team had previous experience with it and it had cool next generation features such as dynamic lighting, dynamic weather effects, realistic physics, dynamic day/night cycles etc....
Gamecloud - What is the current status of the game's progress and when will it be released?
Garland Wong -We are working on securing a publisher now and the release date will be announced later