Review Fix chats with Philip Tam, game designer and community manager at Spearhead Games, who discusses the creative process for the game and who will enjoy the new Definitive version the most on the Nintendo Switch.
About Omensight: Definitive Edition:
Developed by the creators of the award-winning action RPG Stories: The Path of Destinies, Omensight: Definitive Edition is a 3D action murder mystery game with beautiful cel shaded visuals.
Take on the role of the Harbinger, a mythical hero chosen by destiny to save the world of Urralia, and relive the last day of all times until you uncover a way to destroy the power of the Dark God.
Review Fix: How was this game born?
Philip Tam: We at Spearhead Games started the development on Omensight two years ago, shortly after the release of our previous game, Stories: The Path of Destinies. Stories is an action RPG in which we experimented with interactive storytelling in games. It is a game with over 25 different endings and where every choice leads to a uniquely different storyline. We were happy with the result and our players loved the exploration aspect of our story.
Going from there, we felt that could be done with both action and interactive storytelling, which led us to working on Omensight. Then while in early conception for the game, I was watching a lot of crime documentaries on Netflix. Thus, the idea of injecting a murder mystery into a time-looping narrative similar to Stories was born!
Review Fix: What was development like?
Tam: Two words: challenging and rewarding.
Designing a narrative puzzle where the premise is revisiting the same day over and over again to uncover more clues to progress is quite a challenge. How do we get the most out of creative writing (making the dialogues and stories compelling) and game design (making the puzzle gameplay fun and rewarding) simultaneously?
Fortunately, we have a team of 15 passionate developers to support each other through the process. Also, we are fortunate to have many good friends we can count on, with Chris Avellone (Fallout, Planescape: Torment, etc.) and Vibe Avenue lending us a helping hand on the narrative and music respectively.
Omensight originally launched for PC and PS4 back in May. It was really rewarding to see how players got attached to and invested in the characters and mystery we created. To thank them, we kept working on the game addressing their feedback and polishing everything, thus the Definitive Edition was born. We’re so happy to be able to bring this version to Nintendo Switch owners!
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Tam: We call Omensight an action murder mystery game. It combines fast-paced combat and platforming with elements of a whodunit, by having the player gather more and more clues and evidence in their investigation on how to prevent the world from ending, to stop the catastrophic events that were triggered by the murder of its guardian.
Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?
Tam: For reference, we looked at games like Bayonetta and Street Fighter V for the combat. As for time travel and mystery, Chrono Trigger, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and Steins;Gate were great inspirations.
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Tam: Dealing with physics in a game will always yield unexpected results at first. The issues that pop up are always good for a laugh. I’ve compiled some of the best bugs from the development in this gallery: https://imgur.com/gallery/ZJMJ05f
Also, while we were in the process of porting Omensight to the Nintendo Switch, someone broke into the office while we were gone and stole our Switch development kit! We can’t thank Nintendo enough for shipping us another one immediately so we didn’t lose any day of work. So somewhere out there is a pre-release copy of Omensight: Definitive Edition running on a non-retail Nintendo Switch!
Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Tam: A very interesting question!
While I do enjoy incorporating “old school” mechanics in games wherever it’s possible (there is a double jump in Omensight!), I don’t go out of my way to include them if they don’t fit the overall experience and theme of a game. I think nods to the past and giving respect to the creators who came before us are always nice, but new games need to bring something fresh to the table — it’s about how gameplay mechanics come together to give a new, but sometimes familiar, experiences to players.
Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?
Tam: Spending the summer vacation away from the sun and playing my favorite game of all time, Chrono Trigger, on the Super Nintendo. This is the game that made me want to make video games, to explore using the medium to tell stories in ways only it can.
Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?
Tam: If you’re looking for something a bit unconventional, Omensight: Definitive Edition is the game for you, especially if you’re a fan of action RPGs and murder mysteries.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why must someone play this game?
Tam: Come for the story, characters, and mystery. Stay for the beautiful art style and deep combat mechanics.
Review Fix: How do you want this game to be remembered?
Tam: There’s this song that serves as an introduction to one of our main characters, Ratika. The music was written by Vibe Avenue, with lyrics provided by Nadim Boukhira and Chris Avellone and sung by the fantastic Brigitte O’Halloran. I hope players remember this song in the future and think about Omensight whenever they listen to it.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Tam: Based on our learnings from Omensight and Stories: The Path of Destinies, we’ve been thinking about making a game where we combine the mechanics of a CRPG with the systemic elements of something like Red Dead Redemption. NPCs with their own behavior would react to player’s actions and decisions. Quests and events would be generated based on that.
This idea can change since we’re very, very early in the process.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Tam: I’d like to thank ReviewFix.com for this interview and everyone who took the time to read it. I hope readers will get Omensight: Definitive Edition when it releases on the Nintendo eShop on December 13. Please follow Spearhead Games to find out what we’re up to next on Facebook, Twitter, Discord or our website.