Review Fix chats with Residual developer Pascal Bestebroer, who discusses the game’s development cycle and so much more.
From the industry icons who brought you Duke Nukem, Max Payne, Prey, and Rise of the Triad comes a fight for survival on an unpredictable alien world. Explore a planet procedurally generated from thousands of nature-based possibilities. Face changing weather, hostile plant life, and the deepest mysteries below the surface to repair the ship and make it off world.
Review Fix: How was Residual born?
Pascal Bestebroer: It was always a dream project that I wanted to create, but knew it was possibly too big/risky scope-wise. The whole space exploration and lone-survivor concepts always come back in most of my games, and this is just ALL of that combined.
Review Fix: What is your role in the game?
Bestebroer: Pretty much everything, except the music. I designed the gameplay, wrote the code, and did the graphics. My musical skills are pretty bad though, so I team up with various freelancers for my games.
Review Fix: What was development like?
Bestebroer: Pretty smooth surprisingly! I knew what I wanted to create, and what my goal was. I think my experience with creating and actually completing games helped me a lot to scope the game, and make sure I didn’t put in ALL the crazy ideas that popped up.. I did manage to set up a lot of things so that all the extra crazy ideas can be added later on!
I also kept a “devlog” of the game being made, which I uploaded every week to youtube (https://www.youtube.com/orangepixelmobile), so people could really follow along the creation in about 44 episodes.
Review Fix: What makes this game special?
Bestebroer: One of the main goals I had with this game, and I mentioned this in the first devlog I did for the game, is that I wanted a game without weapons, or at least no guns, and very little violence. I wanted a game that really has the player focussed on exploring and enjoying their time on the planet.
You will encounter creatures, they can bite, they can hurt you, but none of them will really kill you, and you can always avoid them. Worst case, you pass out and end up back in your spaceship – maybe losing a few days. But you’ll be able to just continue to enjoy your time on the planet. (There is an option of perma-death available for players that want the extra challenge).
Review Fix: What games influenced Residual the most?
Bestebroer: There’s not a single game that really influenced this (or me) in the creation of the game. I read a lot about No Man’s sky (but have never really picked it up or played it) and their concepts are pretty much aligned with my ideas for Residual. Besides that I watched other people play Astroneer which on paper/concept wise also has a few interesting ideas.
Outside games I would say a tv-show like Lost in Space, but also the Star Trek universe, just a lot of space travel and exploration type series and movies I guess! And I’m a great fan of graphic novels (as in, a LARGE collection) so there are a bunch of those types of books that had a spot on my desk while working on the game!
Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?
Bestebroer: Haha, not really. I mostly sit alone in my office working on the game. So there is NOT a lot of wild stuff happening! Game development really was pretty smooth. Of course, the game went through a Kickstarter, which was a chaotic period of 30 days! And then I teamed up with Apogee Entertainment as a publisher which was kept secret for some months because they were working on their big come-back announcement. But I’m not sure those are wild enough stories.
Review Fix: What were the major lessons learned?
Bestebroer: I think if there WAS a lesson to be learned here, it’s that you should start your dream project only after you did all the other ideas you had first. That way your dream project will be more smooth, you will be more experienced, and you have better control over how to build it and how long it will take to build.
Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?
Bestebroer: Not really. I actually think that our memories of older games, or “retro games”, are often much better than actually replaying those games now. The possibilities that we now have in games (AI, pathfinding, smooth movement, physics, etc) just make for better and deeper gameplay. I enjoy the pixel-art graphics and that “retro look“ in my games, but the design and the gameplay I aim for is very modern.
Review Fix: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped this game?
Bestebroer: For sure! As mentioned, this was a dream project, but I also had to work towards this point in my game development career to be able to create it. I would have never been able to create this game, at this quality, a decade ago or even two (I’ve been doing commercial games as Orangepixel for 17 years now).
Review Fix: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?
Bestebroer: I hope people will actually enjoy their time on one of the many random planets the game has to offer and have a great time exploring that planet as if they are on an actual adventure that’s very much unique for them and that moment!
Even though the main goal in the game is to “escape the planet you crashed on” – it would be pretty amazing to hear people that decided to NOT escape the planet, but just hang out there. Fishing for days, petting some creatures, setting up campfires, and cooking some fish or mushrooms.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Bestebroer: I’m already working on something new, and I like to combine genres, so this would be something of a city-builder, mixed with a real-time squad action game… it sounds crazy, but it’s starting to actually be playable!
As for Residual, I’m not done with the universe yet! The game right now has 1 unlocked galaxy, which has 125 planets. But the Nature Engine I built for the game has already generated about 9 galaxies. All with a lot more star systems and planets ready to be explored!
The idea is to open up another galaxy in a big update where we will actually be flying from planet to planet, finding artifacts, trading outposts, completing missions with a goal to catch up with our mothership — or just build a life out there in space.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If someone out there has a spare ticket to one of those billionaire space-flights, I’m available!