Science Is Messy And Cloning’s Unlimited In Twin-stick Shot Beacon

In Beacon, you’re what you eat. Or rather, you’re everything you splice. In this roguelike twin-stick shot, not only would you pick up weapons and equipment left lying around by the newly deceased, additionally you harvest their DNA and technologies. Back at your bunny you splice alien limbs or cybernetic updates from your defeated enemies to another copy clone of this protagonist, freelance space prospector Freja.  

Hopefully the consequent cyborg-alien hybrid monstrosity is going to have more chance than her disposition–Beacon is a roguelike, therefore departure’s going to come quick–without the chance to worry about the continuity of presence when both body and mind can be recreated on a whim.

I had a chance to talk with three of those members of Monothetic, the team operating on Beacon. US-based Kiefen Zipf, UK-based Arran Seaton, and Thailand-based Tay Dunn talked concerning the way combined all their talents and experiences.  

PC Gamer: When I first watched Beacon, what immediately struck me was the design aesthetic. What prompted Beacon’s look?

Tay Dunn: Mostly cyberpunk, anime, and minimalism. I am a huge fan of this illustrators Tomer Hanuka (which is where the vivid color palettes came from), James Jean, along with the BLAME! Manga series. And a great deal of design design books! My dad studied architecture, therefore I’ve always had a fondness for its artwork.

Beacon is an homage to all those comics I enjoyed when I was younger as well as the sci-fi films and designers that have seared themselves into my visual memory. Akira, Satoshi Kon’s job, HR Giger, and Dune came into mind.

. . .there’s some bizarre mixes it is possible to buy in Beacon where you’re a half-droid, half-bug monstrosity!

Kiefen Zipf

Arran Seaton: I came from a background in HL2 modding, manufacturing entering and levels mapping contests through my late teens. We originally worked with a mod named , a third-person adventure sport which had a conceptually intriguing Psychonauts/Mario 64 vibe to it. Working on this project led directly into me landing on a level design job at Playground Games, where I worked on the very first Forza Horizon.  

After that I moved to Newcastle to join Ubisoft worked and Immunology on The Crew for almost two decades. Throughout this time I was still staying in contact with the team, helping out using [Half-Life 2 mod] and then Haven [a cancelled Monothetic project], before eventually quitting to concentrate on Beacon after we started a concrete notion of the match.

Kiefen Zipf: We also have a whole lot of inspiration from classic sci-fi films. A few off of the top of the mind would be 2001: A Space Odyssey, Starship Troopers, Blade Runner.

For the first couple of years of evolution that I recognized as a Dota 2 Workshop artist. I was still living at my parents’ and we’d just started working on Haven. I guessed I could try make work out of it after I watched a few other artists with success.

Workshopping thoughts

Kiefen Zipf designed several item places for Dota 2 before working on Beacon. His favorite is now Charge of the Tundra Warden to get Crystal Maiden. (Illustration by Tiffany Boother.) 

I had already had a few Team Fortress 2 things included in-game, but Dota was a very different art workshop and style. Following a year of donating, I actually was able to find some places in game and was able to maneuver out to San Francisco to live with Tay along with our developer [Mike Corsaro].

AS: You had some fairly good success though!

KZ: For the International Dota 2 Championships 2014 and 2015, Valve invited a number of the workshop artists to attend and showcase their work at a Workshop Section of The worldwide arena. The two of the years I was invited to hand out and signal prints of my sets to lovers. It was a cool experience, the two to get invited to the event to see the games in person and for to socialize with fans interested in our job. It’s always satisfying to see that the cosplayer bring something that you worked on to life.

How do you apply that expertise creating for the Dota 2 Workshop into Beacon?

KZ: learning how to accommodate an aesthetic and pair of models to a pair (helmet, armor, bracers, weapon, etc.. .) Actually interpreted pretty straight in my job on Beacon. When you die in Beacon, then you get the opportunity to employ DNA you have looted to a subsequent clone, giving you a opportunity to receive mutations. The mutation method in the sport has slots set up which let me include a mutation to get Freja’s mind, back, feet, arms, and tail, therefore creating mutation places in Beacon is a fairly similar procedure to creating a Dota set.

Just the way you’ll have wacky combinations of things from Dota, there’s some bizarre mixes it is possible to buy in Beacon where you’re a half-droid, half-bug monstrosity!

Inform me a bit more about each one of these factions.

TD: The Prism are the Primary antagonist. They include a workforce of automated droids which patrol the planet. The Prism would be the lynchpin of Beacon’s aesthetic, since it’s the very first faction being concepted, I accepted a great deal of inspiration from [Neon Genesis] Evangelion and Neill Blomkamp while designing them. They are quite angular and aggressive looking, yet sleek. Even with decades-old tech, Prism remains before any modern technology provided on the public marketplace on earth of Beacon.

The Solus are still bugs! Alien bugs! The Solus is the dominant species on the planet before Prism came. For the Solus I just kinda started doing something unnaturally Starship Troopers-y and finished up with exactly what we have now. I have added a good deal of softer, curvaceous forms into the Solus architecture and enemies to differentiate them from the droids. My big inspiration really came from underwater animals and anemones.

The Native American faction represents the native people of this world that’s out of the Solus ecosystem, therefore it could be a variety of items. We really plan to present a couple more creepy crawlies in this class. We have the Chilopods, large space centipedes that could curl up and roll around just like spiky wheels of passing, and also the Karnak, which are pacifist Nautilus-headed tripods.

The majority of the mutations are directly predicated on enemies from the game, so if a new enemy has been inserted I rip this up and figure out methods to produce the components “grow” from Freja.

Kiefen Zipf

The natives don’t have a very cohesive layout aesthetic, because they’re supposed to be their own little factions in their own right. We’ve got everything from space raptors into a floating gas tote that wobbles around and eats stuff from the background.

[The Uncharted faction] is probably the most fun one. We have not showed off a lot of those however. They are essentially specimens which Prism have imprisoned in the facility, to either be contained or cried on. They come from all around the galaxy in order that they can be anything, and we definitely have some wild ones intended.

How do you create odd combinations like this work well together? It looks like it’d be difficult to make them adhere to a coherent look.

TD: I normally do concept art for most of the stuff we’ve going in Beacon therefore the visual layout remains fairly consistent. Right now we’re at a stage where Kiefen can produce a great deal of organic pieces without needing much input from me personally, because he now understands the aesthetic which we had been shooting. We are in this type of harmonious balance now, in which I do the sci-fi/hard surface material, and he can the organic pieces like the Solus insects or caves, etc..

There is a very clear cut color palette for every faction. By way of instance, Prism is orange, Solus generally glowing neon green, Native is subdued brown, etc.. Freja and whatever else friendly or equipment coming from her ship is generally yellow.

Losing Haven

A layout from Tay Dunn from canceled project Haven. The Monothetic team recognized Haven was impractically large and complex, and pinpointed it in favour of beginning of development on Beacon.

Freja is also a relic of Haven, which also had a powerful female protagonist as the player character. As soon as I designed Freja, I utilized my love of the two Western picture books and J******e manga as a foundation, and she’s somewhere in between. Her look is extremely mixed, and it is implied she stems from many racial histories: as a homage for her style in addition to my vision of the future like being a conglomeration of several cultures, together with states taking a backseat to self-identification.

Her sleeves came from those very cool ’80s-esque puffy PVC jackets that I saw in a fashion shoot someplace that I can not seem to find anymore, and also a thing which echoes Rachel from Blade Runner with these really broad shoulder pads. I wanted something easy and functional nevertheless with a stunning aesthetic and landed this. Her original layout had her wearing a helmet that looked like a football ball [laughs]. And I suppose her vest is similar to what I’ve now, though it was not like this when I designed her!  

KZ: Making different mutations within every faction is really easy really. The majority of the mutations are directly predicated on enemies from the game, so if a new enemy is additional that I rip this up and figure out methods to produce the components “grow” from Freja. Each enemy within the faction has its own different leg form or armor color or mind, but it still feels just like a Solus mutation (the insect faction) or a Prism mutation (the droid faction).

. . .earlier iterations just have the player arrive to a post-combat wasteland filled with gibs, together with all the factions killing off each other already.

Tay Dunn

AS: Although every faction and succeeding player mutation adheres to a specific look and special colour palette, we definitely want and encourage folks to mix and match with each of the many kinds of faction DNA to create amazing monstrosities. That is where the advantages of the modular layout come from: from an visual and gameplay perspective, we can control the way all of these prospective combinations intertwine.

We look at everything might work in terms of affecting Freja’s shape in intriguing ways. What parts of these enemies can we use to this make sense of our mutation system and their intention from a gameplay perspective. Even the low-poly aesthetic I think helps homogenize the potentially contradictory appearances, but yeah we want to adopt the bizarre for sure.

TD: Beacon’s science is Somewhat cluttered, more Aliens or The Fly than Minority Report. It’s not slick, but it’s kind of tongue-in-cheek, and it can produce some crazy results!  

So that you have all of this backstory for all these factions. What’s that conveyed to the player?

KZ: Everything from the game is tied into the factions. Loot spawns, enemy spawns, DNA and Mutations, the world you’re in. The factions are a great way to add randomization too. 1 playthrough you could battle your way through a Prism mining outpost and discover a cache using a Laser Boomerang, and the following you could fight through a Solus hive and find a Quill Cannon.  

TD: The factions were something which was decided quite early, as we want the player to watch and use these warring teams for their own advantage. I have always enjoyed games which have a more dynamic conflict system like this it feels alive, and the entire world does not feel like it exists just for the player to enter and battle everything.

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Yes, we all had to tweak this a little bit even–earlier iterations just have the player arrive to a post-combat wasteland filled with gibs, together with all the factions killing off each other already. That is not any fun!

Some factions can also ignore every other unless triggered, or any enemies within factions that generally opposes every other may unite for the frequent objective of escaping the world and/or hunting the player down.

KZ: Besides almost all the factions hating Freja, they all have their own connections with each other which influence the world from the backdrop. Exterior of altering the battle it also affects the entire world from playthrough into playthrough. While Freja’s clones are cycling through the planet with time, different territories can get carried over by different factions. 1 time you perform through a Prism Shipping Fortress it may be completely working with conveyors moving transportation containers round, and following playthrough it could possibly be infested by Solus using all the conveyors blocked up using containers piling up and down out over a pond.  

is coming to Windows and Mac in late 2018.