Hello and welcome to SBOCLIGHT ON… our weekly feature where we dive into the nitty gritty of gaming’s most indie of offerings. Here, we will shine a SBOClight (get it?) on one game/studio, offering a never before seen look at its fun parts. Sometimes, there will be interviews, sometimes development stories and videos, who knows maybe even a giveaway or two. What we do know is that this will be THE place to read up on some of the industry’s newest and most interesting titles, let’s get started.
While walking the cavernous exhibition space of Play EXPO Manchester back in October, one game stand in particular caught my eye. The game was called The Otterman Empire and while it certainly looked fun, it wasn’t the actual game that had drawn me in. Instead it was the four young men manning it. Dressed in self-branded tees, talking fervidly to passers by, the team evoked a grassroots startup vibe which drew me in, I had to know more about them.
Turns out, the game was just the begining as it quickly became apparent that the really interesting part was the story, and studio behind it. One of the guys behind Tri-Heart Interactive, Kieran, explained to me that the game was as much about the community behind it than the shoot-em-up arena gameplay. You see, Tri-Heart Interactive actively engage with their fans, allowing them to shape the game as it develops. Transparency is at the forefront of the way the game progresses with regular updates delivered via daily videos, photos and podcasts.
The Tri-Heart Daily Dev updates chronicle the addition of new characters, go into the nitty gritty of character animations and the way textures are built. It’s refreshing to see this level of community interaction and is clear that the players are thankful too. Distributed via the game’s itch profile, users can download new builds of the game as it progresses and leave feedback.
The game itself is also a lot of fun. A nautical themed arena shooter which incorporates elements of Quake, Overwatch and plenty of jump pads, The Otterman Empire can be played with 4 players in a desperate deathmatch. From the two characters I demo-d with it is clear that this team really understand what it takes to make each ability mean something. Different playstyles are accommodated for with plenty of experimentation required to dominate the fish-filled battlefield. While fairly basic in its current state, it is impressive to see just how much each update seems to add. Halloween and Christmas updates have all been featured with, as you’d come to expect from this team, behind-the-scenes glimpses into each piece of content.
Speaking to the team at Play EXPO it became clear that one of the main focuses of the project is to give budding devs somewhere to hone their skills. One of the guys remarked that upon leaving University, it can be incredibly difficult to get the experience necessary to gain a foothold in the industry. This collaborative nature is at the heart of everything Tri-Heart Interactive do so it will certainly be interesting to see if it pays off.
The team is currently prepping a Christmas build of The Otterman Empire so be sure to check it out when it releases on Friday. Give the team some feedback too as you can bet it will be heard.
Tri-Heart Interactive Social Channels;
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/THInteractive/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/triheartint?lang=en