Australian indie developer Hitbox Team has recently unveiled its upcoming sophomore effort, entitled Spire. Following on from their frenzied platformer Dustforce, Spire will see Hitbox pushing forward into the FPS genre in what looks to be another exciting and original IP. The game is set in a “monolithic tower of unknown origin” and its pre-alpha interior crosses the unmistakable art design of Hitbox with the aesthetics of a much darker Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Spire attempts to overcome some of the limitations of procedurally generated content and bring back the over-the-top acrobatics of yesteryear genre greats like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament.
Containing no pre-made rooms or scripted events, Spire will instead generate itself on the fly with a focus on developing a flowing experience with both highs and lows. By homing in on this aspect, the studio is no doubt hoping to avoid the disconnect that can occur in other procedurally generated titles which struggle to provide a rounded experience and steadily increase the challenge level to near impossible proportions, survival often feeling a result of luck rather than talent.
Skilful play is one of the cornerstones of Spires’s development, with Hitbox wanting to mirror the feel of aforementioned titles by incorporating an enhanced movement system allowing “walljumps, wall sliding and other advanced techniques”. Within the game world, players will find countless items which function in different ways, whether it be manipulating the environment, protecting against enemies or healing the player. Players will also be able to combine items to discover new functions, a feature which will (when combined with the movement system) doubtless provide opportunity for a plethora of puzzle elements to seep into the finished product.
In creating a title which rewards rapid, skill based play, Hitbox has seen fit to ensure that people who wish to play competitively are well taken care of. Promising a range of post-launch support including leaderboards, weekly challenges, seed based player generated towers and in-game modifiers known as ‘burdens’, Spire looks to be a potential gem for the speed-run and competitive online enthusiast.
Given that Hitbox is using a modified version of the Unity engine to develop Spire, it’s probably a safe bet that gamers will be able to choose between PC, Mac and Linux platforms on its release.