Apotheon’s director tells us what happens when Zeus gets slappy

Apotheon’s director tells us what happens when Zeus gets slappy

Lee Vermeulen
Lee Vermeulen

Last week, we asked Gameological readers to submit questions that we could pose to developers on the E3 2014 show floor. We picked four of our favorites (and carried over one from last year’s batch); those questions constitute The Gameological Questionnaire.

One of the more visually striking games in Sony’s packed out booth is Apotheon, a 2D ancient Greek adventure that borrows its art style from the popular pottery painting of the time. Its focus is on exploration and deliberate, physics-driven combat. It’s coming out sometime this year for PC, Mac, Linux, and PlayStation 4. After brutally murdering me several times in the game’s multiplayer mode, the least Lee Vermeulen, the game’s director and one half of developer Alientrap, could do was answer the Gameological Questionnaire.

The A.V. Club: If you had the power to add an extra button to the controller that served a single function specific to your game, what would it do?

Lee Vermeulen: I always wanted a trigger that takes strength to use. Sort of like there was a right trigger that you had to really hold down as hard as you can to make a better attack. I would love that. You would have to have strength to play the game. You’d feel tired afterward. After a battle, I’d love for both players to be out of breath. So if I could add a tactical, really hard trigger, that’d be ideal.

AVC: So that sounds like maybe something bigger than just a button would be good.

LV: It’s bigger than a button. It’s a unique input device. But I still want that.

AVC: If my résumé included a whole summer spent just playing your game, how should I spin it as valuable experience?

LV: Well, if you’re taking Classics, we do go through all the Greek mythology. Single-player is about claiming power from the gods, so you have to go to each god’s section and take their power. So you’d learn a lot about Demeter and Artemis. You’d go through all the gods. You’d go to Hades’ underworld and get a better understanding of the mythology around them. It would be useful. You come out with a little bit more knowledge. And you’d be a better platformer player, I guess.

AVC: If you’re looking for work as a platformer player. How do you feel about the current trend of games being released in early access?

LV: I think it’s great, but not for this game. It needs to be a polished experience. It’s a story-based game, very narrative-based. You can’t have a half-done narrative, because it does not work at all. It needs to be a coherent, concise, complete experience. Everyone should experience it the same. You shouldn’t be like, “I experienced the game in this older version. How did your narrative happen?” But we do have other titles that we think work well with early access, like a crafting game. I’m definitely not opposed to it in any way.

AVC: What’s the most fun glitch or bug that has come up in development so far?

LV: I always forget to assign enemies weapons, and the default weapon is your hand. The attack animation sometimes looks like a little slap. So a lot of the time you’re fighting a god like Zeus, and then he runs up to you and starts slapping you. It’s so un-epic. It has this epic music and everything, and it’s just very sad. Hopefully that will never happen in the game.

AVC: But a slap from Zeus would still hurt, right? I know your game is digital-only, but if your game had a super deluxe version that cost a thousand dollars, what would be in the box?

LV: Just a giant helmet, a giant Greek helmet. Pretty much it. I think that would be perfect. Maybe a giant shield. It would have to break apart really easily. It couldn’t be steel, it would have to be iron, and really shitty crafted iron. If you try to use it, you’ll eventually break it and lose it. That would be ideal. 

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