FORECLOSED, preview of the comic Cyberpunk inspired by Max Payne

FORECLOSED, preview of the comic Cyberpunk inspired by Max Payne


When they went to trade shows trying to promote their first game, the guys from Antab Studio didn't go unnoticed. Mirrored glasses, fluorescent bracelets and what they themselves describe as a "very naughty attitude of the 80s", Lara Gianotti and Andrea Tabacco expressed in their look all the light-hearted and slightly tamarro style of GRIDD Retroenhanced, an arcade game that goes back to the cyber aesthetic and hacker imagery depicted in science fiction films of the 1980s.

"A few years before, Kung Fury and Blood Dragon had come out, so there was a lot of excitement around that atmosphere", tells us Andrea, co-founder of the small Milanese company. "But it was curious to see how many, especially the younger ones, had no idea what were the references that influenced both us and those works, and the same is happening today with the cyberpunk genre".

In Foreclosed, the use of onomatopoeia is one of the many tools borrowed from the world of comics Three years after their debut, Antab is preparing to publish his second original project, a game that draws on from a different interpretation of cyberpunk. Scheduled for August 12 on PC and console, Foreclosed is in fact a 3D action set in a futuristic society in which the identity of individuals and all sensitive information are closely linked to the cybernetic systems of the person, but at the same time belong to companies for which people work. One such person is Evan Kapnos, an ordinary man who decides to flee after the corporation he works for has gone bankrupt and the state has decided to foreclose all of his assets, including his identity debt.

The story of Foreclosed will be extremely linear, but in the end the player will be faced with a fundamental choice Like many cyberpunk stories, this one too blossoms from a seed planted in reality: "In fact there is some reference to the our real life ", Andrea tells us. "A few years ago we witnessed the foreclosure of the building where we had our old studio. In following the story we developed a legal culture and we realized how cumbersome the bureaucracy was, but also how dehumanizing it can be". "Obviously cyberpunk helps because it allows real situations and facts to be taken to extremes," continues Lara. "We wanted to link the story to the concept of identity, trying to talk about the disconnect that exists between the identity of a human being and the bureaucratic one that is given to you at birth".

Foreclosed will present different types of interaction between one scene and another A bit Max Payne, a bit Deus Ex, Foreclosed therefore sees the protagonist perpetually hunted, but in a world where cybernetic grafts, skill upgrades and futuristic weapons are the order of the day, the tools to defend themselves will not be lacking. A growth system allows the player to unlock upgrades, hacking skills and predominantly telekinetic powers. During the combat sequences it will be possible to lift objects, attract them, use them as a shield, lift enemies and crash them to the ground. Or tamper with objects in the scenario to make them explode or otherwise use them to your advantage.

Evan's telekinetic powers are flanked by the use of his symbiotic pistol: "it is the only weapon available to Evan for the duration of the game", explains Lara. "However, we liked the idea that it could transform into all the other weapons typically found in shooters, and so we decided to tie it to the telekinetic powers of the protagonist. Basically it's a normal revolver, but you can also equip up to three different ones. types of bullets: attacking explosive bullets becomes a kind of shotgun, or you can combine them together, and end up with a machine gun that fires explosive bullets ".

Since the ammunition of the weapon will be infinite, the gaming experience is balanced by the need to dose the shots to prevent the weapon from overheating, but the authors assure us that the variety of powers and bullets will give a fair amount of freedom to experiment and find your own fighting style.

For Foreclosed, several developers collaborate together with the duo of Antab Labs, including programmer Alberto Barbati and composer Luigi di Guida The combination of a multifaceted weapon and telekinetic powers could at first glance remind us of the basic formula of Control, but although the duo behind Antab Studio have played and enjoyed Jesse Faden's adventure, the feeling of Foreclosed they tell us will be quite different from that of the Remedy game. Of course, on the one hand due to the obvious limitations of an indie project with infinitely lower production values, but on the other hand also and above all for the way in which the Milanese developer has integrated "comic strip" sequences into the experience.

As if we were in front of a page of a graphic novel, the sequences are often presented in the form of cartoons, composing and showing the scene from different points of view, sometimes even experimenting with different genres. A practical example is shown in the game trailer, when a surveillance camera is the right excuse to switch to an isometric view while continuing to control the protagonist. "Using the typical tools of comics is not just a cheap way to make cinematics," explains Andrea. "We liked the comic style a lot, and we wondered how we could use the cartoons for the gameplay as well. We often played on the concept of two or more cartoons on the screen in which to carry out different interactions, and in the end a mashup of genres, in which we move from action moments to top-down sequences, passing through more stealth moments ".

The duo behind Antab Studio confessed to us how, initially, the story was written briefly and deliberately leaving holes to fill: "we wanted to leave open doors to encourage us to create interesting narrative devices and moments that they exploited the comics in a way we hadn't thought of at first, "Lara tells us. "We don't have any actual cinematics in the game. But that was misunderstood when we released the first trailers. The cartoons are all animated and there's a smooth transition between them, so many thought it was. of cutscenes, and that Foreclosed was a highly narrative game with small shooter sequences. In reality, the opposite is true. " At the release of Antab's new cyberpunk adventure there is still a month left, but the liveliness of the experience and the variety of situations and directorial choices will be decisive to understand if that of Evan Kapnos will be a triumphant escape or a tumble into the arms of bureaucracy.

Foreclosed is a very interesting project, both for how it was conceived and for how it was built. There is still very little to go to its publication, but it will be interesting to find out how Antab managed to make the interesting insights it had during development fun and playable.


Artistically very interesting Original concept DOUBTS Will it be able to withstand the "pad test"? Have you noticed any errors?

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