Fe developers talk non-direct combat in a non-violent game

Nathan Lawrence 23 October 2017

fe-interview

Fe isn’t a fighting game, but players will still be able to partake in indirect combat, according to Klaus Lyngeled and Andrea Beijer.

The market is saturated with violent games. No, this isn’t the part where I bemoan violence and plead, Helen Lovejoy-like, that someone think of the children. Violence as a game mechanic is an easy way for developers to let players interact with the game world the devs are building. But for games that choose to have a lack of violence, things can get a little trickier.

Take Fe (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC), for instance. This beautifully presented indie-like game that’s set to be the first release as part of the EA Originals program doesn’t have a whole lot of combat. Chat with developers Klaus Lynegeled and Andrea Beijer from Zoink and they’ll tell you it’s more stealth than combat. But that doesn’t mean the player can’t wreak havoc.

On the surface, the core mechanics of Fe revolve around exploration and discovery. But there’s a threat in this otherwise beautiful forested world: the Silent Ones. Discovering who they are, what they want and, ultimately, ridding the forest of their unwelcome presence is at the heart of Fe. For the most part, titular playable Fe is encouraged to avoid them. But there are times when the player can turn the game world against the threat of the Silent Ones.

Even if they’re not Silent Ones, not every creature in Fe is necessarily friendly. This is, after all, a forest, reportedly with its own mini-ecosystem, which means that the usual passive herbivores are mixed in with beasts that have a taste for Fe flesh. While the savvy player might try to avoid the carnivorous threats, the sage player may delve into their dens to make discoveries. On top of this, the bold player may even attract the attention of a hungry creature and lead it back to a nearby encampment of Silent Ones.

Here’s what Lynegeled and Beijer had to say on the topic of indirect combat in Fe.

I noticed that there didn’t seem to be combat in a direct sense, but it seems to be the suggestion that you can use the animals to initiate indirect combat.

Lynegeled: Exactly, yeah, a little bit like that. But it’s not a violent game in that sense, really. But there are ways to do…

Beijer: Yeah, like the giant. The giant can be used to, actually, he will attack the Silent Ones if he sees them, so you could actually get him to, like you said, you can actually lure him into the camp. If he goes into the camp, he’ll go totally berserk if he sees the Silent Ones. Of course, you can use it like that. We don’t use it that much. We don’t want it to be a super violent game. We really want it to be about stealth, in a way. It’s very important that Fe can actually hide in the grass, hide behind trees, and hide up in trees, also. It’s used very often, just like a real squirrel, you know? So, it’s more about not being seen, not being there.

Lynegeled: Manoeuvring.

Beijer: Manoeuvring, yeah.

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