Rock of Ages

Developer: ACE Team
International Publisher: Atlus
Official Website: English
Genres: Action / Arcade / Tower Defense
Platforms: PC, X360, PS3
MultiPlayer: Internet (2), Split-Screen (2)
Release Date: Q3 of 2011
Our Score:

Rock of Ages. Interview with Carlos Bordeu, ACE Team

ACE Team was founded in Santiago, Chile in 2002. For the first time I met one of its founders, Carlos Bordeu, in 2008 while making some articles featuring Zeno Clash (2009). Its unique visual style and creative gameplay held my attention all the time when I was playing the game after its release. The developers don’t hurry with making a sequel, and nowadays all their attention is focused on the upcoming game – Rock of Ages, which looks to us promising plenty hours of multiplayer fun. Recently I’ve had a chance to discuss this game with Carlos Bordeu to learn some really intriguing things about its development process. Read on to our exclusive Interview.

- Hola! Please, introduce yourself to our readers.

Carlos Bordeu- Hello, I am Carlos Bordeu – Game Designer for Rock of Ages and also one of the Founders of ACE Team.

- How and when was the game’s concept born?

- At ACE after working on Zeno Clash (2009) we decided we wanted to do a game with more emphasis on multiplayer. We started thinking about only gameplay ideas (rather than thinking of a story or an art style). Eventually a simple doodle I made on a piece of paper ended up being the starting point for the project.

- How do you interact with your publisher – Atlus?

- Atlus receives updated builds of the project every certain amount of time and we get their feedback, which has really been great. They understand our projects and they have given very valuable suggestions. The game has a alternate game mode that we haven’t revealed yet, but it came from something they wanted to see in Rock of Ages, and many people enjoy this game mode very much.

- What was inspiring the team during the creative process?

- The silly cartoon cutout animations of Terry Gilliam for Monty Python have been a major source of inspiration.

- What were the main development challenges?

- Getting a good single player AI opponent has been a challenge during the entire project, and continues to be. Balancing the defensive units has also been a long and challenging task.

- How would you define the game’s genre?

- I think the genre would be «marble-racing game meets strategy or tower defense - it is hard to say. The gameplay is basically an obstacle course race where the player both has the role of navigating the enemy terrain as fast as possible, plus defending his own terrain against the other player.

- What are the main goals set for a player?

ACE Team- The main objective is to destroy the opposing castle gate and roll over (squish) the enemy king inside the castle.

- Does the game have a background story?

- Yes, it does. The game has a story mode and the player plays the role of Sisyphus (the man from Greek myth who has to push a boulder up a hill for eternity). He escapes from hell and goes through this adventure where he meets different characters from the art periods of history. The story is very simple and more of an excuse to show some humorous situations.

- How long is the single-player campaign mode?

- It depends a lot on the skill of the player.  While the single player is an important aspect of Rock of Ages, the multiplayer is where the real replay value of the game is. The game should last a few hours to beat in single player, but this is a game you will be wanting to play competitively for many, many hours.

- Does the single-player campaign mode involve any progression elements?

- Yes. The single-player game has a progression where powerups and new defensive units are unlocked. The progression also leads you to meet boss characters that are at the end of most art periods.

- What factors should be considered for the attacking side when directing the boulder and for the defensive side when trying to stop it?

- Many factors need to be taken in consideration. For starters: The level. Some levels have shortcuts that can be fairly obvious or easy to get, but normally those are places where players will want to concentrate their defensive units. Since the game is basically a race (because each player needs to roll more than one boulder down the level to destroy the castle gate), then reaching the end as quick as possible becomes almost the primary objective.

Rock of AgesRock of Ages

Defensive units have more a purpose of slowing down the boulder rather than destroying it. The defensive units all have a specific purpose, but most of them work well or better when combined with others (example: creating a catapult but defending it with a tower).

- What units and obstacles are to be placed on the playground?

- Towers, cows, catapults, explosive barrels, even Da Vinci’s Flying Contraption. [Smiles].

- What can the opposing AI do in the game?

- Both the player and AI have the same rules. Both have the role of defending their courses and of racing to the enemy castle.

- What options will the multiplayer in Rock of Ages offer?

- The game is for two players (one on one matches) and we have online and local (Split Screen). There is the main game mode, but also a completely different one (very fun) that we have not announced yet.

- What’s the name of your graphics engine and its features?

- We are using the Unreal Engine 3 for Rock of Ages.

- What visual style did you pick for the game?

- Our main sources of inspiration are the different periods of art history – most importantly: Ancient Greek Art, Medieval Art, Renaissance, Rococo and Romanticism. The in game art has a mix of 3D- with 2D-elements and combining them has been a bit of a challenge.

- How do the in-game environments differ from each other for various historical eras?

ACE Team- All levels are completely unique and differ depending on the periods. For example we have a Rococo level of small floating pieces of land floating over clouds. All level have destructible environmental objects like houses or statues. The environments can have obstacles not placed by the players.

- What can you say about the physics’ model made for the game?

- The game uses the Nvidia PhysX engine.

- What’s the in-game soundtrack like?

- The composer is Patricio Meneses, who also made the original soundtrack of Zeno Clash. The music is very different though, and we are concentrating on representing the music of the periods just like with the art. The musical tracks will sometimes have recognizable pieces of well known classical music.

- Can you name a few games that you enjoyed playing the most in 2010?

- I’m still playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010) and enjoying it greatly. I also liked the over the top and surreal world in Bayonetta (2009-2010).

- Name a few things you associate with Russia.

- Sour cream (I’ve had the pleasure of eating both Borsch and Vareniki) and… mmm… Baba Yaga (I was very amused by the fact she has a house that moves with big chicken legs – we actually have some strange houses with bird heads in Zeno Clash that remind me of that). [Smiles].

- What would you wish to the Russian gamers for the New 2011 Year?

- I hope their game development industry continues to evolve and grow since I believe that some of the most creative and unique work made for the videogame industry comes from Eastern Europe. I forgot to mention the game The Void. I also played it in 2010. Such an original and unusual concept would never come from American (even Japanese) developer. I wrote to the guys at Ice-Pick Lodge (developers of The Void – ed. note) congratulating them for the art style of that game. By far one of the most surreal experiences I have ever seen in any videogame.

- Thank you very much for your time, Carlos!

- Thanks to GameScope for the Interview. I hope people enjoy the crazy things we are doing far away here at Latin America. We had a very good reception of Zeno Clash in Russia, so hopefully people will like Rock of Ages too!

P.S. The official Forum will let you easily communicate with the developers, and it also can help you to meet some new fans of ACE Team games. Rock of Ages will be released in Spring of 2011 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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08.02.2011 | Features | Alex "Jace" Ivanchenko

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages

A 3D-game based around Tower Defense concept. A player has to destroy an enemy castle, while rolling a big boulder. The opponent can place defensive objects and units on the landscape to protect their fortress and neutralize the rock’s threat. The match is played out in turns, and there will be a chance to try to collect some bonus coins to spend your saving later on to strengthen your positions before the next adversary’s attack. This new game for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 has been developed by the Chilean studio – ACE Team, which brought us a remarkable Action – Zeno Clash (2009). Rock of Ages will feature a single-player story campaign mode as well as multiplayer options intented for two users interacting in various game modes.

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News » 1

Rock of Ages (En)
ACE Team confirmed the release date for Rock of Ages. The game will come out right in the end of summuer on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. One of the studio's partners, Carlos Bordeu, has explained to our media the reasons for delaying the premiere of the title. More »
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Features » 1

ACE Team
Rock of Ages is a very intriguing project. From one point of view, it could look as a Tower Defense game, but there is much hidden behind it. For example, a high multiplayer potential and some really inspiring art choices to name a few. Read on to our Interview with Carlos Bordeu to find out more. More »
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