American Fugitive - The 'Indie Grand Theft Auto'
How Fallen Tree Games were inspired to create their new action-adventure game
Sitting proudly on its throne, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise is classed as one of the, if not the, most successful entertainment series to date. Grand Theft Auto V (5) alone has roped in around $6 billion for the publisher, selling over 100 million copies worldwide.
While many of the current generation of gamers will be familiar with GTA V’s ground-breaking 3D graphics and huge online multiplayer capabilities introduced in the more recent editions of the franchise, the original Grand Theft Auto doesn’t always get a mention.
But for those who experienced GTA 1 way back when, or even today, will tell you how much of a blast it is. This classic top-down 2D action game, which is rated ‘Very Positive’ on Steam, has inspired many of the current generation game developers that you see today - one of which is Fallen Tree Games, the team behind American Fugitive.
Speaking exclusively to Fanatical, Lewis Boadle - Art Director at Fallen Tree Games - discussed what experience gamers can expect from their brand-new action-adventure, and how GTA had a big influence on their latest project.
“American Fugitive is our attempt to try to recapture the magic of the top-down action games of the past, whilst achieving a level of visual quality that would satisfy a modern audience,” says Lewis. “We’ve tried to create an open-world sandbox game with a compelling story, but also with enough freedom to allow the player to play it however they want. It’s kind of ‘Indie GTA’.
Fallen Tree Games' previous projects have been more puzzle-based, while American Fugitive takes their line-up of games in a completely new direction. We asked Lewis what was the decision behind making such a big change to the type of game being developed.
“Well, as individuals we brought a lot of experience of console development when we founded the company (including games like Timesplitters, Crysis and Goldeneye 007: Reloaded) so in a way, American Fugitive is a return to our roots,” says Lewis. “We loved diverging into puzzle games for a spell - and may come back to it - but we felt the time was right to throw ourselves back into something ‘high-concept’ like this again.”
As mentioned heavily above, the original GTA game was indeed one of the main inspirations behind American Fugitive’s creation. But what was it about GTA that inspired the team the most?
“GTA was one of several games - and movies and TV shows - that, in part, inspired this game,” says Lewis. “The aspects that we loved of GTA 1 & 2 and GTA: Chinatown Wars were how easy it was to pick up and play - the vehicle handling, the gunplay, the humor and the core loop of crime / evade / escalate.”
For soon-to-be (virtual) fugitives jumping into the game for the first time, Lewis gave us some key points in order to avoid a trip back to prison... or dying!
“Don’t trust anyone. Keep moving. Change your clothes frequently. Get a weapon, but keep it holstered unless you need to defend yourself,” says Lewis. “Stay away from the cops, unless you’re feeling brave.
“Earn cash and upgrade points to improve your attributes and skills. This will enable you to be better at whatever way you decide to play the game, whether it’s stealthy burglary or full-on aggression!
“Keep your eyes open, as there are plenty of things to be discovered around Redrock County. Finally, have a blast!”
And, looking ahead to the post-release period, Lewis has not ruled out additional DLC for American Fugitive either.
“I certainly hope so!,” admits Lewis. “Of course, it entirely depends on how well the game is received and what the community wants to see, but we have a bunch of ideas of things we would love to add over time. We would love to explore some of those.”