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Adrift devs foresee untapped potential in first-person games

A recent Polygon story about indie studio Three One Zero reveals how the team came together to work on Adrift and the genesis of its ambition to become a 'first-person experience' developer.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

December 1, 2014

2 Min Read

"How many games can you play that are run shoot kill and repeat, with different settings, different worlds? After a while it's tiring for me."

- Three One Zero executive producer Matteo Marsala speaks to the fatigue many AAA developers feel while working on big-budget first-person shooter franchises. The story of how Three One Zero took its upcoming first-person game Adrift from concept art to publishing deal has already been told, but a few new wrinkles in the team's origin story and their approach to game development were brought to light last week by Polygon. Three One Zero cofounders Adam Orth and Omar Aziz previously worked alongside some of the Adrift development staff at EA Los Angeles, where they bonded over their growing dissatisfaction with developing AAA first-person shooters. "When things got rough at EA on Medal of Honor that was what the core group of us would do," said Orth. "Sit in a room and say, 'How could we fix this.'" Adrift producer Matteo Marsala agrees and notes that his decision to join Three One Zero was motivated by a growing dissatisfaction with the experience of working at large-scale studios on franchise titles, especially violent first-person shooters. "I've gotten a lot of FPS fatigue over the years, having worked on them for many, many years," said Marsala. "I needed a break from AAA game development." What's interesting about this story from a developer's perspective is that while many at Three One Zero seem burnt out on making first-person shooters, they still sound excited about the untapped potential of first-person perspective in game design. "There's a couple of things intuitive about an FPS, the gun and how it works, but the other thing is that I point somewhere and go in that direction," said Aziz. "You can do different objectives besides killing things, which is a huge thing for me." "The Vanishing of Carter, Gone Home, Journey, they're all about walking around looking at cool shit with fun things to do and an emotive story," said Orth. "You can leave out the guns, leave out the killing and still get someone to have a great experience." You can read more about the formation of Three One Zero and the studio's ambition to become a "first-person experience" developer over on Polygon.

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