An interesting Ukrainian action/RPG in a dark fantasy setting The Moon Hell will be released in a few days on Steam. We decided to turn to the developers of the game, namely Andrii Masiuk, who presents half of the A.M. Team studio to learn more about this project.
Good afternoon, Andrii. As far as I understand you are an artist, 3D modeler, VFX designer, art and creative director, and many other things. You worked in the advertising and film industry, at Crytek Kyiv and now continue to work at Frag Lab. So, is The Moon Hell your side project in your free time from the main job?
Yes. Together with my friend, I have been working on this project for three and a half years in our spare time.
Who is the secret second person working on The Moon Hell and how many temporary developers did you bring in? For what directions?
There is no secret person, it’s just that my friend doesn’t like too much media attention. He was doing work connected with Unreal Engine Blueprints (Unreal Engine visual scripting system is considered a quick way to create prototypes – editor’s note) and helped with the logic of the game.
According to your words, the development of the game took 3 years, however, the biggest part was finished in 2022 already after the start of a full-scale war. How did the warfare influence the process?
Yes, the beginning of a full-scale invasion gave us a significant push as we really wanted The Moon Hell to exist and we gathered all our internal resources and just made a little bit of the game every night.
As far as I understand, there were a lot of things you didn’t do by yourself and simply bought ready assets in UE Marketplace and took them from Megascan Library. So do these Unreal Engine toolkits really make development cheaper and faster?
It’s not that simple. Yes, some things we took from Megascan Library and the market as it’s very convenient. But we also had to do a lot of things on our own, because not everything you need can be purchased considering that it should fit our art style.
On the game page, you immediately warn that The Moon Hell is a very difficult game, that is, it is a kind of Dark Souls, right? Is there still space for games like this in this market because it seems like there is quite a lot of soulslike coming out now?
In fact, we didn’t do Dark Souls, why would people need another clone game? But it is difficult, almost impossible to move in a dark fantasy setting without touching Dark Souls in some way.
We were making our own game with its laws and combat system. At first, it seems very difficult… but if you play and understand the game’s principles, the feeling of similarity to Dark Souls gradually disappears. In fact, this feeling about The Moon Hell is false, and only appears because this brand is familiar to everyone and is simply the first thing that comes to mind when you think of dark fantasy.
We are prepared to the fact that people will find some of our gameplay solutions strange. However, each such solution has its own internal idea and implementation. Thus, I recommend the players to immerse in the game, the lore, and try to do something different, not like in Dark Souls. Our world works differently, under different rules, and we really want people to try to understand those rules.
Whether we managed to create a game with our ideas or not, time and player feedback will tell.
How is your game different from Dark Souls, what are its main features that should attract players?
In The Moon Hell, there are no healing jars, but you can restore HP at a SAVE POINT using which monstersDO NOT RESURRECT, unlike in some other games. Don’t be afraid to take damage. Remember, you can always go back and restore HP.
The shields work for protection. But at first, they help you not to die from two hits, let alone three. Stamina plays a very important role, so analyze how much it lasts. Pay attention to the habits of monsters.
There are multiple secrets in a game, finding which can make your life much easier. It is not possible to return to the passed level, so it is better to search more carefully.
The Moon Hell has Ukrainian dubbing and subtitles and no Russian ones, it’s nice. If it’s not a secret, is Ukrainian dubbing is expensive?
We were actually very lucky, one person helped us with Ukrainian in the game, almost for nothing. But if we take real prices, then, unfortunately, this is not a cheap pleasure.
Currently, The Moon Hell will be released on Steam. Are there plans for console releases in the future?
I don’t know, we’ll see how much people like the game.
If it’s not a secret, how many copies does The Moon Hell have to sell to pay off the development?
I cannot answer this question. But if we sell 10,000 copies, it will make us happy that enough people have appreciated our product. If more… Then we will definitely make the second part, the design document of which is actually ready.
Thank you for your answers, Andrii. Cheers to you and have good sales!