Talented DePaul University students embrace the wolf at C2E2 2014

While the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo of 2014 has been at an end for already way too long, there are still some loose ends to tie up as far as video games are concerned. Walking around the showroom floor, DePaul had a nice booth set up showing off their students’ work. You probably already read fellow Editor Andrew Burrage’s post on Tetrapulse and the great work being done by developers The Amiable.

Alongside The Amiable were a couple of guys showing off their creation, called Wolf’s Embrace. It’s a first-person stealth game that can also quickly become frantic pseudo-shooter depending on your play style. After playing through it a few times, I got to talk a little bit with programmer Joel Parker about the game and the team behind it.

TVGB: First… what are your names and jobs on the development team? Do you guys have a collective team name yet?

Joel Parker – Programmer/Producer:
Nick Carozza – Lead Programmer and Game Development major – Nick did major work on the wolf AI and has had his hands in about every line of code.
JP Navin – Artist/Designer and an Animation major – JP did all the animations on the wolves, most of the modeling, and overall design.
Joel Parker – Programmer/Producer and Computer Science major – I did a lot of design for the level, some programming, and scheduling.
Dan Jovanov – Designer/Tester and Game Design major – Dan is the main play-tester.

Right now, we’re all seniors graduating from DePaul in June. Nick, JP, and I are working on forming a group to make more games in the future. We don’t have a name yet, but you can follow our facebook game page (see below) for new information on the game and our group.

The Team — (L to R) Nick Carozza, Joel Parker and JP Navin.

TVGB: What is the game that you guys made? Can you describe it in a few sentences?
Parker: The game we made is called Wolf’s Embrace. Wolf’s Embrace is a first-person survival game with very minimal HUD. The player starts off in a cave with the objective to reach the exit. The problem is that there are large wolves throughout the cave and the player only has one spear. Having only one spear makes every throw intense since the player needs to go pick it up afterwards. There’s multiple ways that you can play the game, you can try to slowly stealth through the level or the player could try to take down as many wolves as they can.

TVGB: I assume you are all gamers. What games are you playing now?
Parker: We’re all gamers and we all like a variety of games. Current games we’re playing are Civilization 5, Dark Souls, NHL14, Spec Ops: The Line, Tokyo Jungle, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and League of Legends.

TVGB: What were your inspirations for making the game? Where did you ideas come from? Other games, movies, comics, music, etc?
Parker: So we had 2 big inspirations for the game. The first one was the game Journey. We wanted to create a cool environment and also a game that really evoked certain emotions from the player. We also wanted a minimalist HUD like Journey as well. Our other inspiration came from the movie The Grey. We loved the ending moment from the movie where the Alpha Wolf was about to lunge at Liam Neeson. Even though we would’ve like to see the result, it gave us inspiration to try create similar moments within our game.

TVGB: What’s the balance between university life and game development like?
The truth is that Game Development is a lot of work and sometimes it can overtake your life as a student. One of the keys to keeping a nice balance is to understand you schedule and pace yourself. If you’re a procrastinator, then game development is probably not for you. On the other hand, we think game development is one of the most rewarding jobs that you can have. Especially as an independent developer, you have the opportunity to really shape your game and engage with a community that enjoys it.

TVGB: Are you going into game development full time? What else are you planning on doing in the future?
Parker: A few of us have jobs coming out of school, but not in Game Development. Eventually we’d like to go full-time into game development so we’re planning on working on some independent game projects once we finish school. We’re hoping that one of these projects will kick-start us full-time into Game Development.

TVGB: I really enjoyed what I played at C2E2. Will this game be released or distributed?
Parker: This game will be released when we graduate in about 5 weeks. It will probably be free to download.

If you want to check out what’s going on with the guys and Wolf’s Embrace, head over to their Facebook page facebook.com/wolfsembrace.