Previous to Sarumonin.com, Sarumonin was the owner of the Eterna Gaming community, which at the time interviewed the team over at Asylum Entertainment for the upcoming MMORPG, Identity. For historical purposes, this interview has been recovered, as it is no longer available online.
We are extremely excited and humbled to have spoken to the team over at the upcoming MMORPG: Identity. We asked them a series of questions surrounding the game, what players should expect and an overview of the development team. Before we begin, we’d like to thank the amazing team at Asylum Entertainment for taking the time to answer these questions.
What is Identity and what does it hope to achieve?
AE: Identity is an open world multiplayer role-playing game simulating modern civilization, with a strong emphasis on civilian, law enforcement and western gang culture. Our goal is to expand the Roleplay genre and bring a more literal meaning back to the term, “Role-playing Game” while also remaining open to other interests and playstyles.
Identity symbolizes the ideal experience that John and I, and so many others like us, have wanted from a game since our first exposure to the many roleplay modifications found in games like Garry’s Mod, Mount & Blade, Grand Theft Auto, ArmA, and others. It’s about time this thriving gamemode and mod finally had its first debut as its own dedicated genre.
What platforms will Identity be released on?
AE: Identity is marketed for PC only, including Mac and linux operating systems. We have no official plans to publish Identity on console. However, we’ve promised the community that we’d do our research and determine the effort it would require to port to console, considering that none of us have any past console development experience. But to be sure, we do not promise Identity will ever be available on console.
How many people can the official servers hold?
AE: Our current goal is to reach as many as 300 clients connected simultaneously per server. If we can have more, we will have more.
Will there be private servers?
AE: There will be private servers for rent that will include a control panel for private server owners to configure and tailor their server specifically to their communities needs. These servers will appear in the same browser list as official servers to maximize exposure.
We anticipate that private server communities will be better equipped to offer a more complete roleplay experience for those looking for a little more structure, organization, and moderation outside of official servers as we expect it to be a challenge for our small staff to manage the community across official servers. Some gameplay mechanics are even automated in regards to official servers, whereas private servers will have the option to manually control how some other things are distributed, like Police recruitment, firearms licensing, governor term length, etc.
Will pledge items be account bound, and accessible on both official and private servers?
AE: We haven’t fully worked out exactly how private servers will work in conjunction with official servers yet, but our aim here is to ensure players who play on private servers will still have access to their backer rewards, and any micro-transaction items they may have bought from our webpage shop. There is some stipulation though. For instance, while you may have the same apartment on every private server you join as a reward for backing Identity with one of the packages that include an apartment, your apartment will not be furnished with all the furniture and decor you placed in one server, across all servers. You’ll still have the apartment, but will need to start fresh earning in-game currency to purchase new furnishings for the same apartment on your new server, unless you return back to your old server, where all of your previously placed furnishings will still be saved. We are still deciding if this will also be the case across official servers.
Before you walk into your account bound apartment on any new server you join, or use any of your store purchases however, each item will need to be claimed on your account, which then make it accessible to you in-game.
Is there nudity in Identity, and will prostitution be a thing?
AE: First and foremost, there is no nudity in Identity, and the primary reason for this is because we don’t want Identity to be banned from media streaming sites like Youtube or Twitch. Identity is a roleplay game, which has a tendency to mean that players can get pretty creative and racy with their roleplay encounters. We don’t want to put anyone in an uncomfortable position where they are forcefully subject to potential inappropriate behavior around them while playing Identity.
As for prostitution, there are no mechanics in place to support prostitution as a job, or career option in Identity. However, we’d rather not limit, and instead encourage players to use their creative roleplay skills to solicit their services however they please, as long as there is mutual complicity between each party.
How deep into the illegal activities are you guys willing to go for the game?
AE: We definitely obfuscate some of the illegal processes like drug production, but there is still enough there that the player is putting in effort to keep the process engaging. Our goal isn’t to teach anyone how to make illegal narcotics, nor are we trying to be edgy or make a political statement as a means to create controversy about Identity. No-one on our development team has a history with past illegal drug use, but we do want to put emphasis on drug culture as it is an important part of American history, and of course gives player cops in Identity something realistic to fight against. But we also strongly feel that it is a responsibility to reflect on both the bad and good aspects of contemporary life, being that that is Identity’s primary theme.
Will there be any system in the UI (User Interface) reminding the player to eat, sleep, shower, etc?
AE: Players do have to eat in Identity to keep their character healthy, and will be notified when their character is on the brink of starvation. Otherwise, we want to minimize UI elements as much as possible, for the sake of immersion. We’ll hide less important notifications on the players hand-held cellphone which can never be lost or taken from them.
We haven’t fully decided yet if not eating will kill your player or not, but at the very least, it may slow your player down and decrease weapon stabilization.
Will players be able to live a normal life in the game, as well a life of crime at the same time?
AE: Players in Identity should be able to live out their entire Identity playing career without ever having to experience criminal activity. There is a risk vs. reward mechanic to the game however, and civilian jobs tend to pay less as they are usually safer, while some lucrative criminal-only activities such as raiding the federal reserve offer a big pay-out to those willing to put the time into planning their heist and taking big risks.
Becoming a criminal in Identity is somewhat easy to achieve. Criminals in Identity are simply civilians who have committed crimes, but there is a lot for a player to consider before they cross that threshold. The more wanted they are as a criminal, the less access they have to the civilian world around them. Most vendors, banks, and social establishments will not do business with highly wanted criminals, forcing them to travel further distances to find shelter or supplies to continue living their criminal lifestyle.
A civilian stops being a criminal once they are arrested and has served their time in prison, or in some cases depending on the severity of the crime, after some time has passed.
Identity identifies itself as a brand new MMORPG, in this cause, will we expect to see any NPC assistance? Such as the potential issue of gaps in professions (for example: No delivery drivers, fire fighters, etc.)
AE: You won’t see any NPC’s roaming the world in Identity like you might in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. We think the world will feel more immersive if every person you interact with in the world is a real person sitting behind their keyboard. That said, there are some NPC’s for the sake of convenience. You can’t always rely on real people to give you the information or access you need to experience all the content in a game, so NPC’s do sit in as store clerks or information brokers where necessary.
How would you guys describe a typical day in the office while working on Identity?
AE: We’re actually scattered across the world at this point, so long distance communication can sometimes be a challenge, but hasn’t really slowed down progress. We only have a few dedicated employees on salary, and a lot of freelance artists that we tend to return to for the quality for their work. It has been a wonderful networking opportunity meeting so many talented people from so many different foreign countries, and we’re really proud to be able to provide work opportunities for those who don’t have access to full-time employment in their home countries. But for those of us who work full-time on Identity start our day at 9:00 AM EST, and end at 5:00 PM EST, but spend the last hour of work playing games as a group to ensure the comradery, communication, and morale stays strong. So it’s sort of like we can say we get paid to play video games! Does that make us professional gamers?
There is a lot of customization that is available according to the Overview trailer you guys released. Will vehicles that you own also be customizable?
F.A: Vehicles in Identity will be customizeable by visiting a garage. Both performance and cosmetic enhancements can be made to almost every vehicle in Identity!
Do you guys have any estimated time of release for the game?
AE: We don’t have an exact date on Identity’s release yet, but we are currently 2 years into development, and I think I can confidently say there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are still some upcoming hurdles to get past, but we’ve taken on every challenge so far and are still feeling very positive about Identity’s future.
Our fans won’t have to wait as long as it takes to release Identity to begin experiencing a part of it though! Before beta testing starts, we’ll be putting out 3 individual modules to help bring our community together into one place, and to show off pieces of the game before it’s ready. The first module is a social lobby for fans to gather, called “The Town Square” and will feature karaoke singing, a movie theater, and partial character customization. The second module is the “SWAT” module that will put competing player teams up against each other in an arena style showdown to show off Identity’s future gun-play. The final and third module is the racing module which will feature competitive racing and Identity’s vehicle handling mechanics.
Our fans can follow the progress for each module on our website @ www.identityrpg.com/info/modules
Is it possible to throw things? Perhaps like shoes at people?
AE: Unfortunately, it is not possible to throw things in Identity. We try to minimize the impact of network objects on the server that aren’t necessary to the core design of the game. Having to track when and where an object is thrown uses up a lot of network resources between clients and the servers that are vital to having as many clients connected to each server simultaneously. In a lot of ways, from my personal understanding (I’m not a programmer), multiplayer game design is a balance between player count and network traffic.
How much flexibility will the players have when it comes to weapons?
AE: The most common type of firearm in Identity are handguns. For those who have the right permits, they are legal to carry for defensive purposes. Some hunting rifles are available for hunting critters and deer deep in the woods, and are well visible in hand, or slung onto the back of players who carry them. Automatic rifles in every case, are illegal to carry and will make any player carrying one a hot target for arrest, so it’s a good idea to keep them outside of well populated areas of the map. There are however no sniper rifles in Identity, including for law enforcement purposes. We strongly feel that all interactions between players should remain close and personal to maximize the social impact of the action. This is the same reason why airplanes aren’t in Identity, because we don’t want players to miss any social opportunities.
Is there going to be any video that will show the combat in Identity and how the game handles combat situations?
AE: Our next gameplay video will present the combat aspect, including some criminal activity in Identity. We’re really proud of how our weapons handle, and have made an effort to make the ballistics for each weapon as realistic as possible. Bullets damage, sound, trajectory, velocity, and other factors are influenced by the environment. Reverb will occur when a weapon fires in an enclosed space, and bullets will pass through some objects and lose velocity depending on the material they hit or how long they’ve traveled. We also want to put an emphasis on small arms such as handguns. Rifles will be rarely seen, especially in urban environments, and automatic weapons rarer still. We anticipate that automatic weapons will be saved by players for special occasions, like a big bank heist or gang war, because of their high value and rarity.
During the development of the game, was there anything that you guys wanted to add to it but never could or it just wasn’t possible?
AE: When John and I first started designing Identity, I think I had a different environmental theme in my head than what John was envisioning. I think it would have been really cool to see a desert represented as one of the biomes around the island, but John later convinced me that a desert just wouldn’t feel right given the map took place on a relatively small island (in comparison to the space deserts normally take up across entire continents). Identity’s island is 225 square kilometers of landmass, so it’s by no means small, but still small enough that you might still see snowy mountains in the distance while standing in the middle of a desert, which we just don’t feel is very realistic. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t room for my dream desert. Perhaps it can appear in some future DLC island.
In the Overview video, you guys mentioned that you could rent a house/home from a person. How exactly will that work?
AE: Renting homes in Identity is pretty straightforward. The owner of the home temporarily gives up living rights, and access to the home interior until they either evict the client, or the client stops paying rent. It’s as if the client simply bought the home themselves; only the money goes to the real owner. Keep in mind though, if the client is evicted or stops paying rent, the renter will not get to keep the clients furniture or decor. We’re still fleshing out exactly how this mechanic should work, so expect this feature to undergo changes before release.
Will the game compensate for an essential service if there aren’t enough players to provide the service? For instance, prison guards, deliveries, etc.
AE: Yes, in some cases, the game will generate content when there aren’t enough players to create it themselves. An example of this would be contracts for delivery corporations. They must visit the contract board in order to accept a delivery, which are normally placed by other players or corporations. However, in the event that not enough contracts are being placed for drivers, the board will generate delivery jobs for drivers to accept. This may also be true for other things like firefighting and emergency medical services.
Will players who are in the “crafting” professions be able to import their own designs or meshes? Or will it be like APB where there are tools in game for design? Or none of the above?
AE: There are tools available in Identity to facilitate player created designs. These are mostly tools that will allow players to create logos using prefabricated shapes, and vectorized paintings that will enable us to rasterize and compress them for storage on our servers. On official servers at least, players will not be able to import custom meshes or external designs. On private servers, we are still undecided, and don’t want to make any promises for a feature that we aren’t yet sure we want in Identity. There is a lot to consider with something like this, because as we’ve seen in other games with user-generated content, things tend to get a bit wacky and/or explicit, and player immersion is incredibly important to us.
Players would like to see an ‘entertainer’ profession , which could mean a performer, or musician?
AE: There isn’t a specific career or profession in Identity for entertainers or performers, but we fully realize the potential opportunity for players to be recognized for their talents in Identity, and we’d love to see someone’s career take-off with the help and support of this game and its community. We’ve developed a number of features to assist players with their entertainment ambitions, including karaoke, live in-game radio talk shows hosted by players, and even a concert hall that players can rent out, select a theme for (classical, rock, talent show, etc), and invite other players to watch. Identity is very much a social game and we want its community to feel alive.
Will there be player owned night clubs? What if there’s no more players on that server to visit the club?
AE: Some types of businesses cannot be owned by players in Identity. Night clubs are one such example. Buildings that cannot be owned typically belong to the category that we refer to as “sub-HUB’s” which are safe areas in the game that allow players to congregate and socialize peacefully. As a player enters one of these Sub-HUB’s, they will pass through a metal detector which will detect any dangerous weapons and will temporarily confiscate them until the player leaves the building. Generally, police or players who are flagged as criminals will not be able to enter these buildings, unless it is a Sub-HUB specifically meant for their type (i.e. Police staff rooms, or underground gang hideout).
Many consider Identity to be a more fully realized, spiritual successor to your popular Arma 3 mod Asylum Life. Coming from an Arma 3 environment that’s largely focused on realistic combat, how will Identity compare?
AE: While Identity draws a lot of parellels to our ArmA 3 mod, we see each as two very different entities. Identity has a much stronger focus on roleplay and immersion. Unreal Engine 4 enables us to do a lot of things that we had limited control over with our mod, and we’re seizing the opportunity to take full control of the freedom UE4 gives us. For instance, with Identity, there is a whole new emphasis on civilian life that allows players to choose how they play the game and earn money. Nolonger are players forced to play as a criminal in order to stay competitive, like they were with the mod.
What level of depth can players expect from Identity’s player-driven economy? Will it be fully player-driven (e.g. EVE Online)? Can you give specific examples of the player-driven systems in Identity?
AE: Identity’s economy is mostly player-driven. For Identity, this means players will have to transport manufactured or crafted goods to distribution centers for player-owned stores to stock their inventories. Even mail delivery will require a player to accept a contract to deliver the packages to their destinations, and Delivery corporations can be formed to haul bulk quantities of goods to help keep the economy healthy.
The majority of complex items, including weapons, and furniture are player crafted in Identity. Crafted items can be customized in a number of ways, including choosing the material and color it is made with. Players can then sell these items in player-owned storefronts across the map.
Will the game have seasons, such as weather, during the days, weeks and/or months? Will rain and snow affect the vehicles in the game?
AE: Identity will not have seasons that pass with real-time. Although we do plan to celebrate holidays with holiday exclusive content that will show up in the environment. We would love to implement various weather conditions though, possibly even including tornadoes and hurricanes, but we don’t want to make any promises for that yet until we are sure of the extent in which we can pull it off with fancy graphics and gameplay mechanics.
Will there be car models from real life or is there made up models? For example: Ford, Chevy, or made ups ones like Grand Theft Auto?
AE: There won’t be any real life brands in Identity. A lot of these things require licensing fees, and we’re certain that companies like Ford and Chevy wouldn’t want their logos or brand to be associated with some of the illegal and illicit content featured in Identity. Any fictional brand or name in Identity that can be found in real life is completely coincidental. We’ve been doing research to ensure we avoid existing brands and trademarks as much as possible.
With so much crime available in the game, how can players keep their items safe from being stolen or robbed?
AE: Players will be able to safely store their currency in banks, and their items in their home inventories. Others will not be able to enter another players house, or manipulate furniture or other customizeable options without direct permission from the home owner. We want homes to be ‘your’ personal space, and a place you can privately go and remain undisturbed by any unwelcomed guests. However, the moment you leave your home, all bets are off. There are few safe places in Identity’s world outside of your player home. Dying means you will drop all currency or inventory items on the ground for anyone else to pick up.
Will there be an average wage for players in professions? If so, what will it be?
AE: Job pay in Identity is still yet to be determined, but our players can expect earnings to be realistic and reflect the modern average standard of living in the United States.
What will prison be like? And what are the prison sentences going to be?
AE: There is two types of incarceration in Identity: Jail & Prison. Players who are caught and sent to jail for minor offenses, such as petty theft or unpaid traffic violations will spend no more than a few short minutes locked away in a small jail cell before being released without any further consequences. Prison is a different story, and is a bit like its own game with its own economy, safely quarantining the hardest criminals from the rest of society. Players who are caught and sent to prison can enlist in a prison gang and fight for territory, or simply hang out in the safe confines of the social lounge and participate in a few small activities while they wait out their sentences.
How many Cop, EMS, Fire Vehicle types will there be?
AE: There will be several different types of police patrol cars, interceptors, SWAT Vans, and ranger trucks. Each vehicle will have limited customization available to ensure that it continues to resemble a marked police vehicle, while also being cautious of any immersion breaking flair. We want players to be able to identity and distinguish player police from civilians. Therefore, players shouldn’t expect to see any unmarked/undercover police units, or be able to obtain a police uniform without being a police officer themselves.
Other emergency government occupations such as Firefighters and EMS will be limited to a single, non-customizeable vehicle design for Firetrucks and Ambulances. These vehicles should be easy to identity for all players who spot them, and will only be accessible by the players that belong to their occupations. We want to ensure that Firefighters and EMT’s won’t be mistaken for a hostile players, so that they can perform their duties unimposed.
How many towns will there be?
AE: There are 3 major cities in Identity, and several smaller towns scattered across Identity’s island. The 3 cities are Roseport, Ash Hill, and Turtle Beach, each with their own unique theme based on where they are located on the map. It’s important to note that Identity is heavily influenced by the South East region of the United States, so the architecture is wholly American. Roseport is the biggest of the 3 cities, and is very much akin to ‘New York City’. Ash Hill is a very clean, high income, high altitude city surrounded by mountainous terrain. The inspiration for Ash Hill originates from Asheville, North Carolina where we had originally planned to move Asylum Entertainment’s office. And finally of course, Turtle Beach is a direct reference to the tropical coastal city Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Expect to find some great fishing spots off the coast of this city.
Will there be a cap amount of players that can be a profession such as Police Officer, Firefighter, etc.?
AE: On official servers, there will be a cap amount of active positions for government jobs in Identity, which will be dependent on active server population. Players who qualify to play as a police officer, or those who were last logged in as a cop before logging off and later log in and discover their normal job position is capped will find themselves off-duty living a normal civilian life until a position becomes available and they visit a police station to sign back in for duty.
Is it possible to lose so much money in the game that you have to be homeless?
AE: While we haven’t decided yet if players will be able to incur a negative bank balance, it is entirely possible for a player to lose all of their money in Identity and not be able to afford even basic necessities. Luckily, there are homeless shelters scattered across each city that will happily provide temporary living, at the loss of having the privacy of a private home, and the convenience of home interior customization or storage.
In some games, you can be banned or punished for logging off in the middle of a combat session. Will this game have any punishment system?
AE: We won’t punish players for logging out. There are plenty of reasons why someone may need to log out of a game immediately that we don’t want to impede, so we’d prefer to implement a gameplay mechanic that will keep the client’s character in the world for a short duration if they choose to signout. This way, they will still undergo any consequence that may have befallen them at the hands of others around them before the signed off, and will then see the affect of their decision the next time they login.
With so much realism added to the game, will there be dating, perhaps activities you can do while dating such as going to the movies, restaurants, at home activities? Marriage?
AE: There are a wide variety of social activities designed specifically for friends to spend time with each other in Identity, including movie theaters, clubs, and restaurants among others. Some activities, like raiding the federal reserve or breaking out of prison may even require a group effort.
You can definitely get married to another player in Identity. This will require purchasing a pair of rings from a jewelery store and visiting a church in-game. The only thing remaining is to activate the alter and perform your wedding ceremony. After the marriage, your in-game social media profile will update to reflect the status change, and possibly even allow the new couple to choose who’s last name to inherit.
What would you like to tell the community that have been following the game for a while now? What about new fans that have just discovered the game?
AE: We’d like to say thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and patient with us since the success of the Kickstarter. The positive messages we receive everyday get us out of bed in the morning and keep us going. It has been a long grueling wait for everyone, but nobody wants Identity to be released more than we do. Identity is our dream game; our only love. We can’t wait until the day we first get to share it with the world. Together, we’ve all shown the entire game industry that there is demand for a roleplay experience like this in gaming. We hope to be the first introduction to the RPG genre for future generations, and to hold the industry to a new standard for roleplay across all genres.