Skopje (skopjegame) is a Macedonian video game developed by Dark-1. The news that the developers of ‘Odium to the Core’ were working on a new game broke out in 2019. Several years have passed and yet the game is still in unfinished state, but as Dark-1 is quick to point out, they’re close to the finish line. The game’s publisher – PM Studios – was also officially announced this week.
Skopje is a First Person Shooter set in an open-world survival setting and with gameplay mechanics based on non-linear world exploration. The game is deeply inspired by the capital of North Macedonia – Skopje, especially the brutalist architecture of Kenzo Tange from the 70s. “Skopje” has a unique cel-shaded art style inspired by comics, and features simplified survival mechanics and a mobile base that helps the player explore the city faster.
The city is thrust into disarray and is besieged by mutated creatures. To effectively deal with the creatures, players must collect various materials, upgrade their characters and drive the mobile base (DOM) which, apart from being a portable base of operations, also serves as an effective shelter from the dangers that lurk around every corner.
Recently, Dark-1 showed off the video game Skopje at Pax West. Pax West is a video game event that celebrates gaming culture every year by featuring monumental panels. We spoke with Kristijan Trajkovski about the Pax West experience and news related to “Skopje”.
What’s happening with the development of the game?
Skopje is a game that’s been in development for almost 4 years, with its beginnings funded by FITR. This past period, we have made monumental progress in all aspects of the game and can boast a long list of complex functionalities, design and adaptation of a considerable number of 3D objects, world building, as well as the story…
Developing a game of this scope is a huge undertaking for a small team. As a result, it takes quite a lot of time to get the game to where we want it to be. Currently, 7 people are working on the game.
You are already quite experienced when it comes to developing and publishing games from North Macedonia. What are the challenges and benefits?
We think that the biggest challenge comes from being in a state of isolation, especially when it comes to linking up with contacts, exchanging experiences and finding the right personnel. The games industry in our country is still walking its first steps. As we are just starting, a lot of the things are learnt from scratch.
As for what the benefits are, well, it’s our standard of living and the fact that our end user is the whole world. Making a game in our country is less expensive, which, in turn, allows us to do more for less; compared to companies located in the US and other countries where life is more expensive.
Recently, you attended Pax West, what are your impressions as a visitor?
As this was our first visit to this type of an event we were confused and surprised by the sheer number of visitors and all the big names on the panels. When there’s a Path of the Exile 2 booth next to yours and you casually chat with one of the devs, the thought that immediately strikes you that we’re all on equal grounds, at least for the duration of the event. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to walk around PAX as regular visitors, we wanted to spend as much time as possible by our booth and to gather as many ideas and opinions from players.
You also attended Pax in a professional capacity. How did the preview of Skopje go?
The preview went great. Our booth was swamped with people waiting in line to check the game out. Not a single bad comment went by and all we got was high praise and minor but constructive feedback.
Were you able to find a publisher for the game?
We were! Our US based publisher is “PM Studios”. They have years of experience with all kinds of games and platforms. We got in touch with them two years ago, but this was the year that we touched base and went to PAX West to promote “Skopje”.
Who are PM Studios?PM Studios is an American video game publisher based in Los Angeles, California. The company was founded in 2008 and they have published games belonging to a wide variety of genres.
In addition to Skopje, they have published a bunch of other games. One of the most notable is “My Time at Sandrock”.
When can we expect the final version of the game?
We don’t have a release date yet, but the end is near.