In Petrol Blood I wanted to recreate the 80’s in Poland and how I remembered them.
With Mecha police and robo-mosquitoes!
I was born just a year before the collapse of communism in my country (1989), so that may explain that my memories may be a little different to what is historically accurate ;)
The one thing that was established when we started producing Petrol Blood along with its genre was the setting where we wanted the action to take place.
Eastern Europe during the cold war period seems like a great fit for an espionage action game. Mass surveillance and police patrols on every corner, secret agents trying to bring down anyone that is suspected for being against the communist government. There are plenty of opponents that we can put against the player, but we also believe that it’s a captivating, but very unutilized environment for a video game.
It has also a very personal touch from the dev team. The first city, Wrocław, is our studio’s hometown. The second location we have chosen is Prague, the capital of Czechia . Personally I'm a huge fan of this city and a frequent visitor. We will definitely focus on Prague in some upcoming posts, but for this one we will focus on our approach on recreating 80’ Wrocław with a twist.
Let’s begin with how the streets are in reality and how they’re presented in the game:
We have also recreated some of the more distinctive landmarks, like this old train station:
However, if you are familiar with the city, you may realize that some of the places are far bigger and over the top than what you expected, for example, this air raid shelter that was built during the World War 2:
Here is where our history setting gets its twist.
With the game’s arcade controls and vehicular combat, if we stick to reality, the setting wiill not fit the gameplay. For that reason we decided to pump it up, amplify the Cold War paranoia and regime’s oppression and make it visible in the architecture.
Government buildings are huge concrete palaces, massive police stations are towering over cities and always mark their presence. Finally, the communist propaganda will try to find its way into every street corner.
A good example is this People’s Militia (the name of police forces in that era) headquarters:
Our amplification of reality and bending of historical facts only starts with architecture.
The government and police forces don’t ride ordinary cars anymore. Every patrol car got extra armor and deadly weapons that don't care for the safety of bystanders. This approach to the game's setting gives us a lot of creative freedom when designing opponents, but also makes gameplay more complex and creates worthy opponents for the player’s own arsenal.
Some of the early concepts of patrol cars:
Police have more than just cars at their disposal. They also have complex robotic drones and manned walking constructs. All this thanks to the brilliant minds of scientists working in the soviet military complex (and definitely not industrial espionage, don’t listen to the capitalist’s propaganda!)
Military and police are not the only ones benefiting from the advancement of robotics.
There are also civilian robots that are helping the citizens with their everyday life.
For example this cute milkman construct, please don’t run it over when you meet it on the street!
The full potential of this alternate timeline advanced and unrestrained technology will be unleashed in the game’s boss fights. But this is a story for another post! ;)