We gave the Stasis Bay a much needed face-lift, this week. We wanted to make sure that the more boring and sparsely populated areas had something going on something to give it texture, something that added to the character that you first experience when you play Vegas Prime Retrograde.

Despite being a rather short play area, the Stasis Bay is really important. Like really REALLY important. It’s the first thing you see when you fire up the game, it’s the first place you walk around. When you design a level, you have to make sure that the world reflects the character back to the player. For us, the Stasis Bay is the first place you see Clara reflected back to you, and it’s the first time you start to understand the nuances of her personality. She’s cagey. Guarded. Despondent in terms of the society around her. Though she’s not depressed, she does see the world with a hint of malaise.

So, the face-lift was pretty important! We had a lot of busy bodies walking around, NPCs that don’t really do much or add anything. They made it feel active, but as you start to walk around, they kind of made it feel like a facade, like the decorations at an amusement park. It wasn’t completely conveying what we wanted.

We’re in a stasis bay! What goes in a stasis bay, that we didn’t already have? Here are some things we added and changed:

  • An NPC Waiting area. An area where people would be waiting for the medical imprint to get to them. Maybe they’re sick from Stasis like Clara? Maybe they’re preparing for a long journey?
  • NPCs sitting around the stasis bay. Some are waiting and some are talking to Alpha-9. Either way, they have purpose for being there that you can see in their actions.
  • More vegetation. Plant life is one of the ways we convey a sense of humanity. It gives the area a feeling of connectedness with nature. In a place like Vegas Prime, that’s really important.
  • Reduced number of walking NPCs. We wanted to preserve a stillness for the Stasis Bay to help capture the feeling of loneliness that comes with being in deep stasis. We wanted a sensation of being in a library, where things are happening, it’s alive, but everything is muted and cautious.
  • A new Sani-bot Vignette. A small vignette in which the player can have a conversation with the sanitation robot, Sani-Bot.
  • A new Kamala Vignette. The first vignette that allows the player to start defining Clara’s personality by having a conversation with another patient, Kamala. Through Kamala, the player can learn about life on Vegas Prime and, if she plays her cards right, earn a friend to connect with later.

We added 2 vignettes, a bunch of NPCs with different motivations, made the area feel full and busy, and at the same time entirely changed the feel of the Stasis Bay for Clara. When you walk around, you get a sense that maybe you’re not alone as you come out of stasis, confused and disoriented.

So, what do you think? Have you played it yet? Let us know in Discord!