Interview: Sanctua Utilizes Multiple Handcrafted Rooms For Randomly Generated Tomb

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Sanctua - via Choose Red

Sanctua is an upcoming co-op Action-Adventure game under development by Choose Red. The game sets the stage for players’ journey in an ancient Tomb that requires a strategic playthrough to steer clear of potential threats. On top of that, numerous puzzles deliver an ultimate challenge as you progress to the endgame. 

With a randomly generated Tomb, Sanctua promises a unique gameplay experience to create a unique strategy and ensure survival till the end. With a lot of elements working together, we reached out to Jason, the founder of Choose Red Studio and the solo developer behind Sanctua to learn more about the design inspiration and the role of different items in the game.

Sanctua - via Choose Red
Sanctua – via Choose Red

Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your role on Sanctua.

Jason: Hi there! I’m Jason, the founder of Choose Red Studio and the solo developer behind Sanctua. I handle almost every aspect myself, but I try to collaborate as much as possible with freelancers for specialized tasks to ensure the quality I aim for.

What inspired the creation of Sanctua, and how did the idea of a co-op party game set in a cursed Egyptian tomb come about?

Jason: Sanctua was inspired by my love for cooperative games, human behavior, and the eerie atmospheres of Lovecraftian stories. I wanted to create a game where players can enjoy working together, where their communication and choices matter in a tense setting without relying on gore or cartoonish elements, that is still accessible to most players.

Sanctua - via Choose Red
Sanctua – via Choose Red

How does the game balance the cooperative elements with the competitive aspect introduced by the corrupted player?

Jason: Players must work together to survive and escape, but every human has their mindset, personal goals, and playstyle. Some will want to uncover every bit of the tomb’s history, others might focus on banishing the creature, while some will support their teammates or just hide and wait in a sarcophagus!

They must split for certain tasks and team up for others, always remembering their common goal: escape. Except for one—the corrupted player must manage their corruption, strategically hunting, trapping, and even turning explorers, keeping the pressure constant and creating both scary and funny moments.

Can you provide more background on the lore of Sanctua and the ancient evil that the explorers encounter?

Jason: Sanctua is set in the early 20th century. A group of explorers is tasked with investigating strange phenomena in an ancient Egyptian tomb from the Third Kingdom, known for its occult practices over 3000 years ago.

The tomb’s seal appears to have been broken, and a malevolent corruption has taken hold. Additionally, the site seems to have been visited by a civilization with unknown technology. Oh yes, and it seems like Egypt is not the only place hit by this corruption and many reports around the world have identical descriptions.

Sanctua - via Choose Red
Sanctua – via Choose Red

Could you shed light on how the randomly generated tomb layout and gadgets contribute to the game's replayability?

Jason: The randomly generated tombs are made from multiple handcrafted rooms and parts. Each part, including random spawn points, items, and events, is meticulously designed.

I then use a logic that assembles these parts into a coherent layout, ensuring a unique dungeon every time, but with a handcrafted level of detail. This mix keeps each playthrough different without looking artificial.

What kinds of customizations are available to players to tailor their experience?

Jason: Players can customize the game to fit their preferred level of challenge and fun. Hosts can adjust the tomb size, cooldowns for Ancient attacks, the rate of corruption, and more. Additionally, there are cosmetic customizations for characters and the Ancient, unlocked by finding clues and achieving in-game goals.

Sanctua - via Choose Red
Sanctua – via Choose Red

Can you describe the design process for the Ancient entity and the corrupted player?

Jason: Designing the Ancient entity was about creating a coherent and intriguing creature. I wanted the transformation to feel significant but also have a marked and distressing hunter vibe.

The corrupted player will know at the beginning of the game that they will turn into the Ancient. It’s up to them to choose the best moment and the best strategy for their transformation. Play it discreetly, or on the contrary, make your revelation a fun, explosive event with friends!

The sound design also looks unique in the initial looks. How did you approach the sound for thrilling action gameplay?

Jason: I personally fell in love with some great sound-designed games like Alien Isolation, Hunt Showdown, and Doom Eternal, and the level of immersion they bring. I needed to create the most sound-immersive experience possible. Regarding gameplay, players generate noise by talking, using objects, or getting too close to the wildlife haunting the tomb.

These sounds, of course, help reveal their position to the Ancient or be used as a beacon. This aims to make every decision matter, keeping players on edge and immersed in the game’s atmosphere, and ensuring some serious laughs in certain situations.

World Design of Sanctua
Sanctua – via Choose Red

How long has the game been under development, and how many developers are working on it?

Jason: Sanctua has been in development for a bit more than a year now. About the team, for now, it’s only me, with occasional help from freelancers on specific technical subjects to ensure the game reaches the quality level I’m aiming for.

The main development challenges were the procedural generation system, which is now complete, and the ongoing development of the fast-immersive in-game voice chat and dynamic sound design mixed with the Unreal Engine 5 sound engine.

Anything else you would like to share with the readers?

Jason: I just want to thank everyone for their interest in Sanctua since the reveal trailer. There is still a lot to do and many more features to reveal, and I can’t wait to share them with you all. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the scene, I hope Sanctua offers a unique and thrilling experience to share with friends.

Interested players are welcome to join the Discord channel to discuss the game, follow its development, share suggestions, have a chat with me and the people around the game, and more. Thanks for the interview, stay tuned for more updates, and see you in the tombs!

Sanctua is an upcoming thrilling online co-op video game, currently being developed under Choose Red. The game is planned to be released in 2025 for PC. You can follow the game on Discord or other social media platforms for exclusive updates directly from the developer. 

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