Hands-on with Volume and a chat with Mike Bithell

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I think most of you know by now that I’m a huge fan of stealth games. It’s why I loved Mark of the Ninja and Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. Sneak past guards, complete objectives, use distraction items. All that stuff is just so cool. Mike Bithell, the creator of my other indie favourite Thomas Was Alone, is making Volume and it might just be my favorite stealth game yet.

I got some hands-on time with the game during E3 and it’s already looking incredibly polished. What I like about it is that the difficulty ramps up at an understandable pace, plus it’s filled with all sorts of cool narrative elements. For example, the first level is simply about movement and reaching objectives. I moved to the first point with text to receive a message saying that I obviously understood movement and contextual actions. It’s that interesting blend between breaking the fourth wall and telling a story that I enjoy so much in his games, and it’s already working so well in Volume.

volume

As for the stealth, it already feels slick and modern. Movement is responsive and even the early levels feel fun to play. I enjoyed sticking to the walls, using devices and tricking the guards. The decision to remove the ability to kill the guards makes a huge difference – now your trickery and devices all feel worthwhile as there is no alternative. You need to sneak past and can’t rely on leaving a trail of dead guards behind you. It adds a lot more nuance to the game’s experience, and is sure to give that extra challenge to stealth fans.

I got to talk to the man and make him horribly uncomfortable. I adore interviewing Mike Bithell because we always have such a laugh. You can see it here:

I like how he explains his goal for the game:

We want to make a stealth game that could be someone’s first stealth game. But at the same time, we don’t want to make a casual game that doesn’t ever feel like it delivers on that experience. We wanted to bring everyone into that and do something cool. And I think we’ve done that right.

Volume ss3

I like that the game is accessible even to those who have never played a stealth game. I love the genre and if games like these get people into it who might never otherwise play, all the better. It will still offer enough of a challenge to those who have been playing stealth games for years, as well as offering an interesting story and some cool characters, as is the hallmark of his games.

We don’t have long to wait. Volume will be coming to PC and PS4 18 August. While Mike played coy about future platform releases, I think gamers on other devices can rest assured – he likes bringing his games to wherever people play, and I’m fairly confident that it will also be coming to Xbox One and maybe even handheld and mobile platforms down the line.

Last Updated: June 25, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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