ANVIL is an upcoming multiplayer co-op top-down sci-fi roguelike action shooter currently in development by Action Square. You work for the Ancient Vault Investigation Lab (ANVIL) and take on the role of a Breaker in search of alien artifacts called Vaults, fighting against monsters and powerful bosses. Each galaxy consists of random planets and unique boss monsters. By defeating monsters and opening the Vaults, you will be able to utilise the stunning powers within. ANVIL is aiming to release Early Access later in 2021 and I was able to interview Action Square recently after they ran a free demo of the game as part of Steam’s Next Fest back in June.
What makes ANVIL stand out amongst other isometric action shooters on the market today?
ANVIL brings a synergy to the experience with the various Breakers that makes multiplayer much more diverse and exciting. There are a wide variety of Breakers available for players to use, each falling into one of three different class types – Shooter, Fighter or Technician. The Breakers bring their own unique skills and weapons to battle, so choices matter as you form your team.
ANVIL also delivers roguelike gameplay, meaning that each run is different than the last. Each galaxy, or map, consists of five to seven random planets from a pool of over 20 planets. So, you never know where you’ll land. Plus, the potential skill upgrades, relics, weapon drops, and abilities added to each weapon are all random. As much as you want to plan ahead, things can be very different than expected and you’ll have to adapt quickly.
How big is the development team and how long did it take to develop ANVIL to the current build?
We’re a small team of about 30 developers. We began developing the game last May, so it’s been about a year and a half to get us to this point.
Were there any inspirations behind the universe setting of ANVIL?
Though we took inspiration from games like Halo, Destiny Guardians, Warframe and a few others regarding design, we didn’t want to distract from the overall player experience, so we decided not to have an extensive universe setting on purpose.
Can you explain how death and rebirth works?
Anytime your Breaker faces death, you will gain mechanical skills as your Breaker is rebuilt even better than before. You will also collect VP with each run, making you progress in the Season Rank to acquire new Breakers, season points and Krons (the in-game currency) to unlock toy workers.
Plus, in death or after clearing a stage, you’ll have the chance to replicate a relic, which you can use for the next run, further increasing your strength.
How many players can play co-op and is there cross-platform?
The first galaxy, Czrerny, can be run by up to two players, while the second galaxy, Symphonia, can be run by three and a third galaxy, Campanella, can be run by four.
Yes, it is cross platform, supporting both PC and Xbox.
What was the most challenging feature of ANVIL to implement and what was the most rewarding?
Developing the co-op multiplayer aspect was the most difficult. Multiplayer co-op presents many challenges that we must take into consideration such as balance, connection, gameplay and others.
We’re a small team that has been working very hard to make this a great experience for gamers. After our June demo on Steam, we received over 90% positive reviews from players who joined in to play. Seeing so many people enjoy the game we’ve worked so hard on was immensely rewarding.
What’s next for Action Square?
We will continue to develop Anvil further to give more depth to the gameplay and prepare diligently to add more features for our full release after Early Access launches later this year.
Company wise, we have new project based on the IP of the Netflix “Kingdom” series coming up, which we are super excited about.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
As our game title points out, we, the development team, plan to be an anvil. The game will be the hot iron. It is up to the players to serve as the hammer that molds the game into something wonderful. For that, we will strive to continually communicate with the players to make the game better and better.
Thanks to Wonacott Communications for putting us in touch with Action Square. ANVIL is currently in development aiming to release on Steam Early Access later in 2021 with full release on Steam and consoles in 2022.
Written by: @ChrisJInglis