Courtesy of Newcore Games

The Devil Within: Satgat is a Metroidvania with fighting game inspiration 

Mike Williams |
July 19, 2023
Manze Lee, the Director and CEO of Newcore Games, is the driving force behind the upcoming action-platformer The Devil Within: Satgat. With a strong background in the gaming industry and a proven track record of success, Manze leads the company's creative direction, ensuring innovative and captivating gameplay experiences for players eagerly awaiting the launch of The Devil Within: Satgat.
At the center of a ruined world sits The Ebon Sting, a dark tower of unknown origin. The tower is the focus of The Devil Within: Satgat, a 2.5D action-adventure game from Newcore Games. The game merges pulse-pounding and precise combat with a large, interconnected world to explore. As Royal Guard Kim Rip, players will cut through demonic hordes, taking their mystical powers as his own. And with his newfound abilities, you’ll discover the secrets of The Ebon Sting.

Newcore Games combines combat drawn from classic fighting games, with Kim Rip dodging, parrying, and using timed strikes to rack up maximum damage. In-between the pitched battles, players will also be guided through a linear narrative before the environment opens up for further exploration.

Following the release of its first mobile game, I Am Zombie, Newcore Games is bringing all its expertise to bear on developing The Devil Within: Satgat. Inspired by classic “Metroidvania” games, an Epic MegaGrant also helps the team move its vision toward reality. We spoke with Newcore Games CEO Manze Lee about building the world of The Devil Within: Satgat, fine-tuning its sword fighting combat, and moving the game to Unreal Engine 5.
 

Can you explain what type of game The Devil Within: Satgat is?

Manze Lee, Director and CEO:
The Devil Within: Satgat is an upcoming action-platformer that follows the journey of Kim Rip, a Royal Guard who is looking to uncover the mysteries of a now-desolate world. The game features an array of advanced offensive/defensive/mobility abilities, precise controls, and a story that will be sure to keep players immersed in the game.

Newcore Games’ debut title was the action roguelike mobile game I Am Zombie. Why was a stylish 2D action adventure like The Devil Within: Satgat the right game for the studio’s second title?

Lee:
We discussed and focused on time, budget, and our favorite games when we kicked off this project. To make the project the most enjoyable experience within a relatively modest budget but with high quality, we determined that a single-player, side-scrolling game would be suitable. Moreover, our developers from the same generation were greatly influenced by games like Castlevania. We believed that a platformer and side-scroller aligned well with our understanding and expertise, making The Devil Within: Satgat a great fit for us.

What other games or media inspired The Devil Within: Satgat?

Lee:
I am a big fan of action games. I enjoy almost every action game, but among them, I am especially drawn to games that have sword fighting. A lot of inspiration comes from games like Capcom's Onimusha series, FromSoftware's Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and also Katana ZERO. With inspiration being drawn from a lot of games and a great deal of effort, we have aimed to create our own unique swordplay action in The Devil Within: Satgat.
Courtesy of Newcore Games
The playable lead is Royal Guard Kim Rip. How did the team land on his distinctive look and the design of the rest of the supporting cast?

Lee:
Our internal design team created the appearance of all our characters. In the early stages of the project, we initially aimed to depict a historical era, but in order to achieve a more eye-catching design, we combined traditional costumes with futuristic elements, resulting in the current character designs. This allowed us to create our own unique and distinctive characters.

The enemies in The Devil Within: Satgat are a mix of magical and mechanical aspects. Can you talk about bringing together this combination for the enemy design?

Lee:
This combination naturally came together during the development process. As we ventured beyond the historical theme, we gained a significant level of freedom in the setting, allowing our development team to unleash their limitless imagination and creativity. As a result, we were able to design a wide range of dynamic and captivating gameplay mechanics, which greatly enhanced the overall gaming experience.

The Devil Within: Satgat has a vast, interconnected world. Can you talk about designing a world that is cohesive, but also interesting from a gameplay perspective?

Lee:
The initial design of our world followed the traditional "Metroidvania" approach, where the entire world is open for exploration. However, as we analyzed the games in this genre that have been released, we noticed that many players were becoming somewhat fatigued with the traditional approach.

Therefore, we approached it from a slightly different perspective and devised a way to alleviate early-game fatigue and allow players to easily settle into our world. We introduced a method where players would follow a predetermined path through a portion of the world in the early stages of the game, and then gradually increase the freedom once immersion is established.
 
Courtesy of Newcore Games

Does The Devil Within: Satgat’s combat system take inspiration from traditional fighting games?

Lee:
Yes, there is certainly an influence. In South Korea, where we live, there are very few developers who have experience creating action games. To create the depth and intricacy in the action that players will experience in our game, we extensively analyzed various fighting games. Through this process, we discovered many details that were hard to find before we started creating our own game. Most importantly, we gained valuable knowledge and expertise specific to our development studio.

Can you talk more about the Concentration Counter system and how it works?

Lee:
The Concentrated Counterattack System was designed with the purpose of providing players with a moment to catch their breath and assess the situation during intense battles. Concentration cannot be activated at any time; it requires the player to be fully immersed in the game—blocking or dodging enemy attacks with precise timing—triggering a state of concentration for the player's character as well.

While the initial display of Concentration actions may appear less flashy and lack the power to turn the tide of the battle, it is meant to be a stepping-stone toward learning "Hyper Concentration" in the future. We hope you look forward to the future reveal of this advanced feature.
Courtesy of Newcore Games
Are there any interesting Arch Devil abilities you’d like to highlight?

Lee:
Yes! Kim Rip gains many abilities throughout the game by harnessing the power of the devils that he faces off against. However, without spoiling too much, at some point, Kim Rip is able to freely travel between the human world and the netherworld.

Development on The Devil Within: Satgat began with just five developers in 2021, but the team has grown since. What has the studio learned in the process of developing the game?

Lee:
Our team started with a clear focus on creating precise, yet responsive controls, action-packed gameplay, and high-quality visuals. We faced many trial-and-error moments along the way and went through challenging times to recruit developers who were the right fit for the project. However, through the demanding process of staying true to our high aspirations, we gained the belief that we can achieve great results as long as we don't lose sight of our goals. Above all, the exhilarating experiences we felt while moving forward step by step with all our team members will become cherished memories that we will never forget.

How did receiving an Epic MegaGrant help the studio in the development of The Devil Within: Satgat?

Lee:
The most important things in making a game are passion and skills, but without funding, we wouldn't be able to progress at all. The Epic MegaGrant provided us with significant financial support during the early stages and being selected for it made our team stand out. We are grateful to Epic in many ways.
Courtesy of Newcore Games
Why was Unreal Engine the right choice for The Devil Within: Satgat?

Lee:
Due to its impressive and advanced technology, Unreal Engine was a suitable choice for our team. Throughout the process of conceptualizing and developing our ideas, Unreal Engine made almost every implementation easily achievable.

Newcore Games is planning to move The Devil Within: Satgat from Unreal Engine 4 to Unreal Engine 5. Why is the latest version of Unreal Engine enticing for the team?

Lee:
By transitioning to Unreal Engine 5, we anticipate improved productivity by utilizing the newly included development tools. Additionally, we look forward to a more optimized environment for client performance and the potential for transitioning to various platforms.

What are the team’s thoughts on Unreal Engine 5?

Lee:
While some new features like Nanite may be challenging to incorporate or are not within our current plans, we have high expectations for the capabilities of features like Lumen and MetaHuman. They will enable us to create games of higher quality and we anticipate that the improved animation-related features will enhance our workflow, making it more convenient and efficient.
 
Courtesy of Newcore Games

Were there any Unreal Engine tools that were helpful in developing this title?

Lee:
Unreal Animation Editor and System were the most helpful tools for us. As an action game, animations played a crucial role, and being able to set custom notifies in animations allowed us to handle a significant portion of game actions and combat systems. Unreal's powerful Profiler has also been instrumental in optimizing the game.

What tips do you have for other indie developers or aspiring game developers?

Lee:
I deeply respect all the developers who create remarkable and astonishing worlds. I hope that many indie developers, both current and aspiring developers, create amazing games in the coming days ahead!

Thanks for your time, where can people learn more about The Devil Within: Satgat?

Lee:
To learn more about The Devil Within: Satgat, head over to our Steam page and wishlist now to stay up to date with all of the latest news! People can also follow our social media channels on Twitter and Facebook. They can also join in conversations with us on our Discord. All links can be found on our website, as well.

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