Immortals Fenyx Rising‘s A New God DLC brought with it hours of new trials that tests players in new, interesting ways. We were given the opportunity to speak with Ubisoft Quebec’s associate game director, Julien Galloudec, to interview him about the new DLC. Galloudec is the creative lead for the game’s DLCs, and he had a lot of fascinating things to say about them.
As a note: this interview covers the post-story content of Immortals Fenyx Rising. If you haven’t finished the game, this is your warning that mild spoilers may lurk below.
PCI: Only the first DLC continues on after the main story. What were the main reasons for this?
Galloudec: The first reason is that in the main game told the story we wanted with Fenyx. We’ve finished a narrative arc and wanted to push a bit further with the first DLC to open new perspectives. The intention with the post-launch of Immortals Fenyx Rising is to expand the universe of this new IP further and in unexpected directions.
But it is still the same universe, so even if it’s not obvious for now, there is still a continuity with the main story. You’ll see!
PCI: What made the team want to focus on new, tougher puzzles for this DLC instead of the more traditional adventure gameplay?
Galloudec: We’ve learned a lot while doing the puzzles for the main game. And we also had some constraints on what we could do because of the player’s progression and overall difficulty level.
So for the post-launch we wanted to push both our creativity and the level of challenge for players. A kind of Endgame mode where we could go a bit crazy and push the limits.
But we wanted more than just a Vault Pack. For us, it was important to also see how Fenyx goes to the next level of her destiny, and it was a perfect fit between that story and our design intentions.
PCI: Were these puzzles made by many of the same designers as the ones in the base game?
Galloudec: Yes! As I said, we wanted to use what we’ve learned, and push it further. So all the Trials are the work of Level Designers who built the Vaults. And it’s not only the Level Designers. The programmers, designers, and artists who created A New God were all working on the main game too.
PCI: Was it difficult coordinating A New God due to it launching less than two months after the base game?
Galloudec: It’s always a tricky task to work on the DLCs as you support the launch of the main game. But it’s also a good way to have a fresh look at what you’ve done, and how to capitalize on the knowledge built while creating the main game.
Immortals Fenyx Rising is a focused experience, and so we wanted to deliver the first DLC not too long after the launch in order to bring new content to players while they were invested in the main game. We have pretty good production processes at Ubisoft Quebec, allowing us to deliver all this content in a relatively smooth way. Well, as smooth as a video game production can go!
PCI: Were there ever plans for players to be able to access A New God through their base save, or was it always going to be started fresh from the menu?
Galloudec: Very early we decided to have it as the “Next Chapter” of Fenyx’s adventure. It wouldn’t have been very interesting to explore a “Post Typhon” Golden Isle, with a hero that is now an immortal.
So we wanted a fresh new start for this new adventure, that can fully acknowledge the events of the main game and move the story forward.
PCI: Having to use specific gear and losing access to potions significantly changes up the combat experience for people who have sunk a ton of hours into the base game. What would you like this more focused, stripped-back experience to convey?
Galloudec: The base idea is that you’re now a god, and if you want to move to the next level, the Pantheon, you have to be challenged as a god.
It’s true for Fenyx, but also for players. You can complete the main game without digging in all the mechanics the game has to offer. And it’s totally fine!
But we see that DLC as the endgame, or the challenge mode. Fenyx has to prove herself as a goddess. And the players have to master the gameplay possibilities of their character. The goal is not just to be challenging, but to have players enjoy a Triple Jump chained with a Dash through Lasers, or the use the Slow-mo shot as you glide through updrafts.
Enjoying the achievement of elevating your skills, and to explore the new options it opens – that is the intention.
PCI: Some of the puzzles in A New God push the logic of Immortals‘ mechanics to their breaking point. What was the most challenging thing about making sure these puzzles were hard but still solvable for most players?
Galloudec: We followed the same philosophy we had for the main game, but push further, and considering a skill level that will go up.
It means that the “best option” to complete a challenge is not that hard, but requires some mastery in the execution, and will go up a bit through the Trial.
But here, finding the “best way” can be a bit less obvious than in the main game. Because there are more options, or because it is based on a more advanced mechanic.
The advice I can give is that if it doesn’t feel right, or if it’s super hard to execute, it’s probably not the best way to do it. And there is no shame in checking for some online tips when you’re stuck – we’ve all been there!
PCI: Did A New God require the voice actors to return to their roles or was the dialogue recorded alongside that of the base game?
Galloudec: That was one of the tricky production constraints indeed, as we had to record with the same actors. Thankfully, we had the session planned until late for the Main, to do retakes and adjustments. So we coordinated everything to take advantage of those last sessions.
PCI: Is there anything the team wanted to put into the DLC that wasn’t able to make it in for time reasons?
Galloudec: You always want to do more! I think the biggest thing we couldn’t fit in is more and bigger hints to all the gods that are missing. But we still have references to them, both narratively and in the palace. And we even have a side quest dedicated to them.
PCI: The DLC features the return of Giant Ball Golf, but with devious twists. Were those puzzles designed by a golf fan?
Galloudec: Internally we call it the Mini-Putt challenge. That Hammer and Boulder combination is one of the best mechanics in the game. There is skill, random physics, creativity… everything to create cool and memorable moments.
PCI: What’s something you wish players to know about upcoming DLCs, if anything?
Galloudec: This first DLC is the one most aligned with the main game. And also the most difficult one. Once again, it’s a bit of the challenge mode of the game.
The next ones will be very different. From the start, we wanted to use the post-launch content to showcase opportunities for this new IP.
Additionally, we wanted to expand the universe and gameplay experience by exploring new worlds while building continuity with the main game.
PCI:A New God takes a lot longer to get through than I was expecting. Are the other two DLCs going to be similar in length?
Galloudec: A New God is the shortest, as it’s mainly focused on Trials and the Palace. You can expect the next ones to be longer and to offer a more diverse experience.
We at PCI offer our thanks to Mr. Galloudec for his thought-provoking answers regarding Immortals Fenyx Rising: A New God. The game and its first DLC are available for purchase on PC via Ubisoft Connect and Epic Games.
This interview has been edited for clarity purposes.