Jamel Ziaty, Histera Dev and Producer of StickyLock Games Talks Eras, Console Ports, Microtransactions and Early Access Plans (EXCLUSIVE)

Histera's unique take on the shooter genre has arrived into Early Access... are you partaking?

StickyLock Games
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To put it simply, Histera is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking shooters of 2024. Plenty of developers have thought of moving and changing environments, but not a single one has thought of it like this. Featuring different eras, you can traverse the environment taking on various enemies in this 8v8 shooter, and you’ll have heaps of fun doing it, with the weapons, skills, general atmosphere, and more on offer.

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We were lucky enough to speak to Jamel Ziaty, StickyLock Games producer for Histera, and pick his brains regarding this unique approach to breaking into the shooter genre.

[This was a written interview so answers have been edited for clarity and brevity, and also to explain the lack of some follow-ups.]

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First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, especially so close to launch!

No worries, we’re really excited to see what everyone thinks of the game!

For the FandomWire readers who may not be aware of who you are, would you mind explaining that, and also what you do?

My name is Jamel Ziaty and I’m a Producer at StickyLock and the producer of the upcoming free-to-play FPS ‘Histera’.

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Histera is no normal shooter. Image credit: Stickylock Games

And a brief overview of Histera?

Histera is a new FPS set in the far future within a fictional, simulated ‘immersive entertainment experience’. Two teams of 8 players can battle in thrilling combat arenas which change in real-time throughout a match, augmenting the battlefield with weapons and terrain from distinct eras across time.

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The instigator of these changes is the ‘Glitch’ – a hazardous physical anomaly that appears at random points throughout a match and can alter the arena entirely, requiring players to switch up their tactics on the fly to come away victorious.

The core mechanic of Histera is The Glitch. Mind explaining what this is? This is a unique mechanic and definitely a gaming first. How did the idea come about?

The Glitch is a dangerous in-game event that can change the battlefield during a match. Players will need to keep watch for signs of its arrival and switch up their strategies to stay alive. The original Glitch idea came about as a concept from our CEO when we first started on the project. We had portals that either spawned in or were already available on the map that the player could use to transport them to different Eras.

Players can look forward to two additional Eras ‘Peak of the Five Winds’ and ‘Port Libertad’, which will be arriving later in the year, as well as additional characters and weapons throughout Early Access.

When fleshing this idea out, we then landed on the Glitch transforming the entire map. At the time, our biggest design challenge was how to interfere as little as possible with the player’s gameplay and ensure they had as much agency as possible during the Glitch so, after testing the ‘whole map Glitch’ idea, we realized that it wasn’t fully “there” yet so we pivoted to just sections of the map being able to glitch, which then also enabled us to bring in the idea of multiple Eras present in the map at once.

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And regarding the Glitch, how would you suggest players utilize it best? With the different eras available thanks to the Glitch, how does this affect gameplay?

Since arenas in Histera are always changing, we can naturally avoid the issue of specific points on the map being too overpowered or overused. This malleability in the map through the Glitch ensures that the game is great for veteran players, as they can ready themselves for sudden changes, and more accessible to those who have just started playing as playtime and experience don’t necessarily translate to knowledge of a map’s layout as it can always be changing.

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Shooting through the eras of Histera in fine fashion. Image credit: Stickylock Games.

And talking of those eras; how many are there in total, and what are they?

At the Early Access launch, we have three Eras available for players to check out including the prehistoric ‘Pliocene Plateau’, a war-torn 20th-century city Era called ‘Novgorod’, and a futuristic metropolis called ‘Montorro City’. We’ve also just announced two more, ‘Peak of the Five Winds’ and ‘Port Libertad’, which will be arriving later in the year.

Is there any story going on with regard to the Glitch to explain what’s happening, why, etc? Is that something players can search out similarly to Call of Duty: Zombies for example?

Our story is more a backdrop for the gameplay as this is something we wanted to focus on much more but in short, Histera takes place in the far future within a brand-new simulated ‘entertainment experience’. Players are ‘contenders’ within the world who’ve chosen to have this experience, enter the arena, and do battle.

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We still have a lot of ideas for Histera like more game modes and Eras so that’s our main focus at the moment. We also want to look to bring the game to PlayStation and Xbox consoles if Early Access goes well, so stay tuned!

With the eras, does the map itself drastically change? Be on a mountain in the prehistoric era and then fall to the ground as it changes to a WW2 trench, or are they skins of the same environments?

Histera doesn’t feature automatic map generation, so it’s not completely random and there is no re-skinning. There are quite a few variables that players can learn to familiarize themselves within each section of the terrain and arenas are divided into five sections, each of which can transform and be augmented with terrain from any other Era. A specific section of an Era will always be the same layout but also, completely unique when compared to that same section from other Eras.

Similarly, different eras require different weapons. Will these be loadouts, or will the weapons change with the era you’re currently in?

We’ve implemented a ‘flexible loadout system’, so players can choose an array of weapons from any Era, each with its unique strengths and abilities. Once you’ve equipped a loadout, your chosen weapons will remain consistent throughout a match, regardless of the Era you’re currently fighting in.

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The future is never out of reach. Image credit: Stickylock Games.

And if they’re loadouts, does this mean I’ll be able to explore the prehistoric maps with an M1 Garand, or perhaps a future laser weapon, or is there something in place to stop that?

Yes, you’ll be able to explore any Era with any weapon. The only limitation we put on this is the cost of weapons and utilities, which can be purchased using a token system.

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How does the game balance the different weapons? For example, would I not be at a disadvantage including a prehistoric shotgun in my loadout against a semi-automatic machine gun?

We use a few different mechanics like weapon stats (damage, rate of fire, damage drop-off, etc.) combined with the in-game economy (our ‘token’ system) to balance different weapons and ensure no one single weapon or combination feels overpowered.

There are quite a few variables that players can learn to familiarize themselves within each section of the terrain and arenas are divided into five sections, each of which can transform and be augmented with terrain from any other Era.

Is there much, if any character customization involved in the game?

A: We have lots of different skins available for each character and weapon, and even different color patterns so players can tailor their look. Each Era in the game comes with its own cosmetics for players to earn and equip. Players can work towards a variety of skins including common, rare, epic, and legendary types.

And regarding the characters, is this something you’re looking to add to going forward, or would the character skins we have at launch be the only ones?

Histera isn’t a hero shooter so we don’t have an ensemble cast of specific characters but we are looking to release seasonal skins for special events throughout the year and we’ll have more options to announce soon.

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How many different game modes will the game be launching with, and what are they?

A: At the Early Access launch, we have two game modes available including the classic Team Deathmatch and Territory Control modes that arena shooter fans know and love.

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The past isn’t always behind you. Image credit: Stickylock Games.

Should we expect that bright green ‘Steam Deck Verified’ tick on release?

We love the Steam Deck but we’re just focusing on the core launch at the moment. However, if there’s enough feedback from the community during Early Access, it’s definitely something we could look into.

Are there any elements you had to cut? Either for time, inappropriateness, or just not being possible?

Yes, we had to put two technical features on hold but these will be added in our next two upcoming patches. Without spoiling anything, they definitely up the intensity of the gameplay quite significantly.

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Two teams of 8 players can battle in thrilling combat arenas which change in real-time throughout a match, augmenting the battlefield with weapons and terrain from distinct eras across time.

Should Histera fans expect DLC/future support for the game?

We’re now in Early Access so we’ve just revealed our development roadmap. Players can look forward to two additional Eras ‘Peak of the Five Winds’ and ‘Port Libertad’, which will be arriving later in the year, as well as additional characters and weapons throughout Early Access.

Many free-to-play games end up inundated and plagued by microtransactions, which is becoming an increasingly sore topic for gamers these days. Does Histera include MTXs? And how invasive are they?

Yes, Histera does have micro-transactions but these are purely for cosmetic skins and they’re not invasive. It’s up to the player whether they’d like to purchase them or not and they have no bearing on the actual gameplay. There’s no pay to win.

And after Histera has dropped, what’s next for StickyLock Games? New IP, sequel, return to old roots?

We still have a lot of ideas for Histera like more game modes and Eras so that’s our main focus at the moment. We also want to look to bring the game to PlayStation and Xbox consoles if Early Access goes well, so stay tuned!

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Q: Lastly, is there anything you never seem to be asked in these interviews, or something you just desperately want to let our readers know about Histera/the studio’s future?

At this time, we don’t have anything specific we haven’t been asked. We’d just like to ask people to give Histera a try and if you enjoy it and see the potential, please let us know what you think and what you’d like to see going forward! We’ll continue working on improving the game but the most valuable part of Early Access is the feedback from our players.

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Written by Luke Addison

Articles Published: 441

Luke Addison is the Lead Video Game Critic and Gaming Editor. As likely to be caught listening to noughties rock as he is watching the latest blockbuster cinema release, Luke is the quintessential millennial wistfully wishing after a forgotten era of entertainment. Also a diehard Chelsea fan, for his sins.

Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd