Behind the Scenes of Scars Above: Creating the Game and the Quest for the Ultimate Gaming Experience

Scars Above, a game released by Mad Head Games studio in late February 2023, does not leave gamers indifferent. A challenging sci-fi adventure game set in a mysterious alien world that you need to explore.

On this exploratory journey, you will come across numerous unpleasant surprises and opponents that you must overcome with your ingenuity. When you complete all the tasks, eliminate all foes, and finish the game, you will be left with a feeling of satisfaction that urges you to play it again at least once.

Whether Dr. Kate Ward, the protagonist of the game Scars Above, is new Lara Croft, how the alien environment was created and if the similarity with the well-known game Returnal is accidental or intentional, we discussed with Emil Esov, Associate Game Director on the game Scars Above.

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emil esov

Credits: Emil Esov

Mad Head Games is a studio that has come a long way, evolving from an indie, casual games developer to a regional creator of action games for PC and consoles, with offices in Belgrade, Novi Sad, and Sarajevo. Its pioneering pedigree stretches over twelve years and spans 67 games. 

In 2020, Mad Head Games became a proud member of SABER Interactive, a subsidiary of the Embracer Group, meaning they now have a massive battleship on their side, loaded with great IPs and know-how! 

They continue their crusade together, competing for gamer hearts worldwide by developing games in Unreal Engine, with a burning ambition to become the leading AAA developer of the SEE region. 

On that quest, they have paved their way with some exciting projects. Scars Above, their latest title, is a challenging and immersive 3rd-person Sci-Fi shooter set in a mysterious alien world to explore.  

Web Mind: Was Returnal an inspiration or is the similarity purely coincidental? 

Emil Esov: When Returnal was first introduced through the Cinematic Trailer, Scars Above was already well into production. While there are obvious similarities, Returnal wasn’t an inspiration – except in a sense of curiosity that we as gamers investigate every new game that is released and try to analyze it to see what’s good about it. Ultimately, if we look at the dynamics and type of gameplay, Returnal and Scars Above are quite different. 

Web Mind: Where did the idea of an alien environment and fighting with aliens come from? 

Emil Esov: While we were developing the prototypes before Scars Above was actually created, we realized that we wanted to tell a story set in a sci-fi setting. It was a combination of our affinity as a studio, the level of expertise of the entire team, and an attempt to make something different from the things we’ve done before. 

Web Mind: Is Dr. Kate Ward the New Lara Croft? 

Emil Esov: No. And I say that with all due respect to Lara Croft. There are similarities of course, but it was not the idea for Dr. Kate Ward to become the new Lara Croft. 

Web Mind: Who is the game primarily intended for, those who are just entering the world of gaming or more experienced gamers? 

Emil Esov: I would say that anyone can try it, but it is definitely better to be experienced in playing video games. It’s not easy, and mechanically it’s relatively demanding. It requires some basic knowledge of how 3rd person action-adventure games work, what controls they generally have, how the camera works, etc. Someone who picks up a controller for the first time without playing this type of game before can get used to it, but it will take some time. 

Web Mind: You are known as a studio that develops hidden object games. What influenced you to create something completely different from what you have done so far? 

Emil Esov: Scars Above is actually the second game for the core audience that we have made. The previous one was Pagan: Absent Gods, which, although different in genre, was our first foray into the world of core games. Scars Above is just a logical continuation of the fact that as a studio that develops casual games, we want to become developers who create games that we also play in our free time. 

Mad Head Games is also preparing two new, unannounced games in the making, both based on famous and beloved IPs. While they can’t reveal too much just yet, they can promise these titles will push the boundaries of regional game development and generate some serious hype. We are eagerly looking forward to them! 

"Ever tried. Ever failed. Never mind. Try again. Fail better."


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