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Interviews

Five for Five – Odyssey Q&A

Five for Five – Odyssey Q&A

Welcome to the second week of our Five for Five feature. This week, we have a Q&A and Kevin is delivering some hands on impressions of Odysseyself-described as “The Next Generation Science Game” by developers, The Young Socratics on their Kickstarter page. Today’s Q&A is with Omkar Deshpande, a co-founder of The Young Socratics and co-creator of Odyssey where he tells us a bit about himself, what Odyssey is all about  and his influences. Expect to see a few Enid Blyton references appear. We hope you enjoy this Q&A, and check back later this week for Kevin’s impressions of the demo build.

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Q&A With Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester

Q&A With Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester

After I recently took a look at the Art of War expansion for Europa Universalis IV and revisited Knights of Pen and Paper, I thought about when we last spoke with someone from Paradox. That someone was Paradox Interactive CEO Fredrik Wester who we spoke with back in June 2011. I came up with some questions for Fredrik about Paradox, Pillars of Eternity and their work with Sony on Magicka 2. Hit the break to check out the Q&A.

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Trains, Planes and Fishing Reels – The Dovetail Games Interview

Trains, Planes and Fishing Reels – The Dovetail Games Interview

I’ve touched on the upcoming work from Dovetail Games a few times in recent months as they transition towards releasing Train Simulator 2015, establishing links with Microsoft and their flight simulator games while also spreading their wings into the fishing game scene. It has been a big change in focus for a company who used to hone in solely on the Train Simulator franchise, and I wanted to find out more about what was going on. I was able to have a chat with Doug McConkey, the brand director at Dovetail Games, about the new games and the change in focus of the company. Hit the break to find out more.

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Brothers In Arms – An Interview With Fictiorama Studios

Brothers In Arms – An Interview With Fictiorama Studios

If you haven’t heard of Fictiorama Studios yet then I don’t blame you. They are a very discreet and hard working literal band of brothers based in Madrid, who’s debut adventure game Dead Synchronicity has just been successfully funded via Kickstarter. If you’ve played their already released demo (found here) you’ll notice a unique art style coupled with an old school adventure feel and a dark, gritty and modernised story.

Delving deeper into their official website things start getting interesting. It’s here where you’ll find their developer blog, portions of which dissect a whole range of classic and modern adventure games, bullet pointing the best bits and showing where some of the inspiration for their development of Dead Synchronicity has come from. On top of this the site also reveals that Kovalski, the band behind all of Dead Synchronicity’s music contains two of the very same brothers from Fictiorama. The passion behind this small team is almost immeasurable and I recently had some of their drive directed my way when I was lucky enough to ask them a few questions.

Kevin McLennan – Some of our readers might not have heard of you, is this your first game?

Fictiorama Studios – Yes, this is our first game! Some of the members of Fictiorama have previously worked in video games and iOS apps, and others come from different artistic areas (music and media). We are really excited!

Kevin – So where does the name Fictiorama Studios come from?

Fictiorama – Our goal was to get a name for the studio that sounded like entertainment and fantasy. So we started with “fiction”, and then the Greek suffix “horama”, which means “view” (such as in “cinerama”, the spectacular 3-cameras process from the 70’s). In fact, “Fictiorama” reminds us of some mysterious storytelling device you turn to when you are in need of amusement. We really like it!

Kevin – Give us a run down of what Dead Synchronicity is all about.

Fictiorama – Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow comes Today is the first instalment of the Dead Synchronicity series, a 2D point and click graphic adventure game featuring “old school” mechanics and a mature, bloodstained plot.

The game takes place in a world that has been devastated by “The Great Wave”, an inexplicable chain of natural disasters. Besides, there’s a pandemic spreading all over the world: the “dissolved” illness that, although gives sick people strange cognitive powers… finally kills them, dissolving them into blood.

Michael, the main character, wakes up to this merry “New World” after having been in a kind of a coma that has wiped his memory. He must try to recover his identity, find the origin of “the Great Wave” and a cure for the “dissolved” pandemic, as both things seem to be connected.

And he’d better hurry, if he wants to avoid the impending moment of “dead synchronicity”, when Time itself dissolves…

Kevin – Where do the ideas and inspiration behind Dead Synchronicity come from?

Fictiorama – The idea for the Dead Synchronicity saga came from Alberto, our writer. On the one hand, he was influenced by books like “Synchronicity” by F. David Peat; or by movies like “12 monkeys” by Terry Gilliam, or the short cult film “La Jéttee” by Chris Marker, that inspired Gilliam’s film. We are as well really keen on the 70’s Italian giallo films, the terror and action movies from the 70’s and 80’s…

On the other hand, we love dark, psychological plots, like those in works by Joseph Conrad or Andrei Tarkovski. In fact, one of our biggest influences is Cormac McCarthys “The Road”: we really like the depiction of the post-apocalyptic scenario, since it is is used as a metaphor both for the “physical” degradation of the world… and for the “moral” degradation of the new society.

Regarding mechanics, our biggest influences are the classic point and click adventures by Lucasarts… though featuring a mature twist; games like I have no mouth and I must scream or The Cat Lady are clear references for us.

The team at Fictiorama seem surprisingly happy for working in such an enclosed space. It must be Friday.
The team seem surprisingly happy for working in such an enclosed space. It must be Friday.

Kevin – It’s clear that the team at Fictiorama are passionate about creating Dead Synchronicity. As a small indie company have you found it a struggle producing your first game?

Fictiorama – To be honest, the biggest difficulty we have faced is getting funds. In Spain, it’s quite difficult to get funds for such a project like ours. So, we had to fight hard to get the funds we needed to launch the studios and start developing the game.

Of course there are day to day issues a studio has to deal with… that are of bigger importance when you are as tiny as we are. But we all are really engaged to our project, and we deal with them as challenges to overcome (ok, let’s even say “achievements” using gamers jargon).

Kevin – Aside from core gameplay development and mechanics, your four man team also create the unique music and art stylings for Dead Synchonicity. Are you scared to let anyone else have input in your game or are you all naturally artistic and hard working?

Fictiorama – Well, as we work on a budget (we are not a AAA company) we have always tried to keep expenses under control. That’s why we decided we needed to form a multidisciplinary crew: art, music, writing, media, programming… in a tiny team. In fact, thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, we will probably count on a second artist’s collaboration for a few months.

But we really love to have input. In fact, from the very beginning we have been sharing with the community the progress of Dead Synchronicity: the music, the art, our influences… Some great ideas come from that feedback all the time!

Kevin – You recently funded a successful Kickstarter campaign. What does this injection of money mean for the company and the game?

Fictiorama – The funds we got on Kickstarter will allow us to finish the game! We initially had some funds to launch the company, to start the project… but we needed some extra funds to finish the game. So, it essentially means we can now release Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow comes Today!

Kevin – Is there an estimated release date for the game?

Our goal is to release PC & Mac versions in December 2014 and the Linux and iPad versions in 2015. Fingers crossed!

The Reticule would like to thank the team at Fictiorama Studios for taking the time to answer our many questions.

Jon Rissik on Railsimulator’s transition to Dovetail Games

Jon Rissik on Railsimulator’s transition to Dovetail Games

I brought word the other day that the developers of Train Simulator had undergone a transformation. They were no longer Railsimulator.com focused on the Train Sim franchise as the company had transitioned to become Dovetail Games with a broader simulation remit. You can find more details after the break where I speak to Jon Rissik, VP Brand & Acquisition at Dovetail Games.

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Kodu: Microsoft’s Tool for Schools – An Interview with Stuart Ball

Kodu: Microsoft’s Tool for Schools – An Interview with Stuart Ball

The summer, does anyone remember that time of the year? A time when it was warm and the sun lit up the world past half-four in the afternoon? I do, and I have located an interview I did at the Wales Games Conference which took place back in June. There was a stand for Kodu, a product from Microsoft Research which is in effect the forerunner to Project SPARK. I had the chance to speak to Stuart Ball from Microsoft Partners in Learning about what Kodu is, how Microsoft is helping with IT education in Britain and more. Hit the jump if you wish to find out more.

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Train Simulator – Interview with Simon Saunston

Train Simulator – Interview with Simon Saunston

Regular readers of the site will know that I am a big fan of Euro Truck Simulator 2 which surely ranks alongside Farming Simulator and Train Simulator as one of the hits of the simulation game genre. With the new Train Simulator title coming out later this month, the 26th to be exact, I thought it was the ideal time to find out more. My hunt led me to Simon Saunston of developers RailSimulator.com. Simon is brand manager at the company and was perfectly placed to answer my questions about what to expect in the new game, resolve my concerns over the amount of DLC with his titles and more. Hit the break and enter the world of trains.

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Gun Monkeys Gives Away Steam Keys – Dan Marshall Talks

Gun Monkeys Gives Away Steam Keys – Dan Marshall Talks

When I delivered my Verdict on Gun Monkeys, one of the things I brought up was the general quietness on the servers with it being difficult to find people to play against. To help combat this, creator Dan Marshall has released an update which gives away keys to those sitting on an empty server to share with their friends. I grabbed hold of Dan and asked him some questions about this new approach, and Gun Monkeys in general.

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The Cliff Harris Interview

The Cliff Harris Interview

I’ve only ever done a handful of face-to-face interviews in my adventures here on The Reticule and most of them have gone ok, but certainly not great. At the Rezzed show in June I was taking a peak at the Democracy 3 and Redshirt stand and happened to see a face I recognised from Twitter and his blog, it was Cliff Harris, the man behind Positech Interactive.

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Meet The Surgeons – We Share A Few Words With Bossa Studios, Creators of Surgeon Simulator 2013

Meet The Surgeons – We Share A Few Words With Bossa Studios, Creators of Surgeon Simulator 2013

At this years Rezzed, Chris and I were lucky enough to grab a few minutes with James Broadley and Luke Williams, a couple of the minds responsible for the absurd and delightful Surgeon Simulator 2013. Momentarily taking a break from saving lives, they were happy enough to answer a few questions from us.

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Interview With Matt Kempke, Author Of ‘The Night Of The Rabbit’

Interview With Matt Kempke, Author Of ‘The Night Of The Rabbit’

Daedalic Entertainment have been producing distinctive and high quality adventure games since their first production in 2008. Titles such as Deponia, The Whispered World and Dark Eye: The Chains of Satinav have been praised by critics for their imaginative stories, strong characters and well developed worlds. Daedalic’s latest game, The Night of the Rabbit is no different and you can read my full thoughts in the Verdict I wrote earlier in the month.

Magically I have managed to corner Matt Kempke, author of The Night of the Rabbit and have convinced him to answer a few of my questions about the game and his thoughts on future projects. Matt is no stranger when it comes to making games and has written and created his own in the past, most notably What Makes You Tick: A Stitch In Time.

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