April 11, 2012 5:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome
Vince Twelve of xii games, the developer of such indie adventuring gems as What Linus Bruckman Sees When His Eyes Are Closed, has teamed with Wadjet Eye Games in an effort to publish the very promising and deeply sci-fi Resonance point-and-click adventure. What follows is an interview with said Vince; an interview that will most definitely enlighten you:
So, after spending five years in development, Resonance is about to get released. Excited?
It's been nearly six (!) years since I started writing the design document, so yes, of course! But also really nervous. This game has been with me almost as long as my daughter. I'm going to have some major empty-nest syndrome.
Granted the game seems pretty huge, detailed and richly animated, but why five years? Did you keep developing Resonance throughout that period?
When I started making the game, I was teaching English in Japan which meant I spent 70% of the work day sitting at my desk with nothing but free time. I finished several freeware games in that free time! So, I decided to start work on a rather ambitious commercial game. Things got busier with my wife and new daughter. We moved halfway around the world to the US. I got a new full-time job that didn't afford me the same free time. We had another kid. We moved three more times... So, it's been a busy couple of years for me!
Through all of that, though, I was working on Resonance. It's just that as the responsibilities piled up and my free time was whittled away, the speed of production slowed to a crawl. For the last two years, I've pretty much just been working on Res between the hours of 10PM and 1AM after the kids and wife are in bed, and then getting up at 6AM to go to work.
I should also point out that the whole team (none of whom I've actually met in real life!) put in countless hours of painting, spriting, and composing during those six years, and stuck with me even during the long stretches when progress seemed to be moving at a crawl. The number of character animations in this game is truly staggering.
And now we've got a really great game to show for those years of hard work!
How close are you to actually finishing the game? When should we expect its release?
I can't name an exact release date because we haven't locked it down yet. But we're looking at the end of May. The game is fully playable start-to-finish, but there's still a lot of dialog tweaking, voice recording, bug fixing, and polish flying around.
How would you describe Resonance? What makes it unique?
Resonance is a point-and-click adventure game featuring several evolutionary gameplay mechanics and concepts that I think will make it stand out from other games in the genre. Features like: the long and short-term memory systems, tactile interaction segments, and the ability to rewind and retry actions. All of this interwoven with a dark, complex, and mature story line and beautiful low-res graphics!
Care to describe those very interesting long- and short-term memory mechanics?
The long-term memory is a collection of the character's memories that fills up over the course of the game. It is used to help you remember plot points, to flesh out characters' pasts, and in some devious puzzles where you have to bring up past events in dialog.
The short-term memory inventory allows you to use literally anything you see in the game in a conversation with any character. So, instead of just trying all the dialog options provided to you by the designer, you have to think logically about what you need to talk to this character about, add that item to your short-term memory, and then bring it up in conversation. Instead of three or four dialog options, there are now essentially over three hundred.
And you've written a very detailed and involved plot...
Yes! It's a twisty sci-fi mystery plot that has you taking control of four characters, learning about their secrets and mysterious pasts, and seeking out a hidden vault containing a terrible new technology!
I wanted to write a complex plot that isn't afraid to dip its toes into taboo topics or take hard turns in unexpected ways. I'm pretty excited to turn it loose on players!
It also seems you've tried to create a truly big and taxing adventure. Aren't you afraid of being labeled old-fashioned?
It is big! It takes me six hours to run straight through knowing exactly what to do and skipping most of the dialog! And it's definitely harder than a lot of modern adventure games. But it's still not nearly as punishing as some classic titles. (The ability to rewind the game helps with that!)
Labels don't worry me too much. And despite the retro graphics, there are enough new ideas or fresh takes on old ideas to make Resonance a new experience for any player!
You've also teamed up with indie developer/publisher Wadjet Eye Games. Why? What did Wadjet Eye bring to Resonance?
Most obviously? Speed. Without Wadjet Eye, I'd still be toiling away 10 to 15 hours a week with the never-changing release date of "next year, surely." Janet Gilbert joined the team nine months ago and kicked production into high-gear.
And both Dave and Janet of Wadjet Eye have provided invaluable feedback and assistance at smoothing out some of the rough edges, editing and writing dialog, and of course, recording the voice acting.
Finally, do you feel that adventure gaming is making a comeback?
I don't think it was ever gone. Anyone who loves adventure games has always had them available, whether from the handful of high-quality professional titles each year or from the deluge of amateur and hobbyist releases. Every once and a while, they break into the mainstream (TellTale nabbing several high-profile IPs, DoubleFine's kickstarter), but there have always been adventure games for those looking for them.
Also Resonance. Buy Resonance.