September 15, 2014 4:00 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome
Francisco Gonzalez, the adventure developer also known as Grundislav Games and creator of the classic Ben Jordan Paranormal Investigator series, has teamed up with Wadjet Eye Games of Gemini Rue and Blackwell fame, to produce a unique point-and-click adventure: A Golden Wake. A wonderfully illustrated game set in the cutthroat real state world of 1920s Miami.
A Golden Wake, which can already be pre-ordered (for a free copy of the official soundtrack) and will launch on the 9th of October on Windows, Mac and Linux, besides sporting a unique setting is also the first graphical adventure game to ever care about the City Beautiful. And the inception of Miami's Coral Gables.
Not unlike Fitzegerald's take on the era, A Golden Wake is all about glitz, promise and a wild and actually horrible kind of naivete that tries to ignore the signs of the Great Depression and simply have fun while getting rich.
Having already played most of the preview version of the game and hence through most of the game, I must admit it really handles its plot and historical references impressively, while simultaneously remaining a masterfully crafted and actually great adventure game. One with a fantastic soundtrack and some meticuolously pixelated graphics too.
Instead of telling you more about my adventures trying to help Alfie Banks attempts at making it big or his run-ins with corrupt politicians and bootleggers though, I though I'd have Francisco answer a few questions. Here they are, then:
Francisco, you've been making incredibly popular freeware adventure games for many years now. What made you decide to attempt your first commercial project?
Thank you for the kind words. I've really enjoyed making games over the past 10+ years, and had thought about going commercial for some time, but was committed to finishing the Ben Jordan series. A lot of people suggested making the last game commercial or bundling the series and selling it, but that never struck me as a particularly good or profitable idea. I knew that once I was done with Ben Jordan, I could attempt something commercial, since Dave Gilbert had told me he'd love to work together and publish something, it was just a matter of finding the right idea. Luckily, the idea came in the form of A Golden Wake.
And how has freeware development been different to working on a commercial release like Golden Wake?
Freeware development allows for a lot more compromises and cutting corners than a commercial game. If people are paying for something, there are certain standards that must be met. I've had to let go of my "screw it, it's freeware" mentality and really push myself as far as art goes, for one. Also, if you're working on a commercial release, there's the pressure to complete it in a timely manner.
How was working with Wadjet Eye Games?
It was awful. Dave is a ruthless boss who would whip me daily if I didn't do my work.
Seriously, it's been great. I've known and been friends with Dave since 2004, so being published by his company was really an honor and a pleasure. The bulk of the actual work we did together was the voice recording process, which was a lot of fun. Since I moved to New York last year, I was able to be present for the recording sessions, which was very interesting. I had never directed actors in person before, and I was able to see the process and gain an understanding of it that I didn't have previously.
What would you say makes Golden Wake a unique adventure game?
The setting is one that isn't seen too often in adventure games, and the fact that it's based on real history. Also that the protagonist is a real estate agent, and isn't out to save the world or get the girl. Instead, the story is about his struggle trying to make a name for himself and the consequences of giving in to temptation and being corrupted by the crime world. I don't think the whole "rise and fall/man vs himself" archetype has been explored very much in games.
How did you decide on the setting and characters?
Having grown up in Miami, I was always interested in its history. I wanted to make a game that really showcased that, much like how the Blackwell games showed off New York and its history. I began doing research in around 2009, and once I saw just how interesting the 1920s Land Boom was, I figured a great story for a game could come from that. I had the idea in my head for a couple of years, then finally sat down and wrote it out. It took a few tweaks, but in then end I settled on a story that I was pleased with. As for the characters, a lot of them are real people from that time, so including them was fun, but also challenging because I wanted to represent them in a faithful way while also having enough artistic liberty to allow them to fit into the story.
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