Interview: Elephant Games over System
Voor gewone mensen zoals jij en ik zijn dromen slechts wazige gedachten in ons onderbewustzijn, vage herinneringen die een brug vormen tussen vandaag en morgen. Maar hier niet. Hier wordt elke droom beangstigend echt, elke gebeurtenis gevaarlijk realistisch, elk monster schrikwekkend levendig. Elke nacht wordt een strijd op leven en dood. Welkom in System.
System is een gloednieuwe adventure game die in ontwikkeling is bij het Russische Elephant Games, de developer die onder andere ook RIP: Strike Back en Bloom naar de PC bracht. Het doel van System is eenvoudig: wakker worden. Dat klinkt echter makkelijker dan het is. Zodra je in slaapt valt, bevind je jezelf elke nacht opnieuw in een andere, vijandige omgeving, onbewust gecreëerd door je eigen fantasie. Maar de muren die je ziet zijn ondoordringbaar en als je de puzzels niet tijdig oplost, zal je voor eeuwig in deze droomwereld vastzitten. Designer Yan Shevchenko sprak tegen ons voor het eerst over zijn mysterieus project en onthulde speciaal voor Gameparty de allereerste beelden.
- GPN: Could you introduce yourself and Elephant Games to our readers?
My name is Yan Shevchenko (on the Net known as «Trion»), I have been a game designer here at Elephant Games for almost a year. Our company was founded in 2003 and has two divisions at the moment. One of them (the main body) works on console projects (DS and Wii), the other one, the studio which I lead, focuses on PC game development. Though, you need to notice that my studio is rather an experimental lab for mysterious and unusual projects creation :-).
- GPN: You're working on a new title for PC, called System. In a few lines, what is System about?
Actually, the idea for the project appeared several years ago. The System is a kaleidoscope of the world and situations, everything that the released mind of the modern man can imagine.
To be more exact, the constant fight with the Unconscious. I cannot tell more for now.
- GPN: What kind of genre would you say the game is? How does it separate itself from other games in that genre?
The game genre is a twist of a quest and a 3D action game from the first person view. But in fact the latter one preserves only the control system and bright dynamic scenes, habitual for the players of this genre. This is made for the effect of the full immersion into the game universe. However the basic genre direction is exploring the environment and solving non-standard puzzles. The specific storyline and the atmosphere make this project different from the other games of the same genre.
Actually, this game is a dream simulator (though, a broken one).
- GPN: Who's the main character? What can you tell us about his background and his personality?
The main character of the game is the player him/herself. We gave up the idea of creating the main character image in the game, and this is done on purpose. The player will look at the game world not with the eyes of a soldier or some superman, but with his/her own eyes. It is the player who will decide what to tell in the dialogues and what mistakes to make (at least, it will be the player's mistake, not of the unlucky character). All the other characters in the game are planned to be also unique and colorful. Especially the System itself...
- GPN: In the game, the main character gets stuck in his own dreams in wich he has to fight monsters and solve puzzles. How will this be integrated into the gameplay?
It is important here to understand the basic idea of the project. «What if you mixed dream and reality when you were a kid?» is the question with which the project idea starts. We imagined a person whose life has been different from the others' lives since his childhood. He is either cursed or sick or something else... the dreams for him are reality. And this reality is much more dangerous than ours. Each impression he gets in the real world will reflect in his night dreams. Each night he must find a way to wake up, find a way out of the dream in order not to get stuck there for ages.
The whole gameplay will be divided into two parts. The first one is his home. Always in the evening - «after work» - the player must perform some actions to discover what happens in his world. A phone, a TV-set, an e-mail box and finally…a bed. This is the transfer to the new world. This world can turn out to be absolutely anything, it will surprise by unusual locations, puzzles and some danger...The most important thing affecting the game play is: ANYTHING can happen at ANY moment.
- GPN: How important is the storyline to System? Is it told using cutscenes?
In our project the storyline will be an extremely important part. Everything happening to the player will connect like mosaic gems and join into one picture. Each dream will be unlike the next one, though each will have something in common with it. This will help the player to discover the reasons for the events happening. Roughly, the storyline will combine fixion and mystic elements.
The plot will be presented in the gameplay, i.e. all the storyline script scenes will take place right before the player's eyes. Even more: the player will take an active part in these scenes.
- GPN: How did you come up with the story? Is it based on a book, movie, game or own experiences?
There is no actual base for the project. Everything planned in the project is an original concept of the game world (or worlds, to be more exact). In fact, the System is a mirror of the modern world, allowing to dip the player in everything he saw in the daily life and in the world he could not even imagine before...
- GPN: Are you planning an online multiplayer or any other online features?
No, we do not plan an online mode so far.
-GPN: What do you personally like the most in System?
Most of all I like the absence of the frames for the project creation. It means that any good idea can be realised in this game without doing any damage to it. The player will get in such situations he could never imagine before. The main rule which we use while creating the project is: surprise the player. Always.
- GPN: Have you found a publisher or possible publishers for System?
Currently we have some publishers in mind, but we are still in the search process. So we are looking forward to your offers.
- GPN: Recently, Elphant Games also became an authorized game developer on both Wii and DS. How many games are in development for those platforms? What kind of genre are those?
Right. At present we have three projects in development for NDS and one project for Wii. All of them are twists of several genres.
- GPN: Finally, when is System suspected to be available across Europe?
This is to be discussed yet once we have the publishing deal for it.
- GPN: Well, I hope we won't have any bad dreams about it! Thank you very much for this interview and good luck on all your upcoming titles!
Thanks a lot! Good luck to you too!
Origineel verhaal? Check. Vernieuwende gameplay? Check. Leuke graphics? Check. Alle ingrediënten voor een nieuwe, frisse adventure game zijn alvast aanwezig. Als ze er bij Elephant Games nu ook nog in slagen alles in een vermakelijk geheel samen te gieten, dan zou System wel eens heel wat gamers bijzonder aangenaam kunnen verrassen.
Note: de screens die je hier ziet zijn afkomstig uit de bètaversie en de graphics zijn bijgevolg van lagere kwaliteit dan die van de uiteindelijke game.
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