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. …
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.
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
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
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. …
If I had to choose one game from the Rezzed event as my Game of the Show, it would go to Beatbuddy without a doubt. I suppose that Sir You are Being Hunted might have rivalled it, but I didn’t get to play the quintessentially English game. Beatbuddy though was something else. …
It is pretty safe to say that I have quite enjoyed Don’t Starve, the survival game which I’ve really been getting my teeth into. Hell, I even a little video about. I decided to find someone to talk to at developer’s Klei Entertainment. I was able to pose ten questions to one of the team at Klei, Kevin Forbes. Hit the jump to find out what Kevin makes of comparisons with Minecraft and Terraria and the forthcoming Caves update for Don’t Starve. …
Before the recent explosion in turn-based strategies, people would have laughed at the idea of releasing a game in which people take turns at moving. Asynchronous movement was a dated idea, back from when computers couldn’t cope with large scale AI calculations, having no place in modern gaming.