House of Tales, food for thought in "Overclocked"

Τρίτη, 08 Φεβρουαρίου 2005, Συντάκτης Elessar, Fallen Angel

House of Tales, food for thought in "Overclocked"

First of all, we would like to thank you on behalf of the Adventure Advocate team and the Greek adventure community for accepting to do this interview. Now, would you like to introduce yourself and House of Tales to the Greek adventure community?

Hello everybody. My name is Martin Gantefohr and I co-founded House of Tales Entertainment GmbH in 1996 together with Tobias Schachte. Since then I am work as Creative Director at House of Tales.

We know that you are currently engaged in the development of Overclocked, "a disturbing 3rd-person-thriller, combining the subjects of war psychology and war simulation research, focusing on the concept of violence and the different ways of dealing with it" as you have announced. WOW! What else can you tell us about it?

Well, OVERCLOCKED is as you already mentioned a 3rd person thriller, which deals with one of the most gripping and important themes of mankind: violence. The game deals not only with what makes people get violent but also different ways of dealing with violence and its impact on people.

In Overclocked gamers slip into the role of a psychiatrist, whose task is to explore the minds of several young people. Would you like to tell us a little bit more about the story?

Actually I am not allowed to tell you all the secrets of the story, of course ;)

OVERCLOCKED uses a very interesting kind of storytelling, which means that gamers start to play at the end of the game and get more and more information by exploring the story backwards. In the beginning the Psychiatrist, whose name is Dave McNamara by the way, is asked to deal with five young people, who obviously have experienced something strange. What this is and what McNamara finds out about them, is one thing you have to find out while playing OVERCLOCKED.

Overclocked is your 3rd game in 5 years. Do you think that a developer has to plan and develop each and every game with diligence -no matter how long it takes- and not be rushed into publications, cashing in any probable success they may have?

Yes, that is exactly what I think ;) You made a good point there. The fact is, of course, that there may be some financial interests, that need to be considered. E.g. the point of time, when a game should be released. But on the other hand I think, that gamers have the right to buy a product which is not only developed with diligence but also runs on as many personal computers as possible, has a good story, good gameplay and so on. Naturally it takes quite some time, until such a game is invented, developed and published.

For OVERCLOCKED for example, I wrote a Style Book which contains more than 600 sites.

Looking back at your most successful creation so far, the Moment of Silence, do you feel that you should have done it different in any aspect or you are fully satisfied with the result?

I think one shoud never be fully satisfied with a piece of work or a game, because then you tend to fall into stagnancy and will never get better. That is also a very exciting thing, you get so much feedback by the gaming community, that you have the chance to change those things, which they ask you. That is really great, because you can develop things that people need and want and by this make a game which is even better and hopefully played by lots of people.

The Moment of Silence definitely has the feel of a profound thriller. When creating such games what are the biggest challenges one faces?

Well, the biggest challenge is in fact to create a good story, which is logical and consistent. Something new, of course, and a theme which has a little depth and a message for the player. Adding a good gameplay and reasonable puzzles should create an overall impression and such an atmosphere, that gamers can really get into the story and can immerge into another world and forget everything around them. If your adventure game can do that to gamers , you can be sure you have done a good job.

Social control, the concept of violence... some mature topics indeed! Unfortunately, nowadays it is not common for adventures to deal with such social and political issues. What was the impulse to get off the lineup and offer gamers some food for thought besides entertainment? And are you planning on using some more mature topics in your future developments?

Yes, sure. But that is not something which is really planned by us. Usually our stories just "happen". I like good stories and when I stroll around sometimes, see or hear something than an idea slips into my mind which seems to be a good start for a new story or game. Then I start to do some research, start to develop the story. And because of the fact, that I`m interested in many different things, a lot of good ideas lead to a complex basis for a new game.

Many believe that the strength of adventures lies in their story. Even if the gameplay is familiar, a unique story has always something new to offer. Is this one of your tenets?

Yes, as I said before, I think a good and of course logical story is very very important for a good adventure game. I does not make sense at all to have a great control system and super innovative puzzles if those can/t catch up with the story. That/s the reason why we, while developing an adventure game, sit down first and write a real screenplay. Besides with increasing technical possibilities adventure games get more and more realistic. Sometimes one even gets the impression of watching a film, or better beeing part of this film. If the story does not fit in this case or is incosistent you risk that people get disappointed and that is of course something, we really want to avoid.

From Mystery of the Druids to Moment of Silence you have improved a great deal, taking into consideration any negative comments from the fans. Something that shows us that you actually care enough to try and get better with every new project you release. But how would you define the interaction between you and people buying your games? What are you actually more interested in: comments and suggestions made by fans or the ones coming from the press -even if they are sometimes unfair.

We are interested in every comment and every suggestion, no matter where they come from ;)

Well, to be honest, I think you should never loose the focus on the question for whom we develop adventure games. And that is, of course the community. This is one of the reasons, why we operate a forum at our website [url=]House of Tales[/url]. Not only German fans but also English speaking people can get answers to their questions and will find help when they get stuck in a game or have hard- or software problems. With this direct contact we have the opportunity to find out, what people want to play and what they request.

The new trend in adventures games demands full 3D environments and at the same time some allege that point and click has died long ago. How do you comment on that?

Must I? Well, I' d rather not comment on that, but as you are asking so kindly... ;) I think this question has no such answer as "Yes" or "No". Every game requires a different look and feel and for this environment and controlling has to be developed individually. So there is no "right" or "wrong", but rather a "fitting" or "non-fitting" equipment of a game.

Which of the latest adventures you liked so much that you would have wanted to have developed it yourselves?


Thank you for your time. We really hope to see many more adventures from you in the future since we believe that games should not only be fun to play! ;-)

My pleasure. Maybe you could explain the last line to me one time or another ;)

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