Track7games, "Theseis"

Δευτέρα, 27 Αυγούστου 2007, Συντάκτης Elessar, Qrious

Track7games, "Theseis"

Let us start with the introductions. Who are we talking with and what is your position in the company?
Dimitris Papadopoulos - Advertising Manager of Theseis, worldwide
Nektarios Xionis - Concept Artist / Script Writer
Kostas Giatilis – Animator / Script Writer
Michael Georgopoulos - Programmer

First of all, let’s say a few things about the company (Track7games). By how many people does it consist of? Who made the big decision to found and finance the whole project? How come you have decided to get involved in games development, especially in Greece –where we have to admit that the market is very small and it has the higher rates of piracy in Europe?

Some members of the team had the initial thought to start making a game. They came up with the idea of an adventure as it is a genre more convenient for small dev teams, plus it has bigot fans. After that the title evolved, grew larger becoming an action-adventure, elements were added and it reached its current form.

The company was founded in order to offer a channel for artists to create the deed they have latent inside them free of barriers. The consequential move was the development of a company in the Games Industry; one that unchains the imagination of people who can create imaginary worlds. We do believe this will awaken other companies towards game development. If such a thing happens, we will be proud, and it will be our pleasure as it is very important for Greece to evolve in all sectors and of course in this sector as well. Let’s not forget that it is our delight, along with the team we are working from Greece, to produce such products for abroad. Almost every day, people send us their resumes in order to enter into this field and we see a great deal of talented people from Greece, who unfortunately are forced to go abroad or change their career path. Our team is full of passion and talent, and I believe that this is what it is needed to develop something like our company. Piracy is indeed large in Greece but we believe that with Theseis many people will buy the game and will not make a copy of it. That’s what we have been told by many fans from various forums and sites, as they think that Greek people should buy the game at least to support Theseis and the company, in order for us to produce many more games like Theseis and place Greece in the Games Industry world map.

Which are your favorite adventures -in recent publications, but older as well?

Splinter Cell: double agent, Broken Sword, Tomb Raider, and Gears of War

You have been working on the game for almost 3 years now if I’m not mistaken. How far into the game are you? Have you come across unexpected difficulties and this took you that long to overcome, or is this delay due to the restricted manpower at hand?

We are working on the game for almost 2 years now and not 3. We are in the final stage before the game’s completion. We need some more months as to run some tests and evaluations.

No, manpower was not an issue for Theseis’ developers.  The team’s manpower has been closed as of November counting 15 people. We have now established a new department, Marketing & Sales, which will help Theseis storm into the market. There has been a change in the game’s story and for that there has been a small delay, but it’s nothing technical.

Let us ask you something rather unimportant that it caught, however, our attention. Your site is only available in English. The game, however, will be in Greek as well. And we congratulate you for that since -commercially speaking- this was not the best of choices, even though it will be appreciated by many. How come you took that decision about the site? Are you being financed by a company abroad which has imposed upon you the English language or maybe you take for granted that whomever tries his/her hands on the game, will definitely know the English language?

The game won’t be in Greek. What you have seen in the trailer was in ancient Greek and it was used to show the past and the true nature of Theseis. Since the game takes place in modern Greece, we will see shops, locations as Monastiraki, and names that will be in Greek. Moreover, we will have Greek subtitles. There is also the possibility of localization in some other languages.

As far as our site is concerned, it is in English as we are trying to communicate the game worldwide, and not only to Greece. In our forum we have some posts written in Greek for Greek people who have problems understanding English.

No, we are not financed by any foreign publisher. We are a self-funded company.

Greece is well known for its piracy percentages in the Games Industry –among others. However, all known protections are being confronted with hard criticism by consumers. What are you going to do as far as this detail is concerned? Are you going to use a copy protection program for your game? Ifyes, whatwouldthatbe?

Asforthis moment we haven’t decided what we are going to do regarding a copy protection program. We all know that what can be locked, can also be cracked. In any case, we want the end-user to play the game with no problems and not to force him/her to pass through a number of steps in order to play our game.

There are not many commercial (and of certain expectations) games that have been developed exclusively by Greeks in the past. ‘Conspiracies’ and ‘1821 The Game’ are the only ones that come into mind right now. Have you contacted their development teams? Have you asked them about the difficulties they’ve confronted or the mistakes they’ve probably made as for you to avoid them? Or have you decided to cut to the chase and solve any problems as/if they appear in the course of development?

No, nothing like this has ever happened.

Let’s move along to the questions we have concerning the game. Would you like to tell us a few words about the characters? Is it a coincidence that the two heroes are of opposite sexes? Should we be expecting a love story to unfold?

Thetwo heroes have lots in common, but have many differences as well. They have grown up together, received the same education, yet they have a different opinion about the world and this is clearly seen into the game. Yes, there is an attraction between them. Pheve and Andronicos are orphans who grew up together up until a certain age. Nothing is coincidental.

Of course we’d like to ask a few things about the story as well. We know already that it is going to take place in modern Athens. Will we be able to recognize any of its locations or is it completely fictional? Moreover, will this secret hidden in the document be connected to popular mystical organizations and conspiracy stories or should we be expecting something different?

The game takes place in Athens and there are other locations like Crete and Delphi. There is no portrayal of Athens as this was not the object and it didn’t even offer something to the game’s story. We were based on Athens as to produce a certain level of plausibility, but we didn’t want to bear with the restrictions you have when representing a location.

No, the secret hidden in the document has nothing to do with common conspiracy stories or mystical organizations. It’s something different. But we can’t answer this question as it is the game’s secret.

How is the title connected to the story? It’s clearly Greek (judging from its spelling), but why have you chosen this term and what is its importance in the game?

We can’t answer that as it is the reason for which you should buy the game and reveal the secret. :-)

You’ve said that the game will be an adventure with extra elements (action elements to be exact), but with no killings or violence. Would you tell us a few things about the gameplay so that we can understand what to expect of it? Will it remind us of Fahrenheit, Dreamfall, arcade games or none of these?

Yes, there will be action sequences. No gunplay, no deaths, but lots of action based on thought (e.g. how could I climb up there? How could I avoid these enemies, pass by them without them noticing?). Theseis can be compared with other great action/adventures that have sold millions of copies. And this is Theseis’ goal. To make the difference in what we define as an action/adventure using new elements. Theseis will have a mix of various games: for example, stealth, action, magic, humor, puzzle solving, 2 playable characters, and a new form of inventory system, which we find to be a pioneer in this genre.

According to what you have told us, at a certain point both characters will acquire magic abilities, which seems to be very interesting. Tellusabit moreaboutthis.

Each character during the game acquires a special magic ability. Gamers will activate this ability whenever feel like it with the use of a shortcut on the keyboard. When Andronicos’ ability (true sight) is active, it provides the gamer with the capacity to see and interact with objects from the ancients’ world. Those objects are invisible under normal circumstances but with the help of true sight they appear in a spectral semi-transparent shape for a limited time period because of the spiritual energy needed for such an act. Pheve, on the other hand, will be able to automatically “decipher” ancient symbols, hieroglyphics and mechanisms by transforming them from obscure elements into playable puzzles. In the course of the game and after the player is familiar to those abilities, he/she will have to combine them so as to solve more complicated puzzles.

And let us advance to the most important aspect of the burning issue: will there be many action sequences? If yes, of what difficulty will they be? Should the decision of transferring the game to X-Box worry us about how it might be drawn away from the adventure genre?

There are many action sequences, but we don’t think they are too difficult. They harmonically alternate in the game and they go with the plot and the narration. Thus we believe that they will not crab the fanatic adventure friends.

As far as the game’s puzzles: what kind of puzzles shall we encounter and of what difficulty level?

There are logical puzzles, mechanical puzzles, dialogue puzzles, magic puzzles and investigating puzzles. That means there is a plethora in that strain. We believe that the magic and mechanical puzzles are the ones to make us stand out of other adventures. Our character moves in a fully 3D environment and combines objects, abilities and his 3D inventory as to solve problems.

A common grouch of adventurers is that today’s games of the genre include simplified and very easy to solve puzzles. What will be Theseis’ difficulty level?

Puzzles represent one of the most important parts of the game, thus special caution has been given as to create innovative puzzles based, however, on plausible situations and logical problems. Puzzles’ difficulty is a delicate matter because puzzles need to be balanced with the action parts of the game. Our goal is to satisfy adventure fans by offering a game with complicated puzzles, but simultaneously to make the game approachable to the larger group of action adventure gamers. The difficulty level will be average even though towards the ending there will be an escalation in the difficulty of the game’s puzzles.

You have mentioned an innovating inventory system. Would you like to tell us a few things on that as well?

Theseisnovelty as far as the inventory is concerned is a special examine mode that allows the player to inspect whichever object in the inventory he/she wishes through a 3D interface. This action takes place in a full screen mode and offers the player the opportunity to examine the object from whichever angle he/she desires to and to combine other objects from the inventory with the selected object in absolute accuracy. The special examine mode is the only part of the game that is being played using a mouse and typical point & click gameplay.

How many gaming hours do you expect Theseis to contain?

It’s impossible to answer this one. We can tell you that the game consists of around 20 levels, but its gameplay depends on each player.

Will you tell us about the graphics engine of the game? From the samples you have made public so far, many people are excited.

The graphics engine has been created 100% by the development team of Theseis.

The engine that our programmers’ group created supports all modern technologies (latest pixel shaders) and because of that it is natural that it stands to standards. This, in combination with the work of our artists, offers to Theseis high quality graphics.

Foreign press is really thrilled with Track7 and Theseis. We have received countless e-mails showing interest in the game and very good comments and articles have been written about Theseis. They are thrilled with our graphics and our new site. We are on a very good track and we are receiving a large response, not only from Greek fans but from abroad as well. And this is the best thing for our game and our company. If you look for the name Theseis or Track7 games in various search engines, you will find countless posts, articles and forums talking about the Greek project.

It is a fact that many will support you just because you represent a Greek attempt in the Gaming Industry. We suppose, however, that this is not enough for you. What would you say makes Theseis stand out from the rest of the games in the market?

We have an interesting plot with mythical creatures, magic, conspiracies and breathtaking graphics. Our gameplay is a hybrid action adventure in which magic and reality tangle for our heroes to surpass certain situations. We believe that the portion between action and adventure and our graphics will make us stand out in our category.

Nowadays, adventurers(among others!) complain about the package in which most games are offered for some years now. This actually is the strongest argument of those who prefer pirate copies to original games. Are you planning to pleasantly surprise us in this area by offering the game in a box set with some extra material perhaps?

There are great chances to offer the game in a box with some little extra that will be relevant to Theseis as to become a collectibleitem, but this depends on our publisher as well.

In which gaming target do you aim as far as age and gaming preferences are concerned?

We want to catch a big slice of the cake, which is aged between 15-49 years old. The reason is because after a lot of research we came to see that this group in particular is one of the biggest. Our game will be appropriate for this age range and we like it better to promote it to those who can afford buying it on their own. And will be able to understand the game’s story. Younger people will still be able to understand it; it’s just not going to be that easy for them to solve certain puzzles.

You still haven’t announced a release date even though you had said that Theseis would be released in ’07. Is this date still valid? If yes, in which quarter of the year should we be expecting its release?

We haven’t concluded into a date, yet. This depends on the publisher. But from our point of view it must be around the end of 2007.

Have you found a publisher after all? And are you going to go to this year’s E3?

We have many publishers who are interested after all, and we are talking about ‘big’ names and not only adventure publishers. I can tell you that we are in constant communication with 18 publishers more or less.

Should we be expecting any extra material to come out? We haven’t seen lots yet, although it’s natural since you were in a premature developing stage of the game. Do you have anything new for us to see, perhaps a demo that we are all eagerly awaiting to see?

We hope to a have a demo before the end of March.  We have something to show you when you come to our offices, but it’s from the prealphaphasewe showed in E3 where we had our booth and talked to a great deal of companies that were interested in our game.

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