COREgaming - 29 / 07 / 07


PROMINENCE is an adventure game being developed by Digital Media Workshop for the PC under Mike Morrison. The studio has quite an experience working with multimedia tools but they're newcomers to the videogame industry.

Because the game is in production stage, the details are still scarce. The player takes control over a character that is unaware of the reasons why he ended up in the precise moment we start playing. The interaction is the key to discover more about the character and the world he inhabits. This sci-fi story takes place in futuristic set, filled with technology, where human relations also seem to play a role. We asked the creator to tell us more about this game and his experience working with the team.

Um exemplo dos sketches futuristas de Prominence

COREGAMING : Prominence appears on the market at a time when the average player has lost his touch with the adventure genre. This is a daring project. What made you create this somewhat "risky" game?

MIKE MORRISON : Adventure games are not as popular as they once were, but there's a bit of a renaissance happening right now. We believe more and more gamers are looking for an experience that offers a little more depth and story, and that's what adventure games can offer.

Truthfully, any genre is risky for independent developers. Casual games are a frighteningly oversaturated market; strategy games require a powerful, polished engine (or a huge amount of time to develop one) and tremendous amounts of playtesting for the sake of game balance; FPS games typically require a huge team to develop all the levels, art assets, AI, character models, along with a potentially enormous budget just for the engine licensing.

So, whichever genre of game we chose to build would have brought its own brand of challenges. We chose to make Prominence an adventure, because it's a story-based game, and that's what adventures are all about.

CG : Prominence strikes us as the sort of game which is a true labor of love: it is being developed among friend and family, almost. How is it like to create a videogame in such a friendly environment?

MM : We're all longtime friends and that means there's really none of the usual political agendas and whatnot that can creep into a typical project if it was being developed in a corporate environment. We're all very passionate and determined to make Prominence the best possible game it can be. We count on each other for critiques and constructive criticism, but there's a sense that we're always on very solid ground with each other because of the respect and friendship we all have.

That being said, everyone on the team is a professional in their own right with years of experience in their respective profession. Tom has been writing, producing, and recording music since before I was born. Kevin and I met during our university days, while he was working toward his computer science degree. He's been working as a full-time programmer for 15 years. Debbie has had a long career at a publishing company where she worked on newsletters, editing and marketing. I've been running Digital Media Workshop, Inc. for 10 years now, working on all kinds of multimedia projects from video and audio production to 3D design and animation.

CG : More than just puzzles, an adventure game must also be rich in terms of story. Could you give us a few more details about the story behind the game? Is it a branching story line?

MM : The story of Prominence centers on a peaceful race of humans called the Letarri and their struggle to maintain their existence and identity at a time when war is raging between two powerful empires and they're caught in the middle.

The depth of story that is accepted -- if not expected -- in an adventure game far surpasses that of most other genres, which works great in the case of Prominence. There's quite a bit of back story to the game and details about the events that led up to the moment that the player starts playing. A lot of that information will be accessible in the game, and if players are interested, they can really dig into that and get the big picture of what's going on and learn why and how things came to be. Conversely, they can just work through the game and enjoy the main story line without exploring the back story in depth and they won't be lost. There's depth to it for, well, the adventurous!

There is a branching point in the story, which will ultimately lead to two different paths to the end of the game and two different endings. That's something we wanted to offer because the arc of the main character (i.e. the player's character) didn't feel complete without it. I'd like to say more, but I really can't without giving too much away. I can tell you that each path leads to unique content, though.

CG : In a previous interview I found that you were keen on videogames, part of the reason which drove you to this project. What games have inspired you the most and how?

MM : Some of my earliest gaming experiences on the PC were definite inspirations, like Spycraft: The Great Game, which was quite immersive given the technology of the time.

With games, I find it's often more of a technical inspiration rather than something with the story or a character - the way the squad AI of the marines elevates the whole second act of the original Half-Life, for example. Or the way virtuous behavior was built-in to the gameplay to support the story of Ultima IV. Or how the costume creator in City of Heroes/City of Villains led to a community of players that developed rich backgrounds and complex designs for their characters.

Character and story inspirations, for me, tend to come more from movies, books, and real-life.

CG : When I first saw the concept art and game description for Prominence, I immediately remembered some other classic action/adventure games for the PC like Bioforge and Mission: Critical. Are you familiar with these games?

MM: No. Both of them came out in 1995, and I didn't have a CD-ROM drive yet. That sounds really funny now, but at the time, there were double and quad-speed CD-ROMs and that was it. They weren't cheap, either! The first CD-ROM games I bought were in '96 - The Neverhood and Spycraft.

From what I've read about those titles, though, I can understand the perceived similarities. The story of Prominence is quite different, but I can't really talk about the deeper aspects of the story. That's for the players to experience!

CG : We heard that Tom Griffith was joining the Prominence project. What sort of soundtrack are we to expect?

Tom has worked on many different projects from jingles to film scores. We've already started developing the score, and we're taking some symbolic cues from the story and the characters in order to develop the main musical themes, such as the contrast of the technical machinery of the facility against the more organic nature of the people.

MM : We were originally going to approach the score as music from an imaginary country, but odd time signatures and alternate tuning systems and scales might draw too much attention to the musical score. Its purpose is to underscore events in the game and - like a movie soundtrack - elevate the mood without calling attention to itself. So we'll try to bring some of the "imaginary culture" sensibility to the soundtrack, but still make it accessible enough that it doesn't get in the way of player experiencing the story.

CG : Ultimately, what do you expect Prominence to be as a game? What are you creating for this game that you think has never been seen before?

MM : Prominence will be many things that adventure gamers expect. It will be easy to pick up, offer an intuitive control scheme, and will offer players a good mix of inventory and GUI-style puzzles, wrapped up in a compelling science-fiction story.

We've got a few tricks up our sleeve that we haven't seen in other games. Most are still in the development phase, but stay tuned, because we'll be sure to talk about them as the game gets closer to release!

CG : Thank you very much.

For more information please visit the official website.


Só serão considerados os comentários válidos. Ir para o topo da página Voltar ao início
COREgaming COReplay COREvision ? Arquivo Beyond Perfil Coregamers
© COREGAMER 2007 - Todos os textos e imagens originais não devem ser copiados, publicados ou modificados sem autorização prévia dos seus criadores e webmaster. WEBDESIGN, HTML e FLASH da autoria de BrunoF. Site optimizado para Mozilla FIREFOX.
Só serão considerados os comentários válidos. Ir para o topo da página