Passionate game makers trying new things.
German developers Daedalic Entertainment have been in business for seven years, and are most famous for releasing point and click PC adventures, such as Edna and Harvey, the Whispered World, and the Deponia series.
I was granted an audience with the team at E3 to talk about three of their upcoming releases; Blackguards, Goodbye Deponia, and Memoria.
A turn-based RPG, Blackguards is a different style of game to the traditional point and click adventures that Daedalic are most famous for. It takes the reader into the world of the Dark Eye, a German role playing game that has been popular since its release in 1984, when it was pen and paper based.
The executive producer of Blackguards described it as being very dark, easily the darkest game that Daedelic have ever worked on. The hero is a falsely accused criminal, who escapes prison with some of the other inmates. They are a desperate and sometimes evil bunch, held together in a group only because they need each other to survive.
The party increases in size as the story progresses, and other skills are added to the group. Seven members can join the group, with up to five being able to take the battlefield at a time.You can also interact with objects in the environment, such as blocking paths with crates, or pulling a structure down to collapse on enemies. Or your team mates... friendly fire is an issue, and you can all too easily kill off your party members if you aren’t careful.
There are three initial classes, but vast customisations are possible so this is definitely not as restrictive as it might sound. You (of course) earn experience points and can tweak the strengths of each party member through the easy to use interface.
Depending on the choices made, and the outcomes of battles, the story can branch off, providing multiple possible endings. Party members killed in battles can be resurrected at towns, in exchange for gold. Towns are also a good place to trade and barter for goods, as well as offering quests.
Releasing in November, this turn based RPG looks to be a bold new direction for Daedalic, and a an exciting adventure for fans of The Dark Eye or D&D.
Goodbye Deponia is the final chapter in the Deponia point and click comedy adventure trilogy, and will be the grand finale of the story.
Deponia is a world made of scraps and junk. Our hero is Rufus, who longs to escape Deponia and live in the Utopian city of Elysium. This pristine city in the clouds is where the elite of the world live, looking down in disdain on Deponia.
In the final chapter, Rufus must try to save Deponia, which is in danger of being destroyed, whilst keeping his eyes on the prize: getting to Elysium with his love interest, Goal.
As usual, his brilliant plans are a little . . . well, stupid, and far fetched, and invariably lead to more problems. Creating clones was never going to be a sensible solution to the problem of not having enough time, and yet that’s one of the ridiculous plans he comes up with to try and increase his efficiency on the road to Elysium.
The game has a very unique look, with hand drawn backgrounds and frame by frame animation, a technique rarely used now, because of how long it takes to do.
I was lucky enough to be talked through the game by Kevin Mertz, who was the writer of the games, and is now Lead Game Designer on another of Daedalic’s up and coming titles, Memoria.
His genuine affection for the characters and story of Deponia was infectious, and I really appreciated the opportunity to meet someone with so much enthusiasm for the creative process of making games. Even with only one hour to go before the end of three chaotic days at E3 he still broke into a genuine smile when he talked about Rufus’ many shortcomings. All the Daedalic people I spoke to were passionate about the games they made, and I think that is very refreshing to see.
Goodbye Deponia will be released in October on PC and Mac, through the usual channels (Steam, GoG.com, and the Mac App Store.) It will be available in eight languages, with subtitles.
Finally, I had a very quick overview of new title Memoria. Memoria is a new game, that is not a sequel but shares some common characters from Daedalic’s game Chains of Satinav. It shows two seemingly unrelated stories, separated by 500 years, which are more interconnected than they would appear.
The first story is about Sadja: a princess, who wants to be the greatest hero that ever lived, for her name and legacy to live on forever. Unfortunately, we know from the very outset that she fails. We just don’t know why.
The second story is about Geron: the main character from Chains of Satinav, who wants to forget many of the things from his past.
In the eight chapters of the game, the two stories connect. Lead Game Designer Kevin Mertz described it to me as a story about how people construct memories, and about how they often remember what they want to remember.
Memoria looks to have a compelling story hook, and very pretty graphics. The scene I saw showed Sadja trapped in a massive tomb, surrounded by broken golems, and the visuals really grounded the viewer in the scale and grandiosity of the setting.
Fans of point and click adventures will do well to keep an eye out for Memoria. It will be launching on PC and Mac in the New Zealand Spring.