César Bittar, CEO and Founder of Phoenix Online Studios and vice president Vitek Goyel spoke with C + 2 during GDC about the glorious plans their creative team have in store for adventure gamers this year.
“We live in a fast-paced world these days, but people still like to be challenged with puzzles and making choices in games. Look at Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead, it shows the heart of adventure gaming and helped re-invent the genre.” César explains.
So here’s what we have to look forward to!
The episodic detective game Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller continues to intrigue audiences with intense mystery leading our heroine closer and closer to the curious identity of the much sought after killer. Episode Three: The Oracle will be released very soon and the season finale, Episode Four: The Cain Killer is in development.
Those not yet familiar with the series should start at the beginning and engross yourself in the clever story that carries obscure detail in a murder investigation following strange clues and enigmatic flair. Although there’s a solid ending, the series isn’t over, which leaves so many possibilities!
Another game on the way is metaphysical thriller Moebius, a collaborative project with author and game designer Jane Jensen (Gabriel Knight series) which achieve funding through Kickstarter. The main character is Malachi Rector, a South African-born antiques dealer who travels the world in search of artifacts. When hired by a secret government agency known as F.I.S.T (Future Intelligence Science & Technology) to investigate the death of a woman Malachi must probe through a supernatural scheme revolving around the very nature of time and space. Through the game’s point-and-click blend of fictional and non-fiction aspects he must also figure out the part he is scripted to play in the enigmatic fabric of life.
The title and plot are based on the Moebius Theory, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop. Consider the idea of history repeating itself, and the patterns surrounding the concept of every moment in existence. What if they could one day be controlled? The philosophy is a bit complicated to explain so at best, to those of who are fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, remember the 118th episode: “Cause and Effect”? That’s an example of the Moebius Theory.
A release date isn’t confirmed yet, but César assures fans that it’ll come out for PC, Mac, Linux and iPad platforms before the end of the year.
Then there’s Face Noir, a point-and-click mystery adventure game by Italian developers Gabriele Papalini and Marco Sgolmin of Mad Orange whom Phoenix Online Studios has joined forces with to organize an English version for a US release.
Set in 1930s New York during the Great Depression, the protagonist is Private Detective Jack Del Nero, who at the start of the game is late to catch a plane and then shot by an assailant. From there, the player goes back in time to learn the spiral of events that led Jack to his unfortunate situation.
Noir films and Hollywood crime dramas have been plentiful since as far back as 1912, remaining classic and ever popular. Noir video games are certainly nothing new, in fact they’ve become fairly common-place in gaming, though only a mere handful of titles have gained faithful followings like L.A. Noire or Max Payne.
With nonlinear gameplay, detailed visual ambiance of the 1930s, entrancing puzzles, a jazzy soundtrack to carry the appropriate mood of the era and so much more, fans of the characteristic noir genre will appreciate what Face Noir has to offer.
Phoenix Online Studios has other superb projects in development, sadly we’ll have to wait to see what comes next!
In the meantime, the company has discussed some great ideas for the future like possible video tutorials on game design, the pitfalls and the positives, not to mention the never-ending high importance of Indie Support.
Here’s their advice to students: “Don’t be afraid to start out small and simple on a title or with a team. Don’t make things more complicated than they have to be. And have fun, enjoy the creative process.”