Rescatamos por fin y al completo la profunda charla que mantuvimos con Deep Silver acerca de su survival exclusivo.
This is the original English version of the complete Games Convention 2008 interview in which Martin Filipp, Developer & PR Manager at Deep Silver, shared his thoughts and experience about Cursed Mountain, the exclusive survival game for the Wii, with Revogamers.
Revogamers: Could you please introduce us to your studio and the project?
Martin Filipp: We have a long history in game development. We’re here for eighteen years now. We’ve been former Rockstar Studio. I’m part of the organization side of the company. We don’t develop everything in Vienna. We’ve got a couple of development parts in Vienna, and we control everything from there. We’ve got 140 people working in the game and they’re located, actually, over the world. My job is to talk to all of the parts, keep the contact and make sure that everything is handed over to the production team.
Revogamers: One of our editors imagined a horror story in the mountain, so he was shocked when you said it was going to be in the Himalaya, and asked us to ask you about why choosing Himalaya for a survival.
Martin Filipp: That’s pretty easy to answer. We believe in content and we believe in settings. So we don’t want to offer a world with typical things that you’re used to, because there’re other teams and our company itself do that very well and we don’t want to interfere with them. We’re interested in rich settings. We researched and brainstorming and with this research we found out that mountaineering and the Himalaya are not often in games so far. So we want to offer the player a new experience with our game, which is the best part. We thought that, in the West world, people know what is it, but with the research we found we know very less about the whole culture, the religion, whatever, and we want to offer all that. That’s available there, to the player, to some extend. Everything that is told to the player, or information that’s given to the player is based on real references in the real world, so if you get information in the game and you look it up on Wikipedia or elsewhere, you will find it.
RG: If you enter a temple, that temple or other places are real?
Martin: No, they’re not real, but based on real ones. I’m talking about the culture. There will be rituals in the game… for example, there was something my colleague told in the press conference: there is this object that was hidden by the Buddhism religion a ton years ago, there were documents and people forgot about this and, somehow, after a couple of generations, this information pops up again and the story starts again around it. And this is something that really happens. Every couple of hundred years, some people find this old stuff that is really from the past of the Buddishm. This is something that is also real, and this is something we offer in the game.
RG: Recently you released a PR talking about the game’s engine and the technical capabilities of the Wii, to take advantage of it... Can you be more specific? You said you’re using HDR, you’re using particle effects… How is it, what are you doing with the hardware?
Martin: Well, it’s important for us to deliver something that has very high quality and hasn’t been shown off on the Wii so far. So we’ve got a particle system, we will be able to show really cool snowstorms for example, we’re offering a realistic fog and other technical possibilities. The player will get something new and we will be able to offer something new on the Wii.
RG: I don’t know if this is too technical, but our readers want to know about it. For shader effects, there’s that unit in the Wii called the TEV, which seems that nobody is using it this generation, and just a little group of studios used it on GameCube. How difficult is to program your own effects instead of using “registered trademark” shaders on the other consoles?
Martin: Actually, that’s part of the engine that we’ve licensed, we’ve been developing, and we’ve been working with. This engine is already operating all this shaders at is own, so we don’t use the stuff that is offered on the Wii on board to its 100%, to the maximum. But actually, that is a bit too technical for me. The thing is, the engine should be improved, it belongs to the company we’re working with, and they sent the Press Release. It’s very easy, actually, to get this power from the Wii and show it off.
RG: They just have to do it
Martin: Yeah, that’s it.
RG: So, you say it’s easy but, for our readers, they say “you take the difficult way for the Wii”. Because there’re a lot of products that are just a license, a casual game with low budget, selling because of the brand, etc, and people may be a little bit tired about it. So, why choosing the difficult way and not the less-risky one?
Martin: As a third party developer, Nintendo hardware is risky stuff but we don’t know what can it be if we don’t take the risk. And the point is, why we picked the Wii is, firstly, that we’re going to be able to deliver the technology that we’re talking about and the other thing is we just liked the motion sensing controllers, and that’s going to be a very important part of our game. So that’s why we picked the Wii, actually.
RG: And how about Nintendo? How has been their support, being a first-time project on the Wii?
Martin: For us, I mean, we’ve had long-time console experience, Wii is something new to us, so what is the relationship with Nintendo?, it might be a bit too early to say if it’s good or bad because we don’t have much experience at this time.
RG: At the presentation, there was a story about survival in the mountain, but I couldn’t get it very well (laughs)
RG: So, how’s that particular story at the beginning?
Martin: There’re two brothers, and one brother’s missed in the mountain, and the other brother’s starting a let’s say “rescue mission”. He’s trying to find out whether his brother is still alive, or if is he dead, can he pick up his body, if that body can be rescued, it is unclear at the beginning.
In the survival aspect, we’re talking about high altitude problems. The value where you start is about 5000 meters high and where you’re close to the summit, the top of the mountain, it’s going to be at 8000 meters and everything that is happening in real life that should affect to the body will be simulated in the game, like high altitude sickness, starting to hallucinate… but our main character is really straight-forward-grounded guy and he doesn’t believe in this ‘could be ghosts’ thing at all. But he’s not sure whether is he hallucinating, is it real? But he decides: I want to recue my brother, so I have to go through anyway.