Article by Andreas ’Interman’ Misund
In ancient German history there was a saga named Nibelungenlied, which deals with the gods of creation, and their lives. That saga can be compared to ancient books like Homer’s Iliad, and the tale of Beowulf. Richard Wagner, the famous composer, became extremely fascinated with this saga, and decided to write an opera about it. This was quite a few years ago, but in 1999 Arxel Tribe released an adventure game called The Ring, which is based upon that exact opera. For me that saga is particularly interesting because some of it actually happened relatively close to me (in the fjords of Norway), and to top that off – Arxel Tribe is developing the sequel, and is one of the titles that could be very interesting if you like a good tale.
Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Stephen Carričre and I am the Creative Director of Arxel Tribe.
Could you briefly summarize the story and setting, and its mythological origin?
Ring II is the second and last part of the adaptation of the four operas Richard Wagner devoted to the most famous stories from the northern mythology : Nibelungen’s Ring legend.
Ultimate link between the various worlds of Gods, Humans, Dwarves and Giants, the Ring ensures equilibrium and continuity through the whole universes and even Wotan, master of the Gods, is under its power…
Ring I told how the Ring, confided to the care of the Rhinemaiden, had been stolen and how Wotan had been compelled to curse his own favourite daughter, the Walkyrie Brünehilde, for she had tried to protect a human hero, Siegmund, guilty of loving his own sister, Sieglinde…
Ring II is the story of Siegfried, Siegmund and Sieglinde’s son, and tells how he was the one who found and conquered the Ring before saving Brünehilde then, by betraying her, how he caused the fall of the Gods’ reign for the Time of Human may rise.
The particularity of Ring II is not to have considered Wagner’s operas as unique sources of inspiration but to have also looked for story materials in some very ancient versions of the legend as Thydrek of Verona or Horny skin Seyfried‘s saga for example as well as directly from the Eddas. This especially allowed us to reinforce sequences concerning Siegfried’s childhood to get the player more involved in the character’s destiny.
Like the first opus, Ring II is a magnificent and moving fairy tale, the story of a child becoming an adult in a world ruled by unpredictable and powerful creatures, an eternal legend of glory, love and sacrifice that the art of Philippe Druillet, combined to Richard Wagner’s music, magnifies and passes on our “digital generation”…
Ring 2 seems to focus more on the artistic side of graphics and sounds, would you care to elaborate on that?
We like to think of Ring 2 as an “author’s game”. Philippe Druillet’s vision of the saga is really giving the game a unique visual identity. We are offering clearly a Tale in the old sense of the world. And it is a tale that we think of as one of the quintessential ones. As for the music, well it is of course a pleasure to have Wagner’s magnificent composition as a soundtrack. I’d like to add that we tried our best to animate those backgrounds adding special effects and sprites so that the global experience become a much more lively one.
What was the most challenging aspect in making Ring 2 different from other games in the same genre?
I’d single out two of them :
- graphically, we wanted a much more animated ensemble than the usual Warp or affiliated techniques. For the backgrounds as I mentioned before but also with the introduction of 3D characters, allowing us to give them “freedom of movement” and expressions.
- gameplay wise, we also wanted to take a little distance from the classic puzzle-oriented game by offering a more dynamic mix of point&click enigmas, arcade and contextual puzzles (where the solution to be found is given by the scenario and not my the logic of the mechanism).
What exactly has happened since the first Ring 1, in terms of technological development and the game as a whole?
The main technological difference is the switch from the warp to the “Pre-rendered Bkg/3D char” engine. The aim being what I outlined above.
As for the game as a whole, we draw conclusion from the numerous feedback from Ring1 trying to reinforce all the immersion elements and reduce the complexity of the puzzles.
According to your website; Ring 2 uses a cinemascope format for the interface, what does that mean?
A such, it doesn’t mean much, I agree ;-))
The game will be displayed in kinescope format to strengthen the “movie” feel.
An we tried to provide a more fluid interactivity by reducing the use of the inventory and creating more direct gameplay that doesn’t cut you off the game. You will never find yourself with useless objects in the inventory, these objects will select logically according the situation and you will most often visually carry in your hands or on your back your possessions.
Richard Wagner was certainly a brilliant composer, so I’m wondering, what kind of a soundtrack will there be in Ring 2, and will it have the same orchestral quality as the original game?
Yes, the interpretation is the same : the Ring conducted by Sir Georg Solti with the Viennese philharmonic orchestra.
Also, as a fan of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries, will you be using in Ring 2?
Oups, sorry but that would be a slight cheat, we are supposed not to use the 2nd day : The Walkyrie. But check out for “the funeral of Siegfried”, one of the others highlights from the tetralogy.
What is your favourite feature in Ring 2?
The blend ! :)
How much is left in the development, and when can we expect to see it in the stores?
RING 2 will be finished on time and released in September.
In your opinion, what will make people play Ring 2, in a time when the vast majority of the consumer market seems to go for anything that has guns and big explosions in it?
Well, we offer simply a different kind of escapism. It’s a beautiful tale. It’s a dazzling visual creation and it’s definitely RING :)
Any final words for adventure fans worldwide?