Available: Q4 2003
Demo: here
Developer: Michael B. Clark

Interview by: Andreas Misund Berntsen

Early this year we've been surprised by an indie adventure game called Harvest, made by one sole person, indie developer Michael Clark. We've really liked the game, so after Michael has announced his new project, The Arrangement, a classic first person mode adventure game, we've decided to interview him about it. The results of our conversation you can witness below.

Hi, please introduce yourself and your company to our readers.

Hello there, first thank you for allowing me to discuss my game with you. My name is Michael Clark, and "The Arrangement" is my second game. I'm not really part of an official company, per say, MBC Enterprise is just the name I've always used with my creative endeavors. I'm more like a one-man-band.

Not too long ago you released an adventure game called Harvest; how was the response, and what lessons did you learn?

The response was so much better than I had ever expected. Many people e-mailed me and said how much they enjoyed playing the game. I learned so much from making "Harvest", and all those lessons are being put to good use for "The Arrangement". I think the biggest lesson I learned was that I can't do it all by myself. This time around, I was fortunate and able to get a small team of folks to help with things such as music and voices.

The Arrangement is your next game, which also happens to be an adventure game. Could you let us in on what it's about, its story, and what's different in terms of graphics, gameplay etc?

From the games webpage: "You thought you had it all - a wonderful wife, a challenging and rewarding career, a bright future - everything you could ask for. Until a diabolical man steps in, steals your wife, and turns your world upside down. Is it simply a horrific twist of fate? Or has your life been pre-arranged?"

In the game, the player will have to explore many areas, and in the process, collect clues and solve dozens of puzzles. The overall gameplay is similar to that of "Harvest", but the graphics have been greately improved since "Harvest". I love to explore, so "The Arrangement" will be full of areas to explore. And there will be a broad variety of puzzles - inventory based, logic-based, and some word puzzles.

What games and literature did you use for inspiration in The Arrangement? The screenshots make me think of Agatha Cristie.

Well, I've never played Agatha Christie. I think Lighthouse, and the Nancy Drew games, are inspirational to me. Also, right now my hero is Jonathan Boakes. He is so talented, and "Dark Fall" has blazed a trail for all of us Indies to follow.

How much is left of the development of The Arrangement, and when do you plan to release it?

I've made excellent progress with "The Arrangement" - I think it should be ready for release by the end of this year.

What future plans do you have beyond The Arrangement? A new adventure title, or something completely new?

I think after "The Arrangement" is finished, I'm going to take some time to just play games. There is a boat load of new games I still haven't played yet. I really don't play any games while I'm in the process of making one - that would be way too distracting.

You obviously seem to like the adventure genre a lot. How did this start, and what are your all-time favorite games in the genre?

I started with Myst in 1995. I instantly fell in love with the genre. I like the older games much better than the newer ones. My favorites are Lighthouse, the Zork series, and Obsidian, among others. I definately prefer the 1st person point of view games.

To me it's fun to see independent developers making successful games, and this seems to be happening more and more the past couple of years. What's your take on the indie game dev scene, and how do you think it'll be in the future?

Well, I think there will always be room in the Adventure Game market for independent developers. Fortunately, as of late, it appears the Adventure genre is in the middle of a boom period. There are so many promising games either coming out or planned by the big companies. I personally couldn't be happier. And this makes it all the better for the independent developers. The more games the better!!

Do you have any tips for starting indie developers who might be interested in the adventure genre?

The most important thing is that you have to LOVE the craft. I actually have as much fun making games as playing them. It's very addictive.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yes, I want to say to anyone who thinks they'd like to give game development a try, to GO for it. It's a very fun, and very rewarding experience. And again, thank you for letting me talk about "The Arrangement".