Interviewer: Andreas Misund Berntsen
Interviewee: Martin Ganetfoehr, Head of Content, House of Tales
Hi, could you please introduce yourself, your company, and its background to our readers?
Hi, my name is Martin Ganetfoehr, I'm Head of Content of House of Tales, that means I'm the lead designer. House of Tales is a leading games-design team in Germany, specialized in adventures and cellphone-adventures.
Could you introduce our readers to the storyline in The Moment of Silence? I’ve read that the game takes place in a futuristic, slightly Orwellian society. How would you compare it against, for instance, Blade Runner?
TMOS plays in the year 2044 in New York. The player takes the role of Peter Wright, a somehow frustrated communication-designer, who lost his family a short time ago and is now hiding in his apartment, not caring about the world any longer. Until he watches his neighbor, an online-journalist, getting caught by a special commando of the New York police – without anyone knowing the reason. So he starts to investigate, soon becoming involved in a struggle against a totalitarian government and a worldwide conspiracy.
TMOS is about an urgent problem of our times, the problem about how information is dealt with and how it is handled in a world becoming a global village. It's also about humanity becoming the slave, the victim of artificial intelligence. I think, Blade Runner shows optically a similar picture of our future world, but it's more about the responsibility humanity has towards the handling and creation of artificial life.
Can you name a few notable scenarios from the game that you think the player will find especially interesting, obviously without revealing too much?
I think the oil-rig in the Bermuda triangle will be very interesting. Obviously, it’s not an oil-rig any longer, but something else, something very important. Furthermore, I think the SETI-institute will be very interesting as well.
The graphics engine appears to be quite capable judging from the screenshots. Could you tell us a bit about it? I noticed in some of screens that the hair (or fur if you will) rendering looks quite good. Also, could you tell us about the art direction? What were you primary sources of inspiration?
We call it a "2,5 D-engine". That means that it's not a real 3D engine, but it creates with many details a 3D-feeling. That means, you can also let Peter walk "into" the locations, not only from left to right and back, and if he passes behind a fountain or something like that, he will be shown exactly like walking behind it. I created concept drawings of each locations and passed them on to our graphic artists. My sources of inspiration were already existing technologies, as we wanted to create a future easily to imagine from our point of view.
Your website mentions that you’ve had Dynamedion do the game’s soundtrack. How would you characterize it, and how has it been integrating the soundscore with such a futuristic game?
There are many different styles of music in the game, just fitting to the scene they are playing in. We got tracks sounding industrial, but as well bluesy tracks or tracks with hard guitars... We don't think the music in the near future will differ so much from the styles today. And, as we don't know the development of music in the next 40 years, we simply can't create "future music" without getting ridiculous.
The adventure genre has had its ups and downs the past few years. Right now it seems to be doing okay, but what changes do you see in the future? Personally I think it’s great that some developers are still sticking to the tried and true point-and-click formula, but using the generally very powerful consumer hardware on improved artistry as opposed to some of the third-person action/adventure garbage from a few years back.
We don't think the time of the classic point & click-adventures is over. Of course, it was a mistake to try to mix them with action-orientated gameplay – that didn't work out. I think, adventures will have their place in the future, but they will have to look very, very good. But I think the most important thing is excellent gameplay and a very good story. Adventures lacking these principles will not stand a chance against the fast and furious titles of today.
What level of linearity will the game have? A couple of keywords could be multiple-endings and the results of conversation choices.
There will be two different endings, depending of the solution to a final riddle.
How far along are in the development, and when can we expect to see the game in stores?
The game will be out in the stores in the German-speaking countries on 1st October. We are now preparing for the localization.
Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
Just help adventures surviving by buying them and keep the faith to the genre!
Thank you so much for your time!