Interview Part 2 Max « A’Krist » Tishakov (Game Designer Frogwares – The Sinking City)

Crimes and Punishment has been a great experience for me. I loved his mechanics, his game design, his spaces. I have finished the game in 2018 and he has been one of favorite games of my year (I have even written a short text in french in my blog https://cultureplane.com/sherlock-and-memories/). For example, Crimes and Punishments recalled me the pleasure I have had to play to L.A. Noire sometimes (for solve the quests). For The Devil’s Daughter, it has been more complicated. I have played one hour and I have been surprised by his gameplay. The game begins to be an open-world and I have lost my sensations that I have had in Crimes and Punishments. So my question is simple :

The Sinking City is such an ambitious project. How Frogwares, game designers, all the team arrive to create a complex world without lose this great sensation of playing like a game in Crimes and Punishments ? Sensation linked for me to these little spaces really worked and it’s a joy to walk, play in these, search clues, to be a detective. How create a big world without lose the joy of mechanics of game design in little spaces ? L.A. Noire is a great game in that but his world is not really big. Finally, how create a big world without lose the joy of play of the player ? The joy to create some of little actions who create a big action. This feeling so great in Crimes and Punishments. An action and an another action and gradualy, there is a true satisfaction. In the beginning of Devil’s Daughter, I don’t know why but I have feeled a bit lost. Maybe the freedom was too big what I was used to. The Sinking City could be a mix between Crimes and Punishments and an open-world, an open-world more complex than L.A. Noire. I imagine that architecture has a very important role in your game, architecture and level design and their link to game design. How arrive to create this magic ? L.A. Noire is a bit magical for that I think

(maybe I dit not express myself well, L.A. Noire is a big open-world, but not I think as complex as GTA or Red Dead Redemption. The game gives sensation to be a balance between freedom and constraint. That’s why the game is very great, but I think his immersion is not does not take as much risk as Rockstar’s games but he’s a better game that many actual open-worlds because rythm of L.A. Noire is such a success (Crimes and Punishments is also a great game for his link between freedom and constraint). For me, like a player, The Sinking City is the possibility to have a great detective game in a complex world with a deep immersion)

 

I believe you won’t lose this sensation of investigating small places like it was in Crime and Punishment. The Sinking city is still not fast furious FPS with dozens of enemies around you. We added an action part. It’s true. But we give you time to look around. To walk, gather clues, investigate surroundings, find out dwellers habits. It’s still a detective game after all. You still need to visit crime scenes somewhere on the dark alley or in half flooded rotten house and investigate it really carefully. After gathering clues talk to witnesses. Gathered all testimonies?

Think maybe your lost something. What about traveling to the past to pull out some hidden information? You probably know already that Reed has extraordinary abilities so don’t hesitate to use it. Yes, it causes mental problems but you are a detective. The truth is more important. Don’t forget to look into your casebook. Think where to go next if you are sure that you explore everything here. Or…maybe it’s time to gather all facts together inside mind palace and understand who is guilty?

All mechanics of The Sinking City are made to give you a feeling of importance of your actions, progression inside the case. We carefully gathering feedback while we are working on The Sinking City. Feedback from different parts of the team, from focus testers and of course from people who played our games. And if we see that we have some problems with our previous games which players point really often we are thinking about how to fix them in our current project. And basically playtests and feedbacks it’s the core of creating good flow. This is what helps us avoiding moments where the player can feel lost. Because even if you think you are a good game designer and you can do your task easily without any obstacles. It’s actually not always true. While no one has played your game you never know you achieve the goal.

That’s why during each step of the game’s production we are making playtests through all departments. And even more, when we are making a quest, we are playing it every day inside our unit. Unit – it’s a small team from different specialists which responsible for specific part of the game as a quest for example. So every time when we see the player doesn’t know what to do next or doesn’t understand why something isn’t working while he thinks it should work, we are discussing this moment and finding the solution for this problem.

 

The first part of the interview : https://cultureplane.com/interview-max-akrist-tishakov-game-designer-frogwares-the-sinking-city/

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