1112 (App Store Link) is a hand-drawn episodic adventure game. The end result of taking the time to hand-craft each character and environment creates an impressive visual style that sets this game apart from others in the crowded App Store. In this game, you interact with the environment by selecting objects and an action to take with them. Throughout this interview, we’ll be sharing new screenshots of characters from the next episode. With one episode completed and the next one coming soon, game designer Alexandre Leboucher and developer Aurelien Kerbeci of Agharta Studio chat with us about the next episode and the 1112 series.
No DPad: The point and touch nature of this game obviously lends itself well to this adventure series. How have you liked developing games for the iPhone and iPod Touch platform?
Alexandre: We thought the touch platform was the ultimate device to play adventure games (gameplay wise), with unique gameplay features like the accelerometer and mutli-touch inputs… never before have the words “click and play” made more sense than on those devices!
Aurelien: Technically it was quite different from “classic” devices, inputs were our main focus, everything should be intuitive, and it is sometimes a challenge. It’s great to work on a device that is not too limited in terms of memory and power. I definitely love the way Apple is building their tools and writing their documentations… tools are easy to use, full of features and documentations are rich with lots of samples – even better than other well-known platforms’ SDKs 🙂
ND: What are your sources of inspiration for both the art style and gameplay?
Alexandre: Game play: I tried to differ from usual click and play games you’ve seen on other devices, most of the time you are just in an empty room with nothing but one critical action to play with… I loved the Shenmue/ Gabriel Knight 3 approach where you have a multitude of non-consequential actions to do… and the storyline background scattered around. In that area, very few adventure games are similar to 1112. Some reviewers absolutely loved this unusual approach while others were less receptive to it. Nevertheless, this is the kind of game I personally longed for all my life so, it’s a safe thing to say that the gameplay won’t be subject to any changes 😉
For the art style, since our main artist is a comics drawer; the inspiration is obvious 😉 We wanted a realistic look for everything but only using 2D hand drawing, to give the game more soul. It would have been easier to use CG graphics, but the result wouldn’t be quite the same!
For the visual/universe influence, I’d say movies like The Ninth Gate or Memento and The Game…
For the storyline, I’d say Lost and Alias… with some atmospheric sense like in Carnivale. The goal of the first episode was to set the beginning of a complex storyline where the main character starts to anchor in a “real” life and everything starts drifting away… the player has no control whatsoever on the story and is tied with it on one a hell of a roller coaster 🙂 (it may not be that obvious in the first episode yet anyway).
ND: Episode 02 continues the story of 1112. Does episode two bring any new gameplay elements to the series?
Alexandre: We should have new gameplay from elements developed in our new game “Rogue Planet”, but its too early to discuss that yet. The tone will be a lot less humoristic and darker than in episode01 (from the end of ep01 it should be obvious).
Aurelien: We develop our own technology/engine, so it will evolve over time. The development of a new kind of game, Rogue Planet, brings us new ideas and new features in our engine.
ND: The artwork in 1112 is beautiful; can you describe some of the new environments players will have a chance to visit?
Alexandre: The setting for episode 02 is NYC… well, an alternate version of New York I should say since most of the places are created from scratch.
ND: How long can we expect episode 2 to last? Will it be similar in length to the previous installment?
Alexandre: It should last somewhere between 5 to 7 hours depending on the intuition of the player (and of course, a lot less if players can’t stop themselves from using spoilers ;))
ND: Episode 02 seems to continue to be pushed back from its original release date. What happened, and can gamers trust you to deliver future episodes at more regular intervals?
Alexandre: There is a simple reason to that — we started developing a new game called “Rogue Planet” in January. It’s an Advance Wars kind of game, working on both projects at the same time may be a little hard for a 3-4 team people developing games with this level of quality… that’s why we are trying to finish Rogue Planet before finishing Ep02. Once rogue planet is out we will focus 90% on 1112 episodes, since we have the technology it shouldn’t be that long a break between episodes (2-3 months max) Most people don’t realize but the amount of work is insane for an iPhone game…
Aurelien: Our engine evolved a lot during Rogue Planet development so it is useful even for 1112 to diversify our projects 😉
ND: Some gamers have found the price point of $7.99 a bit steep for episodic content. Will episode two be releasing at a different price? Is there a chance the previous episode will be discounted upon the next episode’s release?
Alexandre: The next episodes should be available at $3.99 or $4.99 — we are not sure about that yet… considering the amount of work and the market we should lower the price of episode 01 by then too. Since the genre is still a ‘niche’ we can’t afford the risk of releasing the game at a very low price because it’s not sure at all that it’s going to help. The amount of work dedicated to the game and the overall finishing touches and quality is also something preventing us from “giving” our games 🙂
ND: Do you have any closing thoughts for fans of the series?
Alexandre: Just be a little more patient, the whole story is worth it! And sorry for being late, the good point to all of this is that you are going to have two major games instead of one 🙂 Thanks for supporting us!
Aurelien: Thanks to all who are supporting 1112 and the iPhone platform!
Thank you, Alexandre and Aurelien! We know you’re busy working on Rogue Planet and 1112 Episode 02, so your time spent speaking here is appreciated.
For more information, visit 1112game.com.
We have ten copies of 1112 episode 01 to giveaway thanks to Agharta Studio! We’re giving away five copies here to the first five people to leave a comment asking for the game. Make sure to include your email so you can receive the promo code (US only). If you miss out on the comments, visit our Twitter account at http://twitter.com/nodpad and retweet our contest post to have a chance to win! We’ll be choosing five random people who retweet to send a promo code.