As the CEO of the Czech publisher Future Games Martin Malík ist not only responsible for Black Mirror, but also for the coming adventures Nibiru - Messenger of the Gods and Ron Loo.
Adventure-Treff: "Can you tell our readers who you are and what you are doing at Future Games?"
Martin Malík: "My name is Martin Malik and I'm co-founder and CEO of Future Games s.r.o."
A-T: "Recently Black Mirror was released in Germany. Are you statisfied with the success of your game so far?"
M.M.: "Yes, we are extremely satisfied with worldwide results. For the German ones we will have to wait a bit, but we are very optimistic (We know first German results, but it is still soon to come with some conclusions based on what we know at the moment)."
[SPOILER - Highlight text to read]
[spoiler]A-T: "Although most players enjoyed Black Mirror very much, many were disappointed by the ending. Is it intended the way it is or were you forced to quickly finish the production of the game?"
M.M.: "The ending should have been the way it is. Maybe only the last film where Samuel breaks the curse could have been clearer. But this way, the end leaves space for fantasy, which is good. It gives you an answer to if we were forced to quickly finish the game as well."
A-T: "The ending leaves many open questions. Do you have plans for Black Mirror 2 or will these questions remain dark secrets? Or can you answer some of them just for us? :)"
M.M.: "We don't think that there are a lot of open questions. Or could you be more specific? Samuel succeeded in breaking the curse of his kin and - being burdened by his conscience - did what he had to do. We do not plan TBM2 at the moment because we are recently working on the Nibiru adventure. We might come back to the TBM story after we finish Nibiru, but only time will show that."
A-T: "For example: How did William die (Samuel wasn't in town)?"
M.M.: "Samuel didn't kill William. You have to work more with your fantasy. Awaken curse has wide powers..."
A-T: "Why was Vic killed, who had nothing to do with the family?"
M.M.: "The curse brings Samuel to his deeds. But the victim can be anyone. Not necessarily there must be a lineage between Samuel and the victim."
A-T: "What really happened in the mine?"
M.M.: "It's written in dead engineer's notebook, but we think that you are asking what was the reason. Mechanical glitch or some kind of mysterious power (about which one of the mineworkers have had a dream)? You have to answer it by yourself because if not the game will lose its allurement. Do you agree?"
A-T: "How did Samuel get the blood out of the bodies?"
M.M.: "How in the Exorcist movie the body could levitate over the bed?"[/spoiler]
A-T: "For the German version you changed some aspects of the gameplay like the mine exit or the waiting times. Were those conditions of dtp, your German publisher, or reactions to bad feedback on these topics?"
M.M.: "It wasn't based on 'DTP conditions', basicaly it was just logical move after receiving feedback from a lot of our players. 'The players voice' always was important for us (I'm talking about our old games released in Czech Republic and Slovakia now) and we tried to learn as much as possible about what players want..."
A-T: "Will Black Mirror be released in more territories in the future?"
M.M.: "Black Mirror was released so far in France, USA, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Benelux, Russia (and all former USSR republics), Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Czech Republic, Slovakia, United Kingdom and in Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well. The game will be released soon in Greece, Izrael, Poland, Hungary and some other territories."
A-T: "Your company will also publish Ron Loo, another adventure game, but there haven't been any news on it for quite some time now. How far in development is it?"
M.M.: "We work hard on it. The truth is that we did some 'routine' works in few past weeks, so there weren't a lot of news in terms of Ron Loo project. On the other hand we hired some new people in order to speed up especialy these 'routine' works. The release date is scheduled onto February 2005."
A-T: "Maybe you could tell us in a few words what it is about?"
M.M.: "Ron Loo is a classical point and click adventure that takes place in fantasy milieu. The story is about young aristocrat, Ron Loo and starts at the moment when he unexpectedly receives the surprising order to temporarily take over his position of the ambassador of Arekan in the Kingdom of Boren. The Story is divided into five chapters consisting of several other parts divided especially according to the surroundings. The surroundings are very different and the player can walk through the streets of a busy city of Boren, wander around the silent and ominous hideaways of stone temples of an ancient civilization, blunder about in cave gloom, smell the fresh air on the board of several flying ships and smell the frosty atmosphere of Ice Plains. He will not miss even the once so popular underwater scenes."
A-T: "What can we expect technically? Do you use AGDS?"
M.M.: "Yes, for Ron Loo we will use AGDS system again. We did several changes and modifications in it, so now it allows us to bring to the players even more than in Black Mirror. We also reflected on the 'players voice' so we tried to improve some parts of the engine in order to meet the player's needs..."
A-T: "At the moment you are working on Nibiru - The Messenger of the Gods, a remake of your game Posel Bohu. Will Nibiru be an exact 1:1 remake or do you plan to enhance the gameplay?"
M.M.: "We used only the core of the story of our original Messenger of the Gods, the Czech adventure game of the year 1998. We used its idea. We thought that it was a pity that a game that was so extremely popular in our country at that time did not reach foreign markets and nobody around the world knows it. But there were several things in the original game that we wanted to do differently after the game was released. Because we did not want to be bound by what was in the past, we decided to completely change - apart from graphics, engine and other elements - the screen, the dialogues and the plot. The only thing that remained from the original game was a banal finding of an old German tunnel from the end of the World War II in Western Bohemia after many years that becomes the biggest life adventure for the main hero... And I should also not forget that we would also use some of the original puzzles and riddles that were successful in the past."
A-T: "With Nibiru you drop the horror aspects of Black Mirror and create a more adventurous Indy type game. Can you describe the mood you try to achieve with Nibiru?"
M.M.: "Yes, Nibiru is definitely more an adventure than a horror. When compared with TBM, the atmosphere of the game runs similarly as in case of Indy from the secrets of the long time ago bygone civilization. We believe that similarly as in case of BLACK MIRROR, gaming atmosphere will be one of the strong sides of our game."
A-T: "Black Mirror was longer than many other current adventures. Will Nibiru be shorter or will you try to make such a long game again?"
M.M.: "According to our experiences, gaming time in case of TBM oscillates between 15 and 30 hours, depending on experience of the player. Nibiru will be a little bit shorter, but definitely not at the expense of gaming pleasure. This is result of our efforts to recognize the criticism of players and journalist. We decided to change some things that were criticized as 'lengthy' or delaying. The engine AGDS has already been modified in this direction."
A-T: "When do you plan to release Nibiru?"
M.M.: "Nibiru will be released in major European Teritories before Christmas this year."
A-T: "For Nibiru you will use the AGDS engine developed for Black Mirror. Do you enhance it in any way or will Nibiru feature the same effects and interface like your last game did?"
M.M.: "AGDS has already achieved and will further achieve several changes. The biggest change is the switch to 1024x768x32 differentiation instead of 800x600. The engine also fully supports 3D models of characters and all the possibilities offered by 3D engine, like for example anti-aliasing. There are more changes but we will mention them only after they will be fully integrated into AGDS. The interface of the game itself will not recognize any bigger changes, because the interface used in TBM had a fully positive response from players."
A-T: "One of the few things criticised about Black Mirror were the relatively weak character graphics and animations. Will you improve that for Nibiru?"
M.M.: "Yes, as it was said in the previous question, the switch to 3D display of characters will improve all the models of NPC characters as well as their animation. Nowadays we are in process of testing the first 3D models implemented into the engine and NIBIRU graphics. And I have to tell you that I'm completely satisfied with the results so far."
A-T: "Do you plan to work together with dtp again?"
M.M.: "Definitively it is our intention. We are really satisfied with their attitude."
A-T: "Why do you think so many adventure games are developed in Eastern Europe?"
M.M.: "Basically the genre was very popular in Eastern Europe and there is still solid potential."
A-T: "And the question that has to be asked: Do you think LucasArts was right? Why do you create adventures when other Genres promise much more profit?"
M.M.: "It is not only about 'you can get a lot so why not to get more?'. In our case the decision was easy. We all like adventure games in Future Games and I think that if your people really like their job they are able to bring more into the project. And then the final result is even better! On the other hand definitively Adventure Genre needs 'new, fresh wind' so we continuosly with our NIBIRU project are working on a brand new engine which will allow us to implement more new elements into our games. We live in hectic times and players prefer fast, 'action loaded' games. We want to bring some new, for adventure genre 'unusual' ideas to it. But now I'm talking about the future..."
A-T: "Thank you very much for taking time to answer our questions. We wish you much success with your games and hope to see more great games from Future Games."
M.M.: "We thank you too and we wish to your readers a lot of Great games (not only from us...). Thanks."