A short time before the announcement of Ubisoft's acquisition of Microïds we sent out a few questions about Still Life to Edouard Lussan of Microïds. Read here what he has to say.
Adventure-Treff: "Can you introduce yourself and tell us what's your job at MC2-Microïds?"
Edouard Lussan: "My job is VP Publishing in charge of defining on going line ups and projects for Microïds."
A-T: "Now that the Syberia files are closed, how pleased are you with the project?"
E.L.: "We are very pleased with the syberia series so far. Microïds is very well received by the adventure gaming community on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though the Syberia series were created by a European author, Benoit Sokal, hence the “Euro flavour” of these titles, the series were as well received in North America as in Europe so far.
In a couple of months, we’ll launch Still Life, our new adventure game based on a Serial killer case in Chicago in 2005 and Prague in 1929. This time, the author Mathieu Larivière is Canadian. And you will immediately see the American influences. It will be interesting to see if Still Life will do better than Syberia in the US..."
A-T: "There were some reports about the financial difficulties Microïds went through in the past years, now you are together with MC2. How healthy is the company at the moment?"
E.L.: "As you may know, we just sold Microïds to Ubi Soft. There is a huge merger trend in the video game industry nowadays and, as a small studio, we couldn’t resist the particulaly stiff competition, espacially downhere in Montreal, between EA and Ubisoft."
A-T: "Let's talk about Still Life. What kind of person is Victoria McPherson?"
E.L.: "Here is her ID card:
Weight: 128 lbs
Best physical feature: Eyes
Astrological sign: Scorpio
Occupation: Special Agent (FBI)
Special Nickname: Sweetie (Claire only) pumpkin (Dad only)
Favorite fighting move: Roundhouse kick
Favorite weapon: Glock 17
Favorite finishing move: Putting the cuffs on a perp
Sexiest outfit: Red summer dress
5 ways a guy can impress her: He shoots better than she can, he likes hockey, he’s good at puzzles, he reads Chandler and he drives a truck.
5 ways a guy can really piss her off: He murders women, he has a Victorian fetish, he wears a mask, he admires other killers and he calls her Vic.
Her idea of a dream date: Eating two dogs and downing a beer at a Hockey game.
Worst pick up line she's ever heard: “Baby, I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I can make your Bedrock!”"
A-T: "After Syberia you chose a female lead character again, which is a very common thing in modern adventure games. What's the advantage of a female protagonist?"
E.L.: "A very significant percentage of adventure gamers are women. Choosing a woman as main character for an adventure game is appealing for women and men as well. The reverse is maybe less true."
A-T: "Syberia wasn't a kid's game and Still Life is even more targeted at an adult audience. Do you see your strengths in making games for grown-ups or is it just a coincidence?"
E.L.: "When we first thought of the story we knew it was M. Just the serial killer subject matter is certainly not an 'after school special' theme."
A-T: "Still Life is not very subtle when showing dead bodies and violence. Did you discuss this topic internally or was it clear from the beginning that it will be a game for grown-ups?"
E.L.: "As we said earlier the Serial Killer topic is not for kids anyway. Would you ask the same question after reviewing the movie Se7en, which was an important source of inspiration for Still Life, by the way? With such question, we can figure out that the video game industry didn’t come to maturity. From the very moment we choose a Serial Killer theme for our game, why not showing dead bodies and violence that you can see prime time on TV everyday?"
A-T: "There are many discussions about the dangers of violence in video games. What's your opinion on that?"
E.L.: "Same as above. Let’s avoid gratuity in violence, but all depends the content you choose. On the other hand, there is a lot of hypocrisy on these discussions. Studies shown up that the huge majority of gamers make a difference between what is happening in a virtual game and the reality (the same for TV and movie audience).
There always will be sickheads who are going to pick up their guns after playing shooters and shot people down. Who will be responsible for this: the shooter? What you see on TV or in the movies? Or the fact you can find a weapon for cheap at the corner of the street?"
A-T: "Without being overly innovative you did tweak the classic point & click principle a bit, e.g. at the interaction with objects or the dialog system. What do you think is the right direction for the adventure genre in the future? Tweaking it a little bit (like you did with Still Life) or does it need a massive overhaul?"
E.L.: "We first have to make clear the definition of 'next-generation adventure game'. There are two issues at hand:
- the content
- the platform
Content: Do next-generation platform adventure games require more action? Considering the furious debate, it’s not easy to find a good balance between pure adventure and action-adventure. It is worthy to note that some adventure games that tried to introduce action elements in their gameplay didn’t do so well.
Platform: On the other hand, if next generation adventure games are featured on consoles where action is key, then you can’t avoid the issue so easily. And when you look at the figures, you clearly see that a major part of the market share on console is adventure-action.
Making a good 'next-generation adventure game' lies somewhere at the crossroads between those two issues."
A-T: "You had a vote on your homepage about the introduction of action sequences in your adventure games. What was the outcome and what consequences do you draw from it?"
E.L.: "The survey was on its way when UbiSoft bought up the studio. However, Ubisoft didn’t buy the franchises such as the Syberia series and Still Life. We are considering developing adventure games elsewhere and we will probably take into consideration the results of the pool."
A-T: "You contracted the same studio for the voice recordings of Still Life's German version as you did with Syberia. The localization is good, but not on par with the rest of the game. Did you think about contracting a German studio for an even better localization?"
E.L.: "No idea since the former Syberia team is gone and nobody remembers here who did the German loc on Syberia.
The KBP company did the German loc for Still Life. They usually do a good job."
A-T: "Do you have more to tell about Victoria McPherson? Will there be a Still Life 2?"
E.L.: "Victoria is the main character of Chicago 2005. She comes from a wealthy background. She is the daughter of Patrick McPherson, DA of Chicago and the grand daughter of Gustav McPherson, Private Investigator.
Victoria went to the best schools and graduated with honors. Her education primarily focused on psychology and criminology. She decided to enroll at the FBI academy in Quantico and become an agent. She passed once again at the top of her class. However, Vic’s gift for profiling killers gets her a desk job chasing serial arsonists, serial rapists and serial killers. Although disappointed at being stuck behind a desk and not out doing fieldwork, Vic soon got her chance.
Today, Victoria is working her second serial murder case as a field agent. Her first case was against the infamous Mississippi Crawler, who strangled and raped young women. He would dump their bodies on the banks of the Mississippi. Now she is assigned to a case in the streets of her hometown, Chicago.
About Still Life 2, maybe there will be a Still Life 2, but not developed in Montreal and not by the same team... unfortunately."
A-T: "Is there anything you can tell us about other current adventure projects at Microïds?"
E.L.: "Well... as we said the story is over for Microïds Canada."
A-T: "Let me thank you for another great game and your time for this interview. I wish you a lot of success with Still Life and really hope to see more Microïds adventures of that quality!"
E.L.: "Thanks very much! Es lebe Deutschland! well... still improving my school German!"