Stefano Gualeni is an architect, but also likes to design adventure games. He invented smart ass private eye Tony Tough and played key roles in the development of Italian children's game Prezzemolo and the DVD game Dangerous Heaven. In our feature "Ask Tony" you now had the chance to ask him questions about his current game Tony Tough 2: A Rake's Progress. Read more about Stefano on his website.
Hanna B.: "Have there ever been or will there ever be any women in Tony’s life? No, his mother doesn’t count!"
Stefano Gualeni: "Ah… Let me begin with thanking you for such a brilliant question! Danke schon!
Well, Tony’s actually had a flirt once, or at least so I’ve heard. It’s a long fascinating story halfway between a mariner’s legend and a deadly bore. Maybe I could tell you what happened in a future episode of this adventure, what do you think?"
Hanna B.: "Are the character and looks of Tony Tough 2 modelled on a certain person?"
Stefano: "This question is so grammatically poor that I was initially tempted not to reply to it. But then again, what the hell! If I started mistreating the people that somehow appreciate me, I wonder just what I might end up with… Plus… Yes, plus the munchkin who asked this question must be German and we all know what being Germans mean, right? Anyway, I guess that your question aimed to know if characters in Tony Tough 2 are modelled both in their aspect and/or in their personality upon actual people that inspired me. Is that right? Well, you have no way to confirm that, so I’ll just reply to that one, whether you like it or not. Yes, my friend. A few characters in the games actually resemble in some traits, in their physical appearance or in some nuances of their personality, real people that I met.
I guess Tony himself is a weird hybrid between my Italian literature teacher in high-school and a very pathetic version of myself. Valerio, in fact, originally designed the appearance of old Tony to look like a caricatured version of my teacher. Isabella from the first episode had a base in an actual person, too.
I resorted to this particular design choice in Tony 2 with particular emphasis: “Lorraine Biddle” is someone that actually exists under that name and so does “Jessica Villarreal”. “Frederick Van Horn”, the professor, is supposed to look and sound like my beloved uncle. Seymour is not entirely fictional either…
Well, you’ll get to know them all soon, I hope."
Hanna B.: "The Tony Tough 2 screenshots look very promising. But – where is Tony’s charming sidekick Pantagruel? Since the story is taking part in the past, will we meet any old friends from the first Tony Tough game?"
Stefano: "Yes we will, but I will not divulge more information about this… There will be no “Jack O’Lantern” though… So don’t even bother to ask, allright? Hehe…
If you remember the previous episode well, Tony believes Pantagruel to be his dog (while that pink tapir evidently is not). In this second game we will unveil why and a few others mysteries on Tony’s youth… For example the one about how he got to develop his hilarious obsession for wanting to become a private eye… And more."
Hanna B.: "What were the reasons for creating this sequel in 3D?"
Stefano: "We wanted to BOTH raise the graphical quality AND gain new appeal for the genre, of course! If you had a better idea on how to accomplish this instead of using 3D graphics you could have mailed me earlier, damn you!"
Hanna B.: "If you had all technical resources - virtual reality with brainplugs, a holodeck, a C64, whatever you want… what type of game would you make?"
Stefano: "If I had that kind of money I wouldn’t need to make games, silly!"
Hanna B.: "The screenshots show a much more realistic style than in the first part. Will the game be more realistic and darker than Tony 1, or are you aiming to portray his innermost being in the same way?"
Stefano: "The game will indeed be darker, more minimal and more realistic. The puzzles and topics treated in the game are effectively more mature than the ones you’ve played in Tony 1… Anyway the new adventure will pivot on the same grotesque and clumsy investigator and his trademark convoluted personality. The game, similarly to the first episode, will also feature a very rich and whacky constellation of secondary characters.
What I am trying to say here is that the game will be more adult and logical, but will still hold a very extravagant and artsy core."
Klaus S.: "The game’s look seems more mature. Will the content be the same way, or will the focus still be on the special brand of humour we know from the roasted moths?"
Stefano: "Both the things. I don’t see them as being antithetical."
Klaus S.: "Has the day-night-change any effect on the gameplay, or is this only meant to underline the atmosphere?"
Stefano: "The day progression follows the symbolic and narrative development of the main threads of the plot. It doesn’t physically influence the gameplay, but it’s indeed part of the game, its unfolding and its atmosphere."
Klaus S.: "The dialogues are supposed to be non-linear. Will there be diverging paths you can take throughout the game, depending on your actions, motivating people to play the game a second time?"
Stefano: "Non linear dialogue and puzzles mean to me that you can basically access and face the core puzzles of the game in the most personal order. There will not be a fixed path to follow to finish it, consequently the dialogues need to adapt and embrace this aspect of the game. I guess you will find a few easter eggs and tasty details if you play it again, and I am sure, the adventure lovers will appreciate that."
Hanna B.: "You are a smart ass. Did you know that in our lives we spend two weeks just waiting for traffic lights to change; that a mosquito has 47 teeth on average and that there are less mailmen than psychoanalysts in the USA?"
Stefano: "I regret to say that all the notions presented here are hardly of any significance whatsoever.
Uhm, well… Apart from the first one, indeed. The one that says that I am smart! Oh… Of course, and the last one: we definitely need more postmen. My last adventure does in fact nothing but proving this very point! Don’t you believe me?! Play Tony Tough 2. A game that’s an ode to postmen!"
dtp Olli: "A question for Tony: Tony, this is important. I need cash very urgently! Please tell me who is going to win the soccer world cup so I can bet all my savings!"
Stefano: "I am afraid you’ve mistaken me for a fortuneteller… A fortuneteller or the love your parents have never given you. I have no clue on who’s going to win the “ball cup” or whatever its name is. Uhm, if I had to pick one, I’d say Germany or Prussia. Those teutons have always known how to kick stuff, if you know what I mean!
Go for prussia, young man. That’s money in the bank."