May 10, 2007 - The ever increasing budgets of games has slowly but surely been forcing the independent game developer out of the spotlight. Scrounging up the resources to build an engine and see development of a game with high production values through to the end seems like a virtual impossibility. Track 7 Games and http://xbox360.ign.com/objects/746/746922.html have found a way. Currently shopping around for a publisher, Track 7 has built its PC and Xbox 360 Greek action-adventure title from the ground up all by itself.
If you're asking yourself just what Theseis is right now, you're not alone. Aside from a few snippets of new media released earlier this year, the Theseis team has been largely silent since E3 of 2006. Thankfully, Demetris Papadopoulos, Product Manager for Track 7 Games, was kind enough to answer our questions with the help of the development team.
IGN: Theseis has been in development for about two years now, but we still know essentially nothing about how it actually plays. Could you summarize the game play for us?
Demetris Papadopoulos: We have chosen a non-aggressive approach with Theseis. This means that the player will not use physical violence to overcome situations. The game starts with a tutorial level that familiarizes the players with the controls. You start with Andronicos. At the end of the tutorial you learn that your step-father has died in mysterious circumstances. Persuaded by Pheve you decide to look further into his death. The characters will be fully controlled and not a click and point type of game play. All elements found in any other action/adventure platforms are implemented. Now if we wanted to compare our game to something else I would say a mixture of both Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell without the use of violence.
IGN: How far along are you in development? When can fans expect to get their hands on the game?
Demetris Papadopoulos: We are about 80% complete. We are currently finishing our second version of our demo which will be handed out to interested publishers.
IGN: How has independently financing and developing Theseis affected the development process? Has it afforded you any notable freedoms?
Demetris Papadopoulos: For starters it gave the developers time to build their own engine. This engine will also be used for future projects. This is a plus and less time consuming. Having that out of the way, we began on our scenario, which has changed once, and now it's even better in our opinion. It's a big one and interesting one. This took time to write and create, however that is the advantage of being independently financed. The developers had the freedom to add or take out whatever they believed was not making the game shape up nicely. Also an important note is that giving the developers freedom to develop a game, or an idea for a game, helps production soar due to the passion behind the creation, which we believe is essential in this type of business. You really don't want developers to create something they don't believe in, it might not come out as good as they would want it to be.
IGN: What does new and more powerful hardware do for the adventure genre? What sorts of new game play mechanics have you introduced that make Theseis better than traditional point and click adventures?
Demetris Papadopoulos: Having new powerful hardware helps the game grow in terms of graphics, lighting and many other elements which we see in today's next gen games. We take pride in our detailed graphics, story, strong musical score, and some interesting game play features. Of course our inventory system that we have mentioned earlier. We are currently developing on DX9.0, and we feature the latest in shaders and shadows.
The developers have been spending most of their time making sure they are covering every corner, every area with amazing details and jaw dropping graphics on the surroundings and the characters. We have also been to locations in Greece for reference, since we live and work here, which is also important in depicting how Greece should be depicted. We have a Greek culture we respect as Greek developers, and we want the world that hasn't been to Greece or studied our culture, to actually be there and see it for themselves.
Wanted to add also, that fans might have seen our old game play videos which in fact and we want to state since I don't think it was mentioned, that they were at the pre-alpha phase of our game, so many things have been changed for the best.
We have a Greek culture we respect as Greek developers, and we want the world that hasn't been to Greece or studied our culture, to actually be there and see it for themselves. Using powerful hardware created today helps us do this.
IGN: We've read that Theseis sports a fully 3D inventory system. Could you describe how this works and what it does for the player?
Demetris Papadopoulos: Our inventory features a system that allows a hands-on approach to object combination and interaction. It allows the player to explore ways in which he can combine objects, solve puzzles, and interact with the objects as if you are holding it in your own hands. You will be able to see any object in every type of direction in full 3d. I don't believe we have seen this in any other game as of yet.
IGN: Story is central to an adventure game. How is the story delivered to the player in Theseis? Will the game use in-engine cut scenes, have all lines delivered with voice audio, or can we expect to do a lot of searching and reading to learn what is going on?
Demetris Papadopoulos: The game will be using in -game engine cut scenes. All lines will be delivered with voice audio using a normal dialogue system, where you can ask questions. Of course there are dialogue options and the player can ask or answer as he pleases.
However, don't get me wrong, there will be a lot of exploring, searching, and discovering clues, in order to proceed and actually find out what ''Theseis'' means.