The venerable Ray Ivey interviews Lost Civilization Lead Designer Ondrej Nahalka
March 13, 2014
Remember Nibiru, the mysterious 2005 point-and-click adventure from The Adventure Company and Future Games? Well, it’s being remade for modern gamers by the Czech development company Icarus Studios. It looks gorgeous, compelling, and fun, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I was able to tug the sleeve of Lead Designer Ondrej Nahalka about the upcoming new game, which is called Lost Civilization.
Boy, the screenshots look gorgeous. Can you talk about the graphic look of the game? What influenced your artists, and what you were going for? Were you inspired by Prague itself?
Lead Designer Ondrej Nahalka: The original Nibiru: Messenger of the Gods game was released back in 2005 by my friends in Prague. I instantly became a huge fan of it and when I had a chance to start working on the remake in 2012, I was thrilled! Our studio is based in the center of Prague with a magnificent view of Charles´ bridge, so the inspiration was right in front me. I decided to change the look and feel from quite dark brown-ish to more colorful tones and it certainly paid out!
Can you tell me a little more about the format of the game? It looks like it’s first-person, slideshow, point-and-click, is that correct?
Ondrej Nahalka: The original game was slow-paced hardcore point-and click-adventure game. We decided to update it and make a bright Hidden Object Puzzle adventure. We changed every pixel, every character, all audio; only the story remains similar to the original title.
What can you tell me about the player character?
Ondrej Nahalka: Suzanne is recently-graduated archeologist who is called by her uncle to help him with his lifelong research. It seems he found some traces of extra terrestrial organisms! Unfortunately, the bad guys also have their fingers in it and many things go wrong for Suzanne and her uncle, and she must solve the mystery.
Besides Suzanne, there are another 32 characters in the game.
What classic point-and-click adventure games have inspired you?
Ondrej Nahalka: I’ve been a big fan of adventure games since the Amiga days! All Lucasarts games are still on my shelf! Lately, I’ve fallen in love with modern adventures like Walking Dead.
Do you feel Lost Civilization has also been influenced by other non-adventure games, and if so, which ones?
Ondrej Nahalka: Oh yes, by several action adventure games – Walking Dead, Bioshock, even Grand Theft Auto to some extent.
Do you think the indie game movement will help keep traditional adventure games relevant?
Ondrej Nahalka: Absolutely. There is very little chance that some big publishers will ever go back to adventure games, so the freedom to do games as they wish and publish them by themselves is ideal. Also, Kickstarter helps to keep bringing fresh games to the market!
Can you tell me about some of the types of puzzles in the game?
Ondrej Nahalka: We did a lot of research and tailored the puzzles to the story itself, so it feels like natural part of the game. Our puzzles are easy to learn, but hard to master!
The game is presented in once piece, right? Not episodic?
Ondrej Nahalka: Correct, our game is one piece and it takes some 3-4 hours to complete it.
What else should I be asking about for this game? Tell me what else I should know!
Ondrej Nahalka: One thing we are particurlarly proud of are the Hidden Object scenes. Normally, you just have bunch of mess with no logic, but we introduced a revolutionary way to play it! You must complete the scenes by placing some objects back into them, finding clues, etc. It‘s something no one has done before with such care!
How are mobile and casual desktop platforms affecting adventure games?
Ondrej Nahalka: These new devices give small developers (even one-man studios) the chance to do what they want and release it without any external help. Currently retro-gaming is very popular, as it looks gorgeous on small screens, but people don't want to "hunt pixels" anymore, they don't have patience to use every object on the other object and try to figure out a clue for hours. Games need to be faster, more accessible. Look at Walking Dead for example. But these games have big disadvantage – they can't really become free-to-play, and the current market is sadly dominated by free-to-play games. So many adventure games can succeed, but many can fail, too.
Thanks, Ondrej! Good luck with the game!
Platforms: PC, iOS, AndroidGenre: Adventure/Puzzle
Release Date: April 15, 2014 (PC)
This looks great,but I hope they make a macintosh version.