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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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Discussing The Penumbra Series
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 1 comment

A new interview with Frictional Games is now available at Strategy Informer. The Q&A focuses on the company's Penumbra horror series, indie game development, and what the company has planned for the future. Penumbra: Overture, Black Plague, and Requiem followed the horror laden tale of Philip and his quest to unravel the secrets of the past.

Strategy Informer: Some would argue that this is quite a low profile game, being developed by such a small, independent studio. Was the success of the game a surprise or did you always have an inkling that Penumbra would be something quite special?
Frictional Games: When we first released the tech demo we werenít sure that this was something anyone would like and this was when it was still a school project, so we were really surprised when so many people liked it and so many people said it was good and so on. Iím still surprised that I can carry on making a living out of making our own game, but that I think was the most important thing, knowing enough people liked it that so it wasnít such a surprise to know that we could sell the game!

Strategy Informer: What games would you credit with being an influence upon Penumbra?
Frictional Games: Itís hard to pinpoint any single game, but everything from text-based and interactive fiction games to newer survival horror games like Silent Hill and so on influenced us in the making of Penumbra.

Strategy Informer: And did you have any cinematic influences at all for Penumbra?
Frictional Games: I think Blair Witch Project is something that really comes to mind, not only in the Ďdonít show the monsterí thing that they have but also the whole low budget thing in that you can make something really cool with low production values. Thatís a big inspiration not only style-wise, but also knowing that if they could do something that effective with such a small budget then we can do the same thing with our game.

Strategy Informer: Thereís been mention of a new horror-based game that youíre making. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Frictional Games: Itís set in the 18th Century and it takes the player to this strange old castle where you have to explore all of these environments and learn certain stuff while doing so. Itís going to be more action-based (than Penumbra). Itís not going to be like running around shooting stuff but itís still going to have this slower pacing and so on, but it is going to be more action-based. In Penumbra you had the stop-and-solve-a-puzzle moments then youíd move on, this time we want you to always be moving forward, make it more fluid and concentrate more on adventuring and exploring. When it comes to the whole 18th Century setting we want to have huge scenery, things like big cogwheels and stuff as opposed to the more computerised stuff like security cards and that kind of thing from Penumbra. In the new game we want to have more big things to move round and I think that will be more interesting for the physics. Weíve also made the physics a lot better, simpler and more intuitive when it comes to messing around with them.
The full interview can be read by following the link below.

Strategy Informer: Penumbra Interview
Frictional Games
Penumbra: Overture
Penumbra: Black Plague
Penumbra: Requiem

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