March 32nd – Developer Interview Part 1
March 32nd – Developer Interview (Part 1)
Never has there been an episodic flash-based game that allows players to shape the events of the rest of the adventure. March 32nd, independent game developer Chromed’s debut project seeks to provide gamers with a deep and immersive cinematic thriller experience where each of the main protagonist’s decisions matter; and these decisions are watched by the game, scripting an ending that’s unique for every player. A very intriguing game indeed.
Think of it like an interactive TV series, where the player controls the direction of the story.
In March 32nd, players take control of detective Jake Dreschler as he takes up what seems like a straightforward missing persons case. What starts out as a man hunt turns into something much more sinister as supernatural events start happening around him. The people he meets during his investigation all carry their own mysteries with them, all with their own secrets and agendas.
Who can Dreschler trust?
I had a chance to talk with Chromed’s James Youngman, Designer, Writer, and Project Manager of March 32nd about the company, the game, and their plans for platforms releases.
Check out part 1 of the full interview and the teaser trailer after the break.
JTM Games: Could you talk about Chromed as a company?
James Youngman: Chromed is a small independent startup studio here in Seattle and its a bunch of passionate people here who are wanting to do this cool new project. And we have this nice space and a creative culture, where our principal staff are our creative people.
JTM Games: What kind of platforms are you guys working with or like working with?
James Youngman: Well right now, we are working in Flash for March 32nd and that’s going to be our principal platform, but we have plans for expanding out to other platforms later as hopefully the success of the game will merit.
JTM Games: I’ve read that Chromed’s goal is to push the evolution of interactive media; how is the company planning to do that?
James Youngman: Well, March 32nd as a project itself is going to be pushing the narrative-driven nature of games and how the interactive nature of games allows for narratives that aren’t possible on other medium. Additionally, we have some other plans that we’ll be revealing later on.
JTM Games: Let’s talk about March 32nd, Could you tell us a little bit about the game?
James Youngman: March 32nd, is an episodic adventure game. You play as a detective named Jake Deschler who is investigating a missing person’s case, and he comes to find that there is some supernatural activity going on in the world. He finds that he has to investigate that as well as this missing person’s case.
JTM Games: How long has the game been in development?
James Youngman: We’ve been in pre-production for a number of years. We have a very elaborate story and we’re essentially inventing the mechanisms by which to produce such a story. So we spent a lot of time on that and we have, more recently in the past year, been ramping up the production of the game itself.
JTM Games: Could you tell us more about the protagonist Jake Deschler?
James Youngman: Jake is a detective; he is a former police officer, who is now working as a private investigator. He’s a not-so-glamorous guy, he doesn’t take the big high-profile, high-paying cases. So this case for him is more money than he’s used to getting. And it seems like a straightforward case so it’s a big opportunity for him.
JTM Games: Could you tell us about Chromed’s inspirations when writing and creating the story for March 32nd?
James Youngman: This is definitely a very noir game. We’ve been inspired by a lot of the detective fiction and crime fiction. The key example that keeps coming up is Blade Runner which is a fantastic film that all of us on the creative staff are big fans of.
JTM Games: The game is an internet TV series, what is the time frame between releasing each episode?
James Youngman: So the course of the game is going to be broken up into two seasons, and there’s going to be a mid season break. It’s two six-episode seasons. And for each episode within the season, is dependent on how long the actual filming takes place. This is not a film production that happens before, again, we’re having to invent a lot of the tools and it will be dependent on that, but we will keep it fairly tight. We’re hoping within a month, to a month-and-a-half between each episodes within a season.
JTM Games: How long is each episode? How long would a single playthrough of an episode be?
James Youngman: For a player who is just going through the core experience, you’re looking at between an hour and an hour-and-a-half of gameplay per episode. Whereas the player who’s interested in exploring the world and seeing what else there is and having that deeper experience will definitely be longer.
JTM Games: You mentioned exploration; what type of exploration can players do? Could you elaborate on it?
James Youngman: There’s going to be both physical and narrative exploration. Players will be able to to see more of the physical world that March 32nd takes place in, as well as learning more about the characters and the various entities and the other smaller mysteries that exist in the world.
JTM Games: Each decision the player changes the course of the story, how many paths, directions, and endings can be obtained in the game?
James Youngman: We haven’t settled on endings for the game yet, but we are planning to have quite a few available to the player.
JTM Games: I remember being part of the green screen pictorial/video session at PAX, how many pictures, actors, and extras did you get in total?
James Youngman: We have gotten hundreds of people from PAX, hundreds of extras. We have also cast eight of our main characters.
JTM Games: Could you tell us about some of the other characters that Jake will be interacting with?
James Youngman: He is searching for a young woman named Matty Blake who has gone missing. He will come to find that there’s more about this young woman than meets the eye. He also works with his former partner from his days on the police force. As well as a number of other administrator whom he did not expect to find.
*END PART 1 OF CHROMED INTERVIEW*
Check out the second part of the interview with Chromed regarding their debut game March 32nd which will be published on Tuesday, October 18, 2011. Until then check out this teaser trailer from developer Chromed.