Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Exclusinterview: Karl Fitzhugh (Relentless Software)

The Trace is a new detective game on iPhone and iPad that released last Thursday, developed by the makers of the Buzz! franchise Relentless Software. It's not a departure for them though - Relentless have also developed the critically acclaimed Murder Files detective game. Anyways, I managed to get an interview with Game Designer Karl Fitzhugh about The Trace. Here's what we discussed...

So the story is about the investigation of an apparent suicide, and it's penned by esteemed writer David Varela. Why is story important in The Trace?

Our goal with The Trace was to create a really immersive game that players would get drawn into. Having a compelling storyline is just as important as the tactile way you interact with the game world - it was really important to us that players engage with the crime story and find themselves wanting to discover what happened and how the events unfold. Having a strong story enables that immersion, and quickly becomes a huge motivator for players to progress, so teaming up with David was key for the game's development.

How do the game's mechanics work, and how have you made them accessible for touch controls? How does the game stay deep and immersive, while being on a mobile platform?

When we were designing the game we were constantly thinking about touch controls, and how to ensure that everything worked in a natural-feeling way. The over-arching principle was that everything you interact with in the game world should work like it does in real life, whether it be pulling a light cord to turn on the lights, turning a key in a lock, or anything else. This familiarity allows players to immerse themselves much more deeply in the game world, because they're not having to interact with it in an abstract way. Mobile platforms, with their touch controls, actually make this easier to achieve in many ways.

Will the game be playable in short bursts, or require a lot of time to get into?

It's definitely possible to play in short bursts - your progress will be saved automatically - but we hope players will be immersed and find themselves playing for more than a few minutes at a time!

Last of all, you guys at Relentless seem to love making detective games, but what's your favourite murder-mystery style game that hasn't been developed by yourselves?

Cluedo is a big favourite at Relentless.

The Trace is available on the Apple App Store for £3.99.

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