David Brickley - Curse: The Eye of Isis
Asylum Entertainment speak to Ferrago on their latest...
Asylum are about to unveil their latest title to the world, the impressive "Curse: The Eye of Isis", a Victorian-inspired, action-adventure of the the third-person kind. We thought we'd probe their man David Brickley on the topic... The game looks like it's based around an integral plot, what is this premise, and how is it interwoven with the actual gameplay? David: Curse: the Eye of Isis is scary on many levels, and a good deal of that is supplied by character development within this initial premise. Obviously I don’t wish to give too much away, but the player will quickly learn that they can’t trust everything they see or are told. Basically, it’s a survival horror title set in the 19th century and begins with the theft of a priceless artefact. The player takes control of an engineer, Darien Dane, and his companion Verity Sutton, a beautiful clairvoyant. Together they must unravel the mystery behind the theft in an adventure that takes them from London to the dramatic and terrifying climax in Egypt. The period setting allowed us to have a great deal of fun recreating an era not only of great invention but tremendous style. The industrial revolution was in full swing, and the fictional ‘Museum of Great Britain’ setting which opens the game allowed us to get away from the bland, futuristic environments a lot of games seem to opt for, without sacrificing the ability to offer Victorian versions of modern-day machinery and weapons, so we have the best of both worlds. The course of the game looks to span many settings; tell us about the various environments and how you've recreated them. David: The team is very proud of the variety on offer. As I mentioned, the museum setting alone offered scope to make each room substantially different from the next, and really make the player feel equal amounts of dread and intrigue about what they’re going to find behind each door without it ever becoming predictable. One stage of the game sees you traversing the ocean on your way to Egypt aboard a truly massive ship – as with the museum, the team went on location to truly understand what buildings and boats of that period felt like, as well as researching and compiling hundreds of pictures for reference. We want the player to feel as though they really have been on a journey, and as well as the sheer scale of the environments, staging the action across such different continents allowed us to achieve an impressive contrast between the start and climax of the adventure. What visual trickery will be making the settings of the game come alive, and how will this add atmosphere to the experience? David: Making the environments impressive in scale was only part of our objective – the next was to make the player question practically everything they see. The beauty of the Curse and its power is that nothing is beyond its reach, so we set out to make the environments ‘come alive’ as much as possible. I mean that quite literally – but I don’t want to spoil too many of the surprises! Like I said earlier, we want to player to think “is this really a good idea?” before performing even the most basic tasks. What balance of action and puzzle-solving will gamers find, and what perspective/control methods are you using? David: There are dozens of different NPCs which must be overcome via a variety of weapons – some basic, some extremely meaty! – so the action is a lot of fun, and we’ve implemented a lock-on system which enables targeting different parts of your adversary’s body. The puzzle solving and exploration has been paid a great deal of attention so it fits in with the flow of the story – we wanted to avoid the easy route of saying “hey, it’s a game” when considering how certain tasks should be achieved, so although there may be great powers all around the main characters, they won’t necessarily be able to harness them in traditional gaming ways. Curse is played in third person but viewed via cinematic camera angles to help us give the key moments maximum dramatic impact. We’re effectively directing the action without going down the easy route of overdosing on cut scenes – part of the horror is in enabling the player to react when the shocks come, so they are almost always in complete control of the playable characters. Our game engine enables us to render all these events and environments in real time, and the atmosphere is heavily enhanced by extremely impressive lighting and particle effects. There’s an optional first person view which means the player can investigate anything they like at closer range. If they’re brave enough! How long will the game last? David: I wouldn’t want to put a figure on that, but as I said the environments are absolutely huge – this isn’t a game people are going to be able to rush through. What are the influences behind the title? David: We’re all huge horror fans – books, films and games – and there are aspects from each that have been utilised in Curse to give it an unsettling feel that anyone who likes being scared will appreciate.