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The Sinking City interview | Frogwares on lead character, lovecraftian and the future of the company

The summer of 2019 feels so much alive to these days. The Lovecraftian game The Sinking City has now released to all platforms. Except its Steam users will not access the game due to Frogwares exclusive contract with Epic Game Store. They have to wait until April 2020.

The Sinking City is an open world investigation game set in the fictional city of Oakmont Massachusetts. The flood has nearly destroyed Oakmont’s infrastructure with strange creatures assaulting on its inhabitants and resources. Private detective Charles “Charlie” Reed, a war veteran is assigned to investigate the mass hysteria around Oakmont and come across a town with dark secrets.

I sent over a few questions to Frogwares community manager Sergey Oganesyan about the sinking city and there future direction. Here is his reply.

1. What did Frogwares learn afterwards when working on Crimes and Punishment and “Devils Daughter? Any regret?

To be honest, our goal is to never make the same game twice. The Devil’s Daughter was a different experience than Crimes and Punishments. In DD we wanted to show Sherlock’s deeper emotional involvement in the cases, so it was sort of a more personal approach. We experimented with a lot of things in the Devil’s Daughter, we wanted to make the gameplay more dynamic and varied, while making the maps significantly bigger. We use the knowledge and experience we have obtained as well as players’ feedback to make our biggest project to date, The Sinking City, which will drastically differ from our previous installments.

2. Has Frogwares always have the freedom of working on their ideas without the pressure from the publisher to deliver the deadline?

We have outstanding relations with Bigben Interactive, which is the publisher of The Sinking City, and we are free to explore any idea we want. We wouldn’t settle for anything else, as our integrity and freedom mean a lot to us. As I previously said, we always want to experiment with our games, and Bigben is great at giving us that option. That’s one of the many reasons we work together.

3. If I may ask, why did Frogwares decided to end its partnership with Focus Home interactive?

As of today I think it doesn’t matter. It’s in the past. We have a great partnership with Bigben Interactive.

4. is there an opportunity in the future for Frogwares to self publish games like Ninja Theory did?

We are too focused on The Sinking City and our next title to think about that right now 🙂

5. How did Frogwares come to get involved with the Sinking city and how many in the staff is working on the game?

The Sinking City is a Lovecraft-inspired open-world investigation game, so you can kind of see that it’s a Frogwares’ creation. Many guys in our team are fans of Lovecraft’s works of horror fiction, including our CEO Wael Amr. We play the Lovecraftian board games, and there were numerous references to Lovecraft in our previous projects, like Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened, where we touched upon the Cthulhu mythos, not to mention Magrunner: Dark Pulse.

So, we always wanted to create a Lovecraft-based adventure because it’s part of our identity. Right now, we have about 70 people working on The Sinking City. It’s a big project, because we want to make a diverse world, which will give players a lot of freedom in terms of gameplay as well as story progression, which means choices and consequences. Our concept of ‘open investigation’ – again, detective games are sort of our trademark – is all about encouraging players to use their instincts and intuition while looking for clues.

6. Did the sinking City run into some problems during the development?

At first we tried out gameplay features, combat mechanics, and experimental character generator. There were a lot to do so it felt safer to push Sinking City release to this summer instead of the crowded spring. What I can say is, the development has been fast, and we were able to save A LOT of valuable time, thanks to the tools our software team made.

We recently unveiled our City Generator, which can make vast and most importantly diverse cities literally in hours, based on our commands and the content we prepared. (you can read more here)

https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/discover-how-frogwares-city-generator-is-saving-valuable-time-during-development-of-the-sinking-city, btw, feel free to post the link to the blog post or embed the video).

We have other instruments like that, where for example, we can write a conversation in our dialogue tool, press a button, and hokus pokus, it’s in the game.

We want to share our experience with other developers and our fans, and we will release the engine by end of this year.

7. What is Frogwares opinion on virtual reality?

The virtual reality is a fantastic concept, which could be a necessary step to make our gaming experience a thousand times more immersive. We’ve seen a ton of great VR games recently, so it’s hard not to feel excited about the future of the industry.

However, there are a few things to consider here. The technology still needs a lot of calibration, and things like motion sickness are a serious issue. Also, while some genres might be great for VR, like racing games for example, it seems that the best VR games are those, developed specifically for it, to avoid or mitigate certain limitations of the technology. Still, this might be something for us to explore in the future.

8. Has Frogwares received any development kit for the future consoles?

Not the way you think. Our CEO Amir Aml and a few more colleague from The marketing team did travel to see the PS5 presentation, which the loading times was five time faster than the PS4. We are very exicited about the future of gaming. We at Frogwares consider our studio as a AA portfolio and we will continue that road.

8. Finally is Frogwares considering expanding the studio internationally?

It’s not something we consider right now. We have offices in Kiev and Dublin and our management are satisfied with that.

Thank you Sergey for your time. And those who enjoy HP Lovecrafts horror. This is a game winner.

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