The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief Interview

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With point-and-click action-adventure games growing exponentially more popular in the past year, many gamers have been looking to secure a satisfying fill of this immersive story-telling genre.  Unfortunately for them, there aren’t many full-fledged, high-quality titles on the market.

KING Art Games is a German developer that’s relatively unknown; however, they are really good at what they do.  One of their previous point-and-click adventures, 2011’s The Book of Unwritten Tales, was greatly received by critics and players alike, and even secured an ‘Editor’s Choice’ award from IGN.  They hope to continue this success, and add a unique flavor to the action adventure genre, with their newest title: The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief.

I had the privilege of hosting an interview with Marco Rosenberg, Game Designer at KING Art Games and Co-Author of The Raven, where we talked about the direction the game is headed, and what makes it special.

With The Book of Unwritten Tales, people were quick to praise the beautiful graphics, amazing voice acting, and brilliant writing.  With such a high bar set, how are you seeking to exceed that level with The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief?

For The Raven, we are striving to achieve a similarly high level of graphics, but while our previous adventure games featured 3D characters in pre-rendered 2D backgrounds, we now use real-time 3D graphics for everything. This enables us to achieve a more cinematic look with changing camera angles and camera movements.

Before, we didn’t spare any expense regarding voice-actors. We have a marvelous cast using several different accents and dialects to emphasize the international diversity of the characters in our game. The setting and writing is more serious this time, but players can still look forward to some amusing moments.

We put a lot of effort into writing meaningful dialogue. Each conversation or remark has a purpose – advancing the story, widening the world, deepening the characters and/or providing the player with information for puzzle solving.

When it comes to making games, KING Art clearly has an unwavering passion.  Is it the team’s goal to create an immersive, emotional experience from the get-go, or are you just creating the kind of game you enjoy playing?

Actually, it’s both of those reasons that keep us going. With each game we try to create a game that both ourselves and the players will enjoy, and that we will be proud of having created. Since it takes such a long time to finish a game, it is especially important to make something that doesn’t get on your nerves or loses appeal while you work on it. Now, nearing the end of production on The Raven, we often look at scenes of it and think to ourselves, “wow, what a nice game”. So we must have done something right there. :)

In The Raven, it’s been stated that we’ll be able to see both sides of the story – both of the master thief and the investigators trying to hunt him down.  When playing as opposing characters with very different goals, will it be challenging to care for each protagonist?  And how will this work from a gameplay perspective?

You experience the story twice. First you play the investigators and see the story from their point of view. Then, the story starts anew and you play from the perspective of the burglars, giving you a whole new angle on the events. There are several twists in the story, and only after playing the whole game will the player see the big picture. I can’t go into more detail without giving away too much, but we’ve made sure that players will care for each of the characters they control.

It is hard not to compare adventure games nowadays to the wildly successful The Walking Dead of Telltale Games.  Were there any influences drawn?  What separates The Raven from other similar point-and-click adventures?

The work on The Raven started long before ‘The Walking Dead’ was released, so we weren’t influenced by it. Interestingly enough, we had similar gameplay ideas as Telltale Games. For The Raven we use a very cinematic approach, with changing camera angles.

 

We also make the puzzles comply with real world logic, or at least movie logic. You can only do things in the game that would make sense in the real world too. For example, you can’t put huge objects into your trouser pocket, like Guybrush Threepwood did. If you pick up an axe, your character is carrying that axe around in his hand, and if he or she needs both hands for another action, the character will put it down to have both hands free.

The Raven has been described as a ‘fast paced point-and-click.’  Can you tell us anymore about the basic gameplay mechanics and how much of a focus relies on solving puzzles?  Or is the game more geared toward enjoying the ride?

The Raven is an adventure game, so there will of course be puzzles in it. What makes it fast paced is that story is king for us and therefore we didn’t include any elements that could slow down the pace of the story. The puzzles we have in the game are all integrated with the story and serve a purpose. We didn’t place any puzzles just for the fun of it or to stretch playing time. That way players can enjoy a thrilling, fast-paced story without being stuck in one place for too long.


The question is everywhere: ‘Who is The Raven?’  With such a dark and mysterious main character, can you tell us anything about him other than the fact that he’s a master thief?  Will we get to learn of his past and motivations, or is The Raven really as mysterious as he sounds?

That’s one thing the player has to find out by him- or herself by playing the game. One thing we can reveal is that The Raven is a gentleman thief, who doesn’t hurt anyone during his burglaries and only steals from the rich. You can find out a little bit of his past in a free interactive graphic novel we released recently.

(You can play and enjoy the interactive graphic novel here)

The game is slated for release in three chapters.  How often will these chapters be released, and how long can we expect a single chapter to last?  

The three chapters will be released at an interval of one month, starting July 23rd. After all of them have been released digitally, there will be a boxed version containing all three chapters on disc.
Each of the chapters will be about 6-7 hours long, depending on the style of playing.

Currently, the season pass for The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief can be preordered from the website, along with some other digital goodies, at a discount (€19.99, or around $26 USD).  With release dates for each chapter slotted at July 23rd, August 27th, and September 24th (with a full retail release to follow), there is little reason not to see what KING Art Games has in store.

Less than a month away, The Raven could be the most creative title of 2013.  Stay tuned to SpawnFirst for our review of the game!