13 More Questions With... Fictiorama
A little over a year ago, we sat down with Madrid-based Fictiorama Studios to ask them thirteen questions about their then-in-development point and click adventure, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today. Now that we're all a year older, the game is on the cusp of being released, so we thought it timely to ask more questions about Kickstarter, the development and their hopes for the future. Read on!
GoPlayThat: How has the experience of shipping physical Kickstarter rewards been for the team?
Fictiorama Studios: We are currently working on that matter: our physical copies of the game will arrive just before release, and then we will start “customizing” them. We have started with the posters and so forth, though it’s still too soon to know when we will be able to start with the shipping.
It’s going to be really exciting to set up each box for our backers.
GPT: You got slightly more money than you asked for from the Kickstarter. In this circumstance, what did you do with this money?
Fictiorama: We reached our first stretch goal ($50,000) which was really cool! So, those were funds that were allocated beforehand. There’s never a chance for champagne for an indie team!
GPT: Your Kickstarter process seemed to have gone very smoothly. Were there any difficulties after finishing the campaign?
Fictiorama: It’s true that we always thought that our campaign could succeed: the numbers were fine, but after the first days we realized we were going to need to work relentlessly to get there. The hardest part of the campaign was the middle part, in which every campaign has some kind of a “flat” area: especially during those weeks we tried to spread the word as much as we could, release new art, feature new add-ons, publish videos that showed the day-to-day activity at Fictiorama…
Luckily, backers, media and mates helped us a lot, and we reached the last days of the campaign with options for it to succeed.
GPT: The big news is that Dead Synchronicity will be published by Daedalic. How did that meeting come about?
Fictiorama: When we first started with the project, if we could have chosen a publisher for our game, Daedalic would have been in pole-position on the list. They are developers as well, we love their adventures… and several mates had told us that they are really nice people.
We were aware they knew about our project, but before starting to contact publishers our main efforts during the first months of development were focused on the Kickstarter campaign, since we needed extra funds to finish the game.
Because of the campaign, the game started spreading, and some publishers contacted us as they were interested in it. One of them was Daedalic… and then our love story began!
GPT: What advantages are there to working with a publisher such as Daedalic?
Fictiorama: Firstly, thanks to Daedalic the game will feature full voiceover in English and German, and text in 6 languages (Spanish, English, German, French, Italian and Russian), which is much more than we could have afforded.
Secondly, they develop adventure games, so they understand the issues we might have (the same they face), and can easily help us to solve them
And, well… their PR and marketing departments have, of course, much more “muscle” than ours.
GPT: The final game is due to be shipped in April. What has been the most fun aspect of the project? Conversely, what has been the hardest part?
Fictiorama: The most fun and special part has been the whole process of seeing the game come alive: it’s been a long, long way to get here, and seeing the characters depicted, then interacting with one another, then hear them talking, then the music and the cutscenes, it's all really exciting.
The hardest part… well, I guess it’s about to come! After so many months of fussing over our little baby, in a few weeks we will see Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today leave through the door, as a grown up man! We hope out there he will meet lots of players who like it as much as we love it!
GPT: There’s a lot of voice acting in the game. How was the recording process?
Fictiorama: The first step is the casting, which is a very peculiar process: we sent Daedalic a description of how we had been “hearing” Dead Synchronicity's characters all this time, even with real actors’ voices for reference, and they offered us alternatives for them. It’s fun, because we had some of them really clear as soon as we heard some voices: in come cases, they nailed the selection.
Although it’s a very exciting process, it also involves making tough decisions; in fact, as tough as when we have to give the last OK to the artistic design of a character, before starting to make animations and so forth. But we felt that the casting was cool!
Alberto, the writer at Fictiorama, attended and supervised the beginning of the English voice recording and he really was astonished with the ability of some actors there. In fact, we are sure players are going to love the voices of characters like Michael, the Hunter or Rose.
GPT: As no-one backed the $4000 tier we guess you get to keep the original Azpiri poster. Where will you hang it?
Fictiorama: To be honest, we have mixed emotions about that reward: on the one hand, of course we wanted someone to pledge for it; original Azpiri drawings are very valuable, and this one, featuring a new, Spanish game, is very special!
But, on the other hand… well, we wanted to keep it! We have loved Azpiri’s works since we were teenagers, so having the chance to meet him, getting him involved in our project and having an original drawing by him, in which you can even trace the brush-strokes… is like a dream come true.
So, in fact it was a win-win situation, especially after we were sure the campaign was funded: if someone pledged for it, it would mean more funds for the game; if not, we could keep it.
It is in our office now, and we proudly show it to everyone who comes and visits us.
GPT: Earl still treasures his Spectrum copy of Army Moves. Do you have a favourite Azpiri videogame cover that lives with you to this day?
Fictiorama: Our favorite one is the Journey to the Center of the Earth cover. I remember we had it in our room when we were teenagers.
And now, of course… Dead Synchronicity!
GPT: Josh Mandel has already given strong acclaim to the game based on what he has seen so far. How does it feel to be recognized by game industry legends in your genre?
Fictiorama: To be honest, it’s amazing. We grew up playing the games designed or written by Josh Mandel, Ragnar Tørnquist, Steve Ince, Charles Cecil, Tim Schafer… and years later it happens that they see our own game, and they like it. They spread the word on social networks… and they even supported our Kickstarter campaign!
We have even met some of them personally, like Charles Cecil and Tim Schafer. They both played our game and gave us feedback!
GPT: Has the feedback you received from the alpha and beta stages changed the game in any significant way?
Fictiorama: Sure. There hasn’t really been a “public alpha” version, but of course we take note of every remark early players gave us; not only the ones we have asked for their opinion, but also what we observe about the players that tried the game at fairs and events.
For instance, we have “lightened” the beginning of the game, so that the players can start playing sooner: in fact, as soon as they have the essential information to start unraveling the plot. In previous versions the player got more information in the first minutes, so it took more time to start playing.
GPT: What’s next for Fictiorama Studios? Is there a second project on the table?
Fictiorama: Well, we have lots of ideas, some of them very cool! But for now we want to fully focus on the release of Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today.
GPT: Finally, Dead Synchronicity will receive a boxed retail version in Spain. How many copies are going to be available, and which retailers will they be in?
Fictiorama: We are not sure about the copies (I guess they will be re-stocked when they’re out of stock). About retailers, places like GAME stores, Media Markt, Fnac, Amazon, Xtralife… and much more!
Thanks so much again to the GPT crew for their support!
Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today will be released on Steam on the 10th of April 2015. If you are lucky enough to live in Spain, why not try to grab a boxed copy?