Stasis is an isometric adventure game that plunges players into a atmospheric story deep in space in a ship seemingly and suddenly devoid of life. They take the role of John Maracheck, a simple man on a mission to find his family.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Bischoff, the developer behind Chris Bischoff, about the upcoming game.
TechZwn: The game looks great. It’s good to see an isometric adventure game. I’m curious why you chose this route when everyone else seems to be going for first-person games or side views for adventure games – what effect do you hope to create though it?
Bischoff: I have always loved Isometric games. I remember playing through Diablo, just to revisit some of the cities and areas. The old Black Isle RPG’s, like Baldurs Gate, and the iconic Fallout series really are some of the my favourite games.
While I know that many Adventures Games for an ‘In the action’ first person, or a side on view, I think that Isometric graphics have a certain sense of scale about them. You can get your character to feel like a small part of a big world.
TechZwn: Just going by the first images and video from Stasis, you’ve done a good job creating the atmosphere, but we’re still left guessing about what the player will really encounter. You mention on the website there is “danger lurking in every shadow.” Can you talk about this a bit? How will this go along with the adventure mechanics?
Bischoff: I have really tried to keep the story a secret-which is quite difficult when talking about a genre that is very much built around the story! Ive found in many games that they relaly try to put you into the thick of things as fast as possible. It works in action games-but in an Adventure Game, I think that the slow build up is where the genre can set itself apart from others. Seeing something move in another room…reading a mysterious report….hearing someone being dragged screaming through a corridor.
The encounters in Stasis are linked to the story-so to get into just WHAT those dangers are would really give away to much! That said, The Groomlake, as a medical research platform, is filled with failed experiments, and science gone unchecked – from genetically altered fungus, and insect swarms to sentient computers and research into black holes.
Mechanics wise, I think that Adventure Games are the perfect vehicle for Survival Horror games. You have no weapons…no armour. You can only rely on your knowledge of the environment, and your wits to survive.
TechZwn: The game looks really unique. I’m curious what your inspirations are, and what elements from them you hope to build on with Stasis.
Bischoff: I’ve always loved Science Fiction. Anything from comic books, novels, films, computer games. The inspirations for Stasis are almost to numerous to mention! The obvious ones that share some DNA with Stasis are Alien, Aliens, and Event Horizon. Infact, I have tried to design many of the ships and vehicles in the game with the intention of them ‘looking’ like filmed miniatures!
Story wise, I studied the pacing of two of my favorite game series, Deadspace, and Bioshock. The way that stories are dealt with in games, compared to movies or novels, is vastly different. I really think that those two series have come the closest to a ‘film’ experience, while using the advtanges of the game as a medium. They are also beautiful games, where the developers have put as much attention to the world that the player exists in, as they have the other aspects of the game.
Graphically, Im inspired by everything from Doom, to Fallout, Commandoes, Planescape Torment, Star Conrol…all of those games have left their mark on me. I have a very large collection of ‘art of’ books, and directories FULL of screen shots from these games. Inspiration is never to far off.
TechZwn: You mention on the website, that “At its core, Stasis is a story about an ordinary man, in an extraordinary situation.” This sounds interesting. Could you explain this – what kind of story do you hope to weave?
Bischoff: John (the character you play), is not a wise cracking, ass kicking marine. He isnt a kitted out engineer. He isnt a genetically altered clone, He is a fragile, scared man, with a drive to save his family. Whenever someone is asked the question “How far would you go to save someone you loved?”, the answer is usually “As far as I need to” – and that makes for compelling stories! I really wanted to tell a story from *my* perspective. What if I woke up, in an unfamiliar place, and couldnt find my family.
Story wise, the game has 2 separate threads, that all weave together. The search for your family and the search for the truth about The Groomlake, Those stories however cross over into each other, driving each other forward.
The puzzles in the game really reflect this. You aren’t going to be able to hack into a security system, but you are going to be able to beat a camera with a wrench. Need to stop a conveyor belt? Jam a crowbar into it. Something is following you? Hide!
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Bischoff: Stasis is a complete labour of love. Its a 1 man production through an through, from music, sound design, and graphics to the planning and puzzles. The amount of support that I have gotten from the community has been amazing. At the end of the day, I’m really making a game that I would like to play. It has been an incredibly rewarding experience so far, and I know it can only go from strength to strength!