From the Devs is a new daily feature where we find indie games with potential, and let the developers tell you about their projects and what makes them unique. Today we have Benjamin Hill, who manages the creative direction at White Paper Games, about upcoming indie game, Ether.
TechZwn: What’s your game and what’s it about?
Hill: Ether is White Paper Games debut title and is a self-funded first-person adventure game that explores human memories and emotional themes in a strange science fiction world, to be released for PC and Mac digital distribution in Q2 2013.
Ether is set in an alternative history where individuals who possess the unique gift of ethereal projection can cure mental disease and illness. These so-called ‘restorers’ can delve into the minds of their clients to fix their broken memories. In Ether you play as a restorer who has become lost in one of his client’s minds, a mysterious woman named Jean. The restorer, now unsure of his own identity, will only recover his knowledge of who he is by exploring Jean’s memories. This, however, can only be achieved via the discovery of three unique artifacts that eventually lead the restorer to understand his historical link with his client.
TechZwn: What makes your game unique?
Hill: Ether is an adventure game that really focuses on exploration. Through exploring the 4 worlds that are present players will be able to find pieces of story that will allow them to understand the strange environments that they are in and solve the puzzles needed to progress. Only through the exploration of your environment will you find your answersvia artifacts that lead you into Jean’s deep, broken memories. Strange, desperate scrawlings written by the mysterious ‘T’, and long forgotten marker stones found sparingly throughout Jean’s mind will provide you with the clues you need to piece together who you really are, and who Jean really is to you.
The game has an optional interactive QR-code system that allows you to extract information from the game and bring it into your real existence. This information can be shared with friends through social media to highlight your progress in the game and to chart your narrative path through Ether. Once found, these QR-codes (hidden inside the ‘marker stones’) also become available within the hub world as memory dioramas; these hold visual information available to ALL players – not just those with QR-enabled devices. Another key feature of Ether is its unique and compelling hand-painted art style that invests the game with an overall 19th century science fiction feel.
TechZwn: Where did the inspiration come from?
Hill: Ether takes its inspiration from many sources – from H.G. Wells to Philip K. Dick, and from Harold Harvey (a local painter from Cornwall) to the more recent Backwater Gospel Animation. We really wanted to create something that used science fiction as a jump board to explore other features that everyone can relate to, like memories.
I guess we really feel like literature and film have had a greater influence on us over game although we have always enjoyed and admired games that have exploration and stories at the heart of them as well as puzzles.
TechZwn: Is there anything you saw in modern gaming that you’d like to change or build on with your game?
Hill: I don’t think there is anything in modern gaming that we would change necessarily as we feel that the video game medium should be as diverse with content as possible. I do however wish that the gaming mainstream didn’t need to focus on unnecessary violence so much, or at least make room for more non-violent mature titles. As our focus in game creation is narrative driven I guess that we want to build on the great steps that have been made in recent years with narrative being intertwined with game play, pushing it to new heights.
TechZwn: Is there anything else you’d like to say or talk about regarding your game (or gaming in general)?
Hill: I guess to summarize Ether I would say that it is a game that has been created to explore our own personalities as developers whilst also allowing players to experience that sort of exploration within an exciting and intense world and we hope that people out there are interested in that sort of experience.