On December 2004 we published
interview with the team behind Dead Mountaineer's Hotel (previously known as
Hotel 'At a Lost Climber'), Akella's non-linear point&click 3D adventure game
based on the original story by famous Russian sci-fiction writers Strugatsky
Brothers. Now that the game is almost finished, we caught up with Akella's
Andrey Sokolov to discuss the upgrades that his team implemented into the game.
He provided us with interesting information and 13 exclusive screenshots.
GGMania: To start off, can you give us a brief overview of Dead Mountaineer's Hotel?
Akella: Game title "Dead Mountaineer's Hotel" speaks for itself. This is quest based on
the same titled story by famous Strugatsky brothers. Player will have to take a
place of police inspector Peter Glebsky, who is stuck down in whirl of
mysterious and dangerous events, unfolding in snow covered and cut off
civilization hotel in the Alps.
GGMania: It's been a long time since we've heard anything on Dead Mountaineer's Hotel.
How is the game's development coming along?
The game is on stage of full-scale assembling. Now we have about 90% of all
artwork done. And in the current moment we're writing scripts.
GGMania: It was scheduled to release in Q4/2005. Why the delay? What's happened?
Akella: Everything's very simple. Take a look on the game screenshots made in 2005 and
screenshots made in this month. We understood, we could make game look much
better than we had hoped. Thus we and our publisher - Akella Company - made a
decision to extend term of development in favor of enhancing visual part of the
game. Many locations were severely redesigned; many were made anew, but, believe
us, that was worth it. Maybe this sounds too defiantly, but I think, Dead
Mountaineer's Hotel has the best pre-rendered backgrounds I ever saw in computer
GGMania: What can you tell us about the atmosphere of the game?
Akella: That's a good question which is not easy to answer.
From the very beginning of development we paid a lot of attention to atmosphere.
It is with it's help we intend to immerse player in the game world. It's hard to
explain in a few words, cause atmosphere is not made of one detail, but of many
little, even unnoticeable events which take place around player. Using them we
intend to make gameplay more exciting. World will live it's own life, be full of
mysteries; it will look, sound, hint and tell it's short stories. It will react
on player's actions, but at the same time, live independently of player. World
will be interesting, mysterious but for all that quite realistic. And when we,
game designers, believe and understand this world - our imagination and emotions
begin to work for us. And this is so cool.
Every moment player will feel that something is happening around him, every
moment something eludes him. We hope not only to reveal game story, show fine
pictures and captivate player with unusual riddles, but also make him feel
emotions… for the most part we'll make accent on danger, fear, loneliness and
It's hard to describe. But I hope, playing the game you'll see it, hear it, feel
what I'm talking about. And to achieve that, we'll do anything in our power.
GGMania: What kinds of puzzles are primarily found in the game?
Akella: Player is put before different objectives. But in general you'll have to collect
atoms of information from different sources, reject unnecessary, find links
between necessary, draw conclusions and use them to solve objectives put before
player. That is, for the most part, these are tasks that require using logic and
deduction, at times non-trivial. Some of the puzzles could be solved in
GGMania: Were there any types of puzzles you specifically wanted to avoid using?
Akella: Yes. All that would force player to go in for pixel-hunting, and puzzles,
solutions of which are not based on common sense.
GGMania: Which elements of Dead Mountaineer's Hotel do you feel you are the most proud
of? Will there be anything new that we've never seen before?
Akella: First of all, this is graphics and, I think, game world, which we try to make at
the most alive. I recon, I must mention, there're no puzzles in the game, that
couldn't be solved using logic.
GGMania: Who is doing the voice acting for the game?
Akella: It's hard to answer this question at this point, because recording of
voice-overs didn't begin yet. But it's highly possible that we'll engage
world-famous actors to record voice-overs.
GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?
Akella: Frankly, it's hard to bound music we're using with one genre. We have an unusual
approach as for using music in the project - it sounds almost always, but when
we want to make an accent on one or another game event, it's character will
change to correspond current atmosphere and surroundings. We have great ambient
tracks, perfect suspense track, tragic and lyric tracks - we use them like
colors in a palette during all the game, placing necessary emotional accents
where needed. Music in the game will carry out all the functions we're used for
music to do in computer games - set player's mood.
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be done? When
will it be released?
Akella: We only need to write all missing scripts, record voice-overs and bring the game
to life. And, of course, test it.
GGMania: Do you plan to release a playable demo?
Akella: Yes, this is rather possible.
GGMania: What kind of hardware should players have in order to experience good game
Akella: Game requirements are not that high, because all game content, excluding
characters and several objects will be made in 2D. In other words, your
computers don't have to strain - all calculations were made with our ones.
Although we intend to add in the game really effective things such as realistic
fog, per-pixel lighting, shadows and particles. All that will require player to
have videocard supporting shaders 2.0. But, of course, you can switch all that
GGMania: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Is there
anything else you'll like to tell our readers about?
Akella: Thank you. We appreciate attention you pay to our game and will make first-class
adventure, which we can be proud of.