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Dead Mountaineer's Hotel Interview (update)
(hx) 02:15 PM EST - Mar,18 2006

On December 2004 we published an 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?

Akella: 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 games.

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 uncertainty.
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 different ways.

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 performance?

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 effects off.

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.

genre: point&click 3D adventure
release: 2006/Q2
publisher: Akella

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