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Adventures of Sherlock Holmes:Silver Earring Q&A
(hx) 10:10 PM CEST - Jul,01 2004

GGMania got a chance to talk with Serge Geraschenko of Frogwares, as he answers a few questions regarding to Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring, the upcoming point-and-click adventure game. He revealed that they will provide the demo in the end of summer and the game will be realized world wide in September 2004.

GGMania: Please start off by introducing yourself and giving us an idea of your involvement with Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring?
Serge Geraschenko:
We are a Game Development Company, dedicated to creating high-quality, graphically rich and impressive games for adventure gamers. The silver Earring is our third game, and it is the first on which we are truly independent, on every levels, production, planning and money, and it allowed us to increase drastically the quality of the game. Our purpose with this game is to stick to the character of Sherlock Holmes both on his personality side and his environment. Players will really feel they are in London in the late Victorian years, they'll go back and forth to 221b Baker street, wander in the docks, disguise as a beggar.

GGMania:  Can you give us an overview of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring, telling us what the game is all about?
Serge Geraschenko:
Certainly! The scenario was written by a true Sherlock Holmes admirer. We start the game at Baker Street, which is the central place of the game - analyses the facts and hints, gives orders to Baker street irregulars, meets Lestrade. We travel in London and it's surroundings. The story begins with a strange murder and continues with more. We use Sherlock Holmes method and language to go further, and investigate the crime! We also went to London and make thousands of photography, breathe the air Holmes breathed and feel the touch of Victorian atmosphere.

GGMania: From where did you get the inspiration to make this game?
Serge Geraschenko:
There are three main reasons, which give us an inspiration to make this game:

1. The genre. We love adventure games, and Sherlock Holmes is an excellent base to work with, if you are true fan of mysteries and investigations.

2. The style: We love Victorian style, and I personally love England. At the Victorian time, England was at the top and you can feel it everywhere, even now - In their smart, self-confident attitude, in the size of their empire, in the quality of their armchair, and of course in their literature. Also, as you know graphics are really important for any adventure game and recreate the true Victorian reality in a game is an extremely exciting challenge!

3. The main reason: We made a game, which is interesting to play for us.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the storyline of the game?
Serge Geraschenko: In May 1897, Sherlock Holmes accompanied by Dr. Watson comes to a party organized at Sherringford Hall by Sir Melvyn Bromsby, construction tycoon. All guests were invited to welcome his daughter, Lavinia, who has just returned to England. In fact, Sherlock Holmes was more attracted by the famous singer Gallia who was supposed to perform during this reception. It is rumoured, that during his opening address, the host has to announce something of great importance concerning the future of his business. It is 11 P.M. People crowd near the bar. Sir Bromsby appears, accompanied by his chief associate, Hermann Grimble. He takes his place on the stage. Sir Bromsby barely starts welcoming his guests, when suddenly falls to the floor. There is a darkening red stain visible on his tuxedo right over his heart… The Guests panic. Lavinia Bromsby runs toward her dying father...
Holmes decides to act quickly, not waiting for the police to come.
Inquiry begins…
Why was Sir Bromsby so worried before he started his opening address? Lavinia Bromsby, his lovely daughter, is she so innocent? Who and what was the murderer trying to hide with this murder?

GGMania: How many other characters are available for the player to interact with? How many plots and sub plots?
Serge Geraschenko:
In this game there are 40 characters and 3 hours of different dialogs; there are about 40 different scenes and locations:
- Baker Street
- Sherringford Hall
- Forest, ruins, and Richmond Abbey
- Cement factory
- And many others

GGMania: Is the game linear or nonlinear?
Serge Geraschenko: The game is linear, there is only one truth as you know. But we choose a third way out of linearity and non linearity :
The player gather many clues during the investigations divided in 4 categories :
- the items, (hairs, powder, dust, )
- the report : all the observations made during the investigations (footsteps, smelling, tracks, …)
- the testimonies : who said what
- the documents :texts and photos

The player will use these clues to answer some questions asked by Sherlock Holmes at the end of everyday of investigation. This gameplay allow the player to play Sherlock Holmes, gather the same elements, but not to reach his thoughts until the very end of the game. we follow Sherlock Holmes all along the game without entering his inner soul as in the books or the movies : the player has the same elements as Sherlock but will withdraw his own deductions and conclusions.

GGMania: Is the game primarily adventure or does it have action components?
Serge Geraschenko: The game is an investigation in the Sherlock style, in all his 60 adventures Sherlock use only twice his pistol, and few times boxing, it would have been an heresy to make a fighting Sherlock Holmes. But there is other make to do action : stealth elements for example, timed sequences, or passing near guards at night without being noticed. These elements are part of the story and make our game different from other adventure games.

GGMania: What kinds of puzzles are primarily found in the game? Were there any types of puzzles you specifically wanted to avoid using?
Serge Geraschenko: Sorry, but The Silver Earring will not be a classical puzzle-driven adventure game. It is more an investigation game, including everything you need to make an investigation and find who is guilty. You can do almost everything Holmes did. Investigate, talk to witnesses, make the different tests, etc… There are some logical puzzles, action using combination of found items, not too hard but still challenging.

GGMania: Will it use mouse for inventory management and manipulating things in the environment or is it all keyboard controlled?
Serge Geraschenko: "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring" is a regular Point-and-click game. So, mouse should be used. From other side, keyboard also can be used if necessary. /ALT-TAB for example :) / ESC used often too.

GGMania: How many hours of gameplay can we expect?
Serge Geraschenko: Thanks for the good question! Everything depends on the time you can dedicate to the game. If you play once a month, two years should be enough :) You can completely walk through the game during 20 – 25 hours, depending of the skillfulness of the player.

GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the game?
Serge Geraschenko:
That is one we used for "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" game, but we remade a lot of things in engine after that game. Appeared some additional components
- improved path-finding
- Real-time weather effects (rain, fog.)
- more animation on background and
- more sophisticated animation of characters

The maximal resolution is of 1600*1200, it means that player having screens from 15- 19 inches and even more will enjoy high-quality graphics of the game.

GGMania: Who is doing the voice acting for the game?
Serge Geraschenko: We co work with twelve British actors, and all the voices are original. All of them are super talented! Our British publisher Digital Jesters really enjoy the quality and acuteness of the voices.

GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?
Serge Geraschenko: We use original classical orchestral music of Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Dvorak, …
As in "Journey to the Centre of the Earth" the music has been played by Ukrainian Symphonic Orchestra of 40 musicians. Personal opinion: Sounds perfect!!!

GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be done? When will it be released?
Serge Geraschenko: The game is finished. Right now we are testing and polishing we also have to finish the last movie of the game, which is 23 minutes (yes there is no mistake) and will deliver a unique entertainment for the player.

GGMania:  Do you plan to release a playable demo?
Serge Geraschenko: Of course! The gamers will get the demo one month before the release. We will provide the demo in the end of summer; the game will be realized world wide in September. The various publishers have their word to say about the demo release so we wait for a while.

GGMania: Which elements of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring do you feel you are the most proud of? What is your favorite part of the game?
Serge Geraschenko: The characters certainly, I think they are very much alive!

GGMania: What is your personal favorite game? Least favorite game?
Serge Geraschenko: Morrowind and Daggerfall

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?
Serge Geraschenko: Thanks for reading us, thanks for playing with us!

Related links: homepage, movie trailer (50MB)

genre: adventure
release: September 2004
developer: Frogwares
publisher: Digital Jesters

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