Gameguru Mania got a chance to talk with Akella's producer & acquisition
manager Andrey Batanoff as he talks about Hotel 'At a Lost Climber': Inspector
Glebsky's Puzzle, their upcoming non-linear point&click 3D adventure game based
on the original story by famous Russian sci-fiction writers Strugatsky Brothers.
Hotel "At a Lost Climber" will be released in Q4/2005.
GGMania: Could you introduce yourself to our readers and tell them a
little bit about what you do on Hotel "At a Lost Climber"? What games have you
GGMania: How is Boris Strugatsky involved into the creation process?
Andrey Batanoff: Hi. My name is Andrey Batanoff and I am producing,
helping creating game design and concept for Hotel "At a Lost Climber".
GGMania: I've seen Hotel "At a Lost Climber" movie many years ago, so I don't
remember much what's the movie about. Can you explain the basic plot for this
upcoming adventure game?
Andrey Batanoff: First of all, we are developing game based on novel, not
a movie. Movie was not really good adaptation of this great story, you know.
There's short description of the movie from official Strugatsky brothers'
web-site: "Urgently called, the police inspector has arrived in a hotel, and
didn't find any crime, but noticed some strangeness occurring there. He has
decided to leave, but a snow avalanche is crushed in the mountains, making it
impossible for him to leave. Soon, inspector has found a body of a dead lodger.
Everyone who lives in the hotel is under suspicion..."
Currently we don't really clarify itself our position with scenario of the
future game. It is possible that we will just follow the original story, or we
will make some kind of sequel. Boris Strugatsky currently insists on sequel. I
am sure in one thing - all happens in the same place, like just in story and the
Andrey Batanoff: Our company has long-term partnership with Boris
Strugatsky. I want point on that we are developing not only "Hotel", we are also
developing "Hard to be a God" (working title) RPG based on Strugatsky Brothers'
famous same name novel. He is our consultant and he really helps us keep
atmosphere of his stories in our games. I hope we will continue our cooperation
GGMania: Is the game linear or nonlinear?
Andrey Batanoff: Hotel "At a Lost Climber" will have nonlinear story.
GGMania: Is the game primarily adventure or does it have action components?
Andrey Batanoff: I think, it will be primarily adventure game, not
action. Maybe there will be some little action puzzles. But we don't want to
discourage any adventure games fans.
GGMania: Can we expect similar atmosphere like in Benoit Sokal's Syberia?
Andrey Batanoff: As I write before, we are trying to move unique
atmosphere of Strugatsky Brothers story to this game.
GGMania: The press release claims that "the gameplay is based on the "living
world" concept". Can you explain it?
Andrey Batanoff: Did you played The Last Express? In this game all
characters were independent from the player - they just lived in the train
itself as it hurtles through Europe. We will try doing the same thing in Hotel,
but with much advancement. It will be "real-time" quest, if you understand me. I
cannot tell you more details, sorry.
GGMania: What kinds of puzzles are primarily found in the game?
Andrey Batanoff: It is too early to disclose these details.
GGMania: Will it use mouse for inventory management and manipulating things
in the environment or is it all keyboard controlled?
Andrey Batanoff: I personally don't like adventure games that use only
keyboard. Except, maybe, Grim Fandango - Grim was an excellent game so it was
easier to forgive the keyboard interface :) At the moment the mouse is the best
computer interface for adventure games. Certainly, the keyboard is not! So, In
Hotel player will control things only with mouse.
GGMania: What can you tell us about the engine that is being used for the
Andrey Batanoff: The game uses our own in-house graphical engine, which
was created specially for adventure kind of games. In the game, there will be
many weather effects and day/night changes. I don't know what else to say about
graphical specs in adventure game :)
GGMania: Who is doing the voice acting for the game?
Andrey Batanoff: We are planning to invite some popular Russian actors
for voice work, however, I don't know yet who will act our characters in
GGMania: What type of music will be played during the missions?
Andrey Batanoff: We don't know yet...hard to say.
GGMania: What's the current status of the project, and what remains to be
done? When will it be released?
Andrey Batanoff: As I told here, we had started developing of this game
few months ago. Currently we are developing a scenario and making game locations
concepts. Release date - End of 2005.
GGMania: What is your personal favorite game? Least favorite game?
Andrey Batanoff: My favorite? Fallout, Broken Sword and Grim Fandango.
Last good game I've played is Half-Life 2. Most disappointing game? Probably
Doom3 and Master of Orion 3.
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
Andrey Batanoff: I just want to add, that I'd advise you to read at least
one Strugatsky Brothers book.
Ed.note: I would recommend to read
PICNIC. It was the first book of A.& B.Strugatsky I've read when I was 15.
After that I have re-read it 2 or 3 times. Brilliant thing about the meaning of
life, about the place of human being, about happiness and despair. You can
understand this, if you understand in what country this book was written.
I'm Czech, so it's easy for me to understand the ideas behind the story. Developing the theme of postcommunist society, authors have created their own
world, and you can find a lot of analogies and heroes that are common for some
other books of them. Yes, Picnic is one of the best, but don't stop - there are
other exciting works such as Beetle in an Anthill, Monday Begins on Saturday,
Hard to Be a God and of course Inspector Glebsky's Puzzle. Sadly, I don't have
this one in my library.