Recently we reported on The Mystery of Oak Island Kickstarter and talked about this in-development point’n’click adventure game. Well, Thomas Dibke over at Visionaire Studio was kind enough to take out some time from his busy schedule and answers some questions for a Mystery of Oak Island Q&A with us. Here are his answers to our questions, so read on to get some extra information about this upcoming adventure game. Enjoy!
To start, could you give everyone a quick overview of The Mystery of Oak for those that don’t know about the game?
Absolutely. The Mystery of Oak Island is a thrilling point’n’click adventure game for PC, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android with a dark storyline that is based on the legendary treasure hunt on Oak Island – Nova Scotia, Canada. The mystery of Oak Island started in 1795 when three men discovered a mysterious stone containing hieroglyphs and indications of a fabulous treasure. An incredible treasure hunt began that also included former US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. But all these people found were dead ends, elaborate traps, or even their own demise. To date, six treasure hunters have died on Oak Island due to unexplained circumstances.
We thought this would be an epic plot for an adventure game – and so we started the work about a year ago. But one day we realized that it would be pretty hard to create such a big and professional game without funding or a publisher. This is when the Kickstarter idea came in mind.
What do you have to say about the state of the adventuring game genre in general right now?
The genre of point’n’click adventure games has ever been, and will ever be, a niche. It’s not a multi-million dollar market with hundreds of thousands of gamers – mainly because of the special way of storytelling and gameplay. For us it’s like some kind of art-form. Playing an adventure game is like reading a good book. But we are glad to see that the genre became more popular in the last years and the market is growing. Maybe because these kind of games are great to play on mobile devices like iOS or Android Tables.
With our own adventure game engine, Visionaire Studio we did a lot for the genre. For example we were very glad being able to support developers like Daedalic in the development of their games. When Daedalic started with A Whispered World they were a small indie team. Today they are a big company with a lot of award winning games. That’s just great to see.
Where would you like to see the genre go and how does Oak Island fit into that picture and advance the genre?
Honestly we are not working on a revolution of the genre. Our game is a classic point’n’click game, but with a modern and easy to use interface, beautiful high-resolution rooms and cut scenes and an amazing, orchestral soundtrack. But above all you need our game because of it’s thrilling and intense story and atmosphere.
Why do you think the Oak Island legend is a good setting for the game?
Just because it is a real story and one of the last unsolved mysteries on earth. Which narrative form would be better suited for such a game as this other than the classic point and click adventure genre?
How closely does your story match what is known about the actual legend?
A lot of it matches with facts of the actual legend. You will investigate and discover all of the myths and secrets like the flood tunnels and the hieroglyphs. You will explore places like the dam, the swamp, the shoreline, and of course the excavation area. The island will be fully explorable. In addition you’ll have to visit several places within Nova Scotia, the underground of the island and different places all over the world.
Can you tell us a little bit about each of the three playable characters?
We want them to be varied – with individual habits and skills. Our main character, Jamie, is a confident, brave guy who always has an ironic or sarcastic comment on his lips during his investigations. This brings a special, spicy humor into the game without breaking the dark, gripping atmosphere.
Then there’s Ann, his girlfriend. She’s studying literature in Oxford, which enables her to support Jamie from afar through research when he has a question or a complicated problem. She will also have her own playable, parallel storyline in London and Oxford.
Finally there’s another mysterious playable character from the past who will give you precious insights into the historic events, of which some will be crucial in certain situations, in the present. Thus we are covering two different interwoven timelines.
The Kickstarter mentions that there could be up 20 hours of playtime (depending on funding). How much playtime do you anticipate each character will have?
At the moment I can’t say exactly, but I think Jamie would have up to 40% of playtime, while the other two persons have about 30%.
Will there ever be any sequences where Jamie and Ann are played at the same time and players need to swap between them to solve puzzles?
Yes, definitely. If you think about Day of the Tentacle you know how this will be managed. Some puzzles can only be solved with the help of special characters, special skills, and research. Additionally, there will be classic dialogue puzzles. Ann is also quite whimsical and doesn’t always want to dance to Jamie’s tune. So they will certainly have some wild disputes, and we gonna work this out in some of our puzzles. 🙂
How involved and how often will be the puzzles be in the game? Will there be a decent range of puzzle difficulties, and can players expect to solve more challenging puzzles?
For our taste, most of the games that have been released recently were too easy and too casual. We don’t want that in Oak Island. The handling of our game will be easy, but the game will be challenging because of the different times, places, and game characters. There will be a wide range of all kind of puzzles. Some puzzles can only be solved with the help of special characters, special skills, and research. Also you will find a lot of items, and for sure there is a need to use and manipulate them. Additionally, there will be classic dialogue puzzles and whatever else we love in classical point’n’click adventure games. You have to deal with strange incidents, other treasure hunters, murder, and dangers of all kind. You can die, you can get killed. We want to make the game an intense and a most thrilling experience with a great storyline and interesting gameplay.
The Kickstarter mentions some tiers have possible access to a beta if Greenlit. Will the beta involve the entire game, or will some of the game be withheld so that players have something to look forward to?
This is something we haven’t decided yet. 😉
Without spoiling any of the story, can you talk a bit about how the different timelines will be interwoven into a single story?
It’s difficult to explain without spoiling too much, but to make it short: There is an incident in the past that you have to reveal. Discover the secrets in the past, and use them in the future. Unfortunately you are not alone, and time is running out.
Is there anything else you would like to tell everyone about The Mystery of Oak Island?
Deep digs need a lot of supporters like engineers, mechanics, motivators, visionaires and financial backers. People like you! Every single supporter counts for us. So we appreciate your ongoing help on our Mystery of Oak Island Kickstarter.
Please also support our Thunderclap. Thanks!
There you have it. Be sure to check out The Mystery of Oak Island Kickstarter (which still has seven days left as of writing this), and considering supporting the game!