Some time ago, your intrepid adventurers took a trip to the National Geogrphic store in London to have a look at Nordic game’s new title based on the works of H Rider Haggard – Deadfall Adventures.
Whilst we were there I caught up with the game’s Associate producer/translator, and all round nice guy Martin Kreuch, to talk about Deadfall, What Nordic Games has in store for Darksiders and the other IPs they recently aquired from THQ, and most importantly, whether he’d raher fight a horse- sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horse.
Why did you decide to use the adventures of Allan Quatermain as your main source of inspiration?
Because he’s the root of it all, It’s where it all started. H. Rider Haggard is one of the first writers in the whole lost world genre and he’s the one we can thank for having all the pulp magazines, Indiana Jones, Uncharted, Tomb Raider, even National Treasure, not sure we want to thank him for that one. All these things in the lost world genre started with him and so it was really interesting for us to go back, read the novels, look at the original world he built and explore that.
How did you get to his (Quatermain’s) Grandson because in the novels he only had one son who died very young?
The timeline [of Haggard’s books] is broken but there are academic articles that analysed the dates and proposed a few reasons how it could work.
Personally I think that H. Rider haggard just made a few mistakes in timing, because it was the first time someone had done stuff like this, in our story world he had a son which he had a falling out with, that son moved to America, Allan Quatermain ha a number of sons in Africa, In the books they had the same name, those names get confused but it’s actually two people and the son that goes to America, is the father of James Lee Quatermain who also publishes the diaries so that’s how it works.
Nordic recently acquired a number of IPs from THQ, which one are you personally looking forward to resurrecting?
We’re resurrecting a lot of them and its ongoing, so definitely stuff like Darksiders, stuff like MX(vs. AGV), the MX community is very vocal, very nice guys that very often ask us like, when? when? when? when?”
I personally love the Red Faction series because I used to play Red Faction II loads on the Xbox and I liked that one a lot. But my personal favourite actually is maybe not one that springs to mind for everybody, is Deadly Creatures. It’s a tiny Wii title, it’s a small game, it’s so funny.
I love that game (no shit, I really do)
It’s where you pay as a tarantula or a scorpion…
..and you’ve got Dennis Hopper in the background.
Exactly, and that one, is one that for me and a colleague of mine is very dear to our hearts, it’s one to keep an eye out for because, well, when we set our hearts to something we’ll do it sooner or later.
But there are so many great franchises; we’re still in the process of analysing what we have, and then seeing what the next step is.
Are we more likely to see Darksiders 3 or a reboot
I can’t really say much about it at the moment because although there’s work being done on it, what’s most important to us is to have the original team, to have the guys that actually did it. So we’re in the process of getting the people who really know this game on board.
But with Darksiders personally I would rather we did Darksiders 3 because the story, like it’s not finished That journey that the first two began [isn’t over], so a reboot for Darksiders doesn’t make sense.
For me this is an ongoing story that needs to be finished, so it’s more likely to have a sequel than a reboot.
I feel the same way
Not everything needs to be rebooted all the time.
It is getting a bit ridiculous
Looking at next gen, what really excites you about the new consoles that are about to come out?
Well I have to say that they don’t change that much from the current consoles, so for me technically the most interesting one is the WiiU, but as we all know the WiiU isn’t doing that amazingly great, from an innovation point of view, for it’s me the only platform that has innovated a lot.
I think what is going to be interesting is how stuff like the Steam Machines, like the Ouya all these new consoles came out and how the approach is going to change because i don’t think people want to have like five boxes in their home it’s not where the trend goes, people want less boxes in their home. So I think the interesting thing about the new generation is which one can be the thing in your living room, the one that just, does it all.
For us it’s mainly, like the graphics are better, both Microsoft and Sony have promised to make it easier to develop for their platforms, so that’s quite interesting, like Microsoft giving away unity for free and this kind of stuff. That’s an interesting trend that I think is important, that I think has something to do with steam like really showing that, look, if you loosen up a little, here and there, it gives you more excitement, more creativity more different products, more interesting stuff to deliver to the owners of the consoles. So for me the big thing’s going to be when they’re really going to deliver on that marketing talk about it being easier to develop on their platform.
Are we likely to see Nordic Games turning up on the WiiU in the future? Or is it a case of it has to sell a bit better first?
I don’t know, It’s not just down to that, I mean, its obviously a case of whether it’s commercially viable to produce a game for a console. Another thing is that developing for any Nintendo console is always a unique challenge and you have to have experience with that. We are more experienced with PC, Xbox PlayStation and stuff like this, but we have done quite a lot of Wii titles. We’ve had talks with Nintendo about WiiU and stuff like this. I don’t know how likely it is in the near future, but it’s certainly not something we’d shy away from coz it’s a great console, it’s got a lot of options, it’s interesting and it’s always nice for developers and publishers because you can offer a very unique experience. But as for a timeframe I couldn’t tell you.
Going back to Deadfall Adventures, What was its main influences game wise?
Loads and loads, Farm 51 are veteran shooter players, so I guess you could start back at Wolfenstien and put everything in that has happened since then because they’ve played it all.
The main influences are definitely stuff like Uncharted, Tomb Raider: games that are in the same genre.
Also, not just games but the books, the Indiana Jones films, the Quatermain films, even though, well, they’re not that great, but they’re fun here and there, if a little trashy.
In terms of the multiplayer, if I remember correctly, Call of Duty and Battlefield. As in any industry you look at the big players, not just big players in terms of big companies, but the games that did it well and you look at how they did it, and you take it.
I think with this game there was also a lot of just looking at the genre and looking at what you usually do in lost world adventures and what part of that would be cool in first person. The compass in first person is better than in third because it’s right in front of your face and you see it spinning. So it was this kind of thought process of what, from all this stuff that normally happens, what really fits first person.
Are we likely to see map packs or any other additional DLC for Deadfall Adventures or is it a complete package as it is?
I’m not sure how much I can talk about that, Farm 51 might stone me afterwards, but there are plans for both single player and multiplayer DLCs, we’ve had a positive experience with releasing DLC for Painkiller HD which has 6 DLCs out.
The purpose of the multiplayer in the end is to give people the opportunity to stay in that world, that we’ve hopefully created in a way that they like to be there. So of course you want to keep that ongoing as long as possible, as long as they have fun until you deliver the next big thing.
That’s as much as I can say without being killed by a trap.
What do you think is the worst representation of Allan Quatermain so far?
What I really want to know is what you think about Allan Quatermain in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Movie?
I think the whole movie, like the way it was developed, was a very unfortunate example of people not caring about the original. It’s not Allan Quatermain to be honest. I like Sean Connery, how can you not like Sean Connery? But it has nothing to do with Allan Quatermain so I wouldn’t even say it’s a representation of him.
There has been some Criticism of the Quatermain books in recent years as coming across as racist, how have you tried to avoid that stigma?
In his defence, put it like this, for his time, they were quite modern, like it’s 1895 and he [Haggard] frequently, even in the first book makes a lot of statements for that time that were very modern, he speaks very positively of the people of Africa and of their gentle nature and one of the main character in the first book is an African tribe chief who is a very wise man, your classic wise native basically.
Of course if you want to take offence, you’ll find reasons to, but if you’re not able to read a book like this in the context of its time then maybe you shouldn’t read a book like this. It’s not like reading something Wagner wrote.
H Rider Haggard was not an ignorant man, he was not a hateful man, If you read the books they’re all about life, they’re all about adventure, they’re all about friendship between completely different people. Trying to interpret him to be a racist or misogynistic, it’s Bullshit,
You have to acknowledge the context of the time and really look at the books, for me, If you set out to see it as racist you’ll see it, but if you set out as lets read this book, you’ll see he had a very modern outlook and was definitely not a hateful man
OK, one final question; Would you Rather fight one horse- sized duck or a hundred duck-sized horses?
I would rather fight the horse-sized duck because the small horse would still have hooves and be incredibly painful, and difficult to fight while as the horse sized duck would still have the same weaknesses as any duck but my solution in either case would be to just run away screaming.
I’d like to thank Martin for his time, patience and a Marvelous interview.
Make sure to check our review of Deadfall Adventures, here