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Theseis Q & A

Xboxic recently had a chance to talk to Demetris Papadopoulos, Product Manager for Theseis. Theseis, under development by Track7, is an adventure game set in modern day Greece that is thoroughly steeped in creatures and elements of Greek Myth.

XB:
Ok, first up, what exactly is Theseis?

DP:
Well, Theseis is a document of some sort. All i can say is that the document is very very old and our first trailer explains a little of how it came about.

XB:
What exactly do you do in the game, the Theseis website states that the game features “Frantic action and intriguing puzzles”, what exactly does this entail?

DP:
First off, I’d like to explain that we have chosen a non-aggressive approach with Theseis. This means that the player will not use physical violence to overcome situations. Using your Grey Matter to trap and disarm can be as effective as shooting a big gun at someone. Sometimes enemies are useful alive. Running, climbing, swimming and lots of the standard platform/action elements will be present in Theseis. The player can die by falling, and to deadly traps and enemies, but we haven’t made complicated puzzles with a time limit. We think it would be unfair to the player to do so. There are also other game ending scenarios like being discovered or caught. Due the non-violent nature of Theseis sneaking is one of your options to navigate the levels. There will also be magic abilities that our characters will obtain during the game.

XB:
What exactly is the “Grey Matter” you refer to?

DP:
Well you can call it knowledge from the Characters perspective. What he knows, what he discovers as he plays the game will be needed to solve the different puzzles and mechanics used in the game.

XB:
So could you give an example of how the player can use this to interact with enemies?

DP:
How can I trap this enemy? What are his weaknesses? Discovering a clue to the answer will lead you to success when you finally meet up with the enemy. Or certain enemies need help in order for your character to get what they need. You will have to discover what this is in order to satisfy the enemy. But he will not tell you, you will have to use your knowledge that you gained till this point and time and what you have found. It’s a good question, however I’m very reluctant on giving more information since I’ll be giving examples that might give away things we don’t want to share as of now.

XB:
You mentioned the other playable character, how do the multiple characters come into play?

DP:
The player takes on the role of each character depending on the games story. They aquire different magic abilities which allow them to solve different situations and that is what determines to which locations they will go. They discover this during their investigation. Both characters beliefs and ways are very opposite from one to another. It’s something like X-files and their own characters Scully and Mulder. I’m only talking about their beliefs nothing else so don’t think we are making an X-files game, it’s nothing close to it, it’s just a way to describe the characters better.

XB:
How heavily does the platforming element come into play? Is it simply a way to get from one puzzle to the next, or does it function as a puzzle itself much like the platforming elements in Prince of Persia: Sands of Time?

DP:
We have puzzles that require information gathering (NPCs, books, and computers) of course you use the information to solve a puzzle or a riddle or to find a location. We also have puzzles that require a more hands on approach to solve them, they might remind you of Rubik’s cube in style, but they are simpler to complete and require more logic than trial and error. We have puzzles that require the combination of items in which you use the inventory system. The inventory system allows you to see objects in 3d and discover the way in which objects can interact with other; this allows for interesting puzzles and item features. By the way, we feel and believe our inventory system is something we haven’t seen in other games. We feel it’s our innovation in this type of genre. And that will separate us from the rest.

There will be mechanical systems at some points in the game, which will help you get on another platform et cetera. The environmental elements in the game, sometimes serve as a puzzle to proceed. Something that is very basic, turning the lights in a cave for example. Now how did lights get in the 2000 year old cave for example? There must be a generator. How do I turn the generator on when there’s a part missing? But like i mentioned, this is one of our very basic puzzles that reflects the environmental factors. There will be bridges, there will be doors, and some will be used as a puzzle mechanic. Coming to mind, there is a level which is full of platforms just to give you an idea, that yes there will be platforming elements that serve as a puzzle. Don’t forget our characters will be able to use acrobatic skills, with climbing features available as well.

XB:
Ok, you mentioned the inventory system and combining items, will this be a system of trying to find the way that the items are supposed to be combined, or will it be more open ended, without any single “correct combination”? Will the combination process simply be trying to find the way things are intended to be combined, or will it feature a more open ended approach with many combinations that can be used to solve the same puzzle?

DP:
Our inventory features a system that allows a hands on approach to object combination and interaction. It allows the player to explore ways in which he can combine objects, solve puzzles, and interact with. However, i can’t answer the question regarding the different and many combinations. Excellent question though.

XB:
Now correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I saw a minotaur at the end of the game’s trailer, how will the Myth of Theseus play into the game?

DP:
Well you just saw just one of the many! Let me elaborate, there are many stories surrounding our Greek Myth. We researched, read, and picked the best ones that would be implemented well with our scenario. You will be living the Greek Myth through our game, and through our ”Greek Developers” that know the Greek Myth very well. This, we believe will put our player as close to the truth (myth) as possible. Our locations in the game, are based on real places. We have been to these locations, each one has a history. We have researched, taken pictures, and read about these locations. The Mythological characters that are depicted in the game are from the Myths we have read and researched.

We felt that since this is our first game, and since we are the only company in Greece creating a high budget next-gen title, from Greek Developers, we needed to make a game that included Greek culture. We saw how the Greek Myth is being depicted, in movies and games, but none of these developers has been here to relive it. And for some reason they never seem to get it right. We are here, we believe in our culture so much, we are proud of our culture. And our myths are World known, taught in schools as well. So we feel proud to bring out a game that depicts our myths through us as Greek Developers. Did I mention our offices are located in the heart of Athens, in Monastiraki? It’s one of the oldest squares in Athens, overlooking the Acropolis. One of our levels in the game is actually Monastiraki.

XB:
Your PC demo will be out in May, is there an Xbox demo in the works, and if not do you plan on releasing any media on Xbox Live before or after the release?

DP:
Our PC demo will be ready in July; however this demo is not going public until one month before we launch our game. We are in the middle of discussions with major publishers. And the demo will be given to publishers that are interested in our game. We have plans of releasing it on the Xbox Live Marketplace before its release. The demo is currently being played with an Xbox 360 controller in order to get the feel right for the Xbox gamer.

XB:
will there be any difference between the 360 and PC versions?

DP:
Graphically we think our game will look the same if not a little better looking on Xbox 360. The differences will mostly be in regards to the addition of achievement points, and we are thinking of the leaderboards in regards to what players will be able to see. Maybe something like other players’ scores or comparing times in regards to solving puzzles. Nothing has been finalized as of yet.

XB:
How do you think the popularity of Greek-related culture, specifically the film 300 and God of War 2, will affect how your game is received? Do you think that the hyper-violent nature of these will affect how the public sees Theseis?

DP:
Well, Greek-related culture is quite popular, especially now. We knew that whatever the time the game will be completed it will still be popular. That’s the good thing about making a Greek Myth related game. People are always interested in this type of thing. Now, in regards to the non-violent approach we are taking, we thought it would be good to take this other approach. You see violence in many games and movies. Why not give people another perspective of this Greek culture without the use of blood and gore? I think people will respect the fact that we are bringing something new to the table without the violence, and with a strong and interesting scenario, that will be fun and ”cool” and interesting to play.

XB:
What made you decide to develop your own engine as opposed to licensing one?

DP:
If we have the talent in creating an engine, why not do it? It will benefit us in the long run, not to mention the fact that we didn’t have to spend extra money in licensing an engine. We are currently developing on DX9.0, and we feature the latest in shaders and shadows.

XB:
If you could go back to before you started working on the game and change one thing about the game or the way it was developed, what would it be?

DP:
More people and more organization. See the thing is, we are all new to this business. The developers from my point of view are very talented in what they do. And they have proved this, by even building a whole engine from scratch for Theseis to run on. This engine is also going to be used for our future games we are planning to develop. So getting back to your question, organization was one of the major factors we couldn’t get right in the beginning. We aren’t a huge developing studio as many of the others out there today. It would have been nice to have more people in order to complete the game earlier, but we are coping just fine now. The team is dedicated to this game, as well as their passion to create this game.

XB:
Do you have any final thoughts?

DP:
If you like Greek Myth, and love living it as close as you can, then just grab this game when it comes out. The game is entirely depicted in the Greece of today, created by the Greeks themselves, with a mysterious underground world that is unknown, with mystical mythological creatures. If this doesn’t grab your attention, then I don’t know what will. One more thing, people might have jumped the gun at us. Whatever videos and gameplay footage that has been on the internet, we would like to state that we know the animations looked choppy, but that had to do with the fact that the game was at it’s pre-alpha phase. Everything has changed for the better.

Thanks to Demetris and Track7 for taking the time to answer our questions. Theseis has no release date as of yet, but stay tuned for more info in the coming months.

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14 comments on 'Theseis Q & A'

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Comment by HALO MAN. on 2007-06-05 19:59:53 | Reply

never heard of this game before. I hope this game don’t suck……

Comment by ghost on 2007-06-05 20:08:59 | Reply

Looks cool

Comment by BadIronTree on 2007-06-05 20:17:42 | Reply

From the photo on their site i can see acropolis and some stores i know….. now i know were their offices are :PPP
i will pay a visit :)

Comment by nofear360 on 2007-06-05 21:46:58 | Reply

Nice interview! It’s good to see Theseis coming along well.

Comment by H1tchman on 2007-06-06 09:44:45 | Reply

Yeah sounds promising.

Comment by ThugKing on 2007-06-06 18:11:53 | Reply

Yeeaahheeey Theseis gonna rock!!! I hope to shake all over the world!!!

Comment by Lazor on 2007-06-06 20:08:45 | Reply

WOW!!! I WOULD DEFINITELY BUY THIS GAME!!

Comment by gamefanatic on 2007-06-06 21:01:10 | Reply

great looking game! about time they came out with an action/adventure for xbox360. It needs it! and this looks sick!

Comment by Mat on 2007-06-07 17:14:09 | Reply

I love Greek myths and i like that this game aint a hardcore shoot+kill game.
This means its playable by all ages.
I wonder how the new engine is gonna be, sure seems promissing.
Definatelly gonna check this game when a Demo comes up.

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Comment by Spyros from Greece on 2007-07-16 16:55:24 | Reply

This seems to be a decent game. As a Greek gamer , i HAVE to buy it :)

Comment by The_Glovner on 2007-07-16 17:35:37 | Reply

You maybe want to think about changing you handle while you are at it to avoid any embaressing asociations with the shitty little cutesy dragon pish.

hmm, minotaur, cleavage, man trying to break into an equipment paddock. it feels greek.

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