Friday Nov 09, 2012
Recently we asked you, the internet, about your innermost questions about Ron Gilbert and Double Fine‘s new Adventure game – The Cave. From Facebook, to Twitter, and beyond, we received a massive list of Cave related questions to be answered by Ron himself. Read on!
I see that will have dragons and a climate medieval, but at the same time with technology and soda machines. What is the storyline of the game?
Ron Gilbert: The story is about a sentient talking cave that draws people to it so they can enter and hopefully discover something about themselves. Of course, we should all be careful what we ask about ourselves. We might not like what we find. As to why there is soda machines and dragons in the same game? Prove they didn’t exist at the same time. Exactly.
How did the concept for this game come about?
Ron Gilbert: It’s an idea I’ve had for going on 25 years and predates Maniac Mansion. The original idea was about three explorers that find this odd cave and go inside and learn some dark things about who they are. Over the years I’ve slowly worked on the story and I’ve always wanted to revisit choosing three characters from a group of seven like I did in Maniac Mansion.
Would you consider a sequel or shorter Downloadable Content episodes with different characters if the game were a success? I’ve seen some levels and it looks and sounds fantastic.
Ron Gilbert: I never like to think about sequels until the game is done, then I can relax and re-look at the game and see if there is anything else that needs to be said about the world, the characters or the story.
I heard that The Cave will be eventually be available for download on the Wii U. Will the Wii U version be any different? And when can we expect the Wii U game to be available?
Ron Gilbert: The Wii U will be available at the same time as the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions.
A group of oddball adventurers waiting at night outside of a single mysterious location — there’s some definite Maniac Mansion vibes in the Cave. How does Maniac Mansion inform this game, and are there any unfortunate microwave puzzles we should know about?
Ron Gilbert: No microwaves. Heh. Maniac Mansion had a pretty big influence on The Cave. I’ve always wanted to revisit that game and do the character selection right. There is something that has always appealed to me about choosing a “team” of characters to go into an adventure game. One nice thing The Cave does that Maniac Mansion didn’t is co-op. You and a friend/spouse/whatever can sit down and play the game together, controlling different characters.
You’ve talked about having adventure games evolve from the ‘click on everything with everything’ model. Is there something you’ve learned about how to present a puzzle that feels intuitive to explore while still being ‘difficult’?
Ron Gilbert: Not having an inventory was one of the biggest challenges of designing the game (but in a good way). The inventory can be a real crutch. You just load up the player with inventory and they will take longer solving the puzzle. Getting rid of that was good, but it did mean we had to really think about how to design the puzzles so they were still challenging (but in a good way) and fun to solve.
We’ve heard a bit about the character of the Timer Traveler — did you always know you wanted to incorporate ‘time’ as a way to deal with puzzles, and did that open up other avenues in the game design?
Ron Gilbert: I wanted to have The Time Traveler just because I thought it would be fun to have a time traveler. Once we start designing the game it became clear we need to play with her ability to travel in time. When you play her, you get to travel to the prehistoric past and into the far future and explore how the causality of time really works.
What inspired the art style of the game, and how do you feel it fits in with the story?
Ron Gilbert: We wanted something that was fun, but not too cartoony. We didn’t want to go with realism because that brings with it a lot of problems (having to make all the animations realistic) with it, plus it’s just not as interesting as being about the have some fun with the style. We also wanted a style that really allow the fun animations of the characters to come out. The seven characters you play with don’t ever talk, so relied on the animators to bring out their personality, and having a fun art style really helps.
Will you make me some pancakes?
Ron Gilbert: Sure! Blueberry or chocolate chip?
Ron Gilbert: 20 years ago, players didn’t mind being stuck for hours or even days on a puzzle, in some ways they expected it. Today, that isn’t true for the bulk of people playing games. There is so much that is pulling on our “entertainment time”. So the challenge is to keep players engaged, but also not make an overly simple adventure game. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to put “running and jumping” in The Cave. The game is not a platformer, but just having that fun activity while you go from place to place is a nice addition to adventure games.
Did classics like Super Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night have any influence on your game design?
Ron Gilbert: Not a lot. I drew most of my inspiration from classic adventure games. Maybe a little bit of Castlevania.
What happened to the Mobster character?
Ron Gilbert: He was “rubbed out”. Sorry. Mobster joke. He was cut because his character and story just wasn’t coming together as we had hoped. He was replaced with The Monk, who has ended up being a better character.
Can you fight like a dairy farmer in this game?
Ron Gilbert: No, but you can fight like a dairy farmer in real life.
If you had to pick a favorite character, which one would it be? Don’t worry, I won’t tell the others who your favorite is…
Ron Gilbert: I love all my children equally. Except The Knight. I love him a tad more. And The Twins creep me out.
Does Ron work out?
Ron Gilbert: You’ve seen pictures of me. I think they speak for themselves.
Thanks to Ron Gilbert for taking the time to answer your questions! If you love all things about The Cave, be sure to visit the official Facebook page and stay tuned for more information about game!
Posted by Julian in The Cave on 3:18:40PM Nov 09, 2012
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