INTERVIEW – In Conversation With Bryan Wiegele (The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates – An Adventure Game Kickstarter, Perpetual Games)

By Marty Mulrooney

The Red Queen of Oz Two Fates Kickstarter Interview

The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates is an exciting new point-and-click adventure game based on the graphic novel The Red Queen of Oz. Currently being developed by Perpetual Games (the team hope to raise $40,000 via Kickstarter to fund the game by the 25th January 2013), players will take control of Dorothy and Alice as they revisit curious locations in Oz and Wonderland and quest to find a way to stop the Red Queen of Hearts from destroying both lands. AMO is therefore proud to present an exclusive online interview with veteran game designer Bryan Wiegele!

Hi Bryan, thank you for your time and welcome to AMO!

Thank you for having me!

Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself please?

My name is Bryan Wiegele and I’ve been in game development for 17 years. Most recently I’ve been fortunate to get the opportunity to work on a dream project, a graphic novel, and now I’m trying to get support to turn that graphic novel into an adventure game.

As a game designer, you’ve contributed to the development of more than a dozen finished products in the last 16 years, including the hugely popular Delaware St. John series of adventure games. Is game creation your passion?

It really is. I was one of those kids who just knew what he wanted to do as young as seven. I lost so much time to the Atari 2600 and Colecovision and even back then I would wonder why they made games play the way they did.  I’d wonder why they chose this level layout or this game mechanic over others. In high school I remember telling my guidance counsellor I wanted to design video games. He told me there was no such thing and I wanted to be a programmer. Funny enough, he was right. Back then there weren’t college courses for game design or development. You could only be a programmer or writer or an artist.

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What’s been the game project you’ve enjoyed working on the most?

That’s really impossible to answer. I’ve worked on so many wonderful projects with such talented people that it makes it impossible to choose a favourite. Every project had its own strengths and weaknesses but overall I’ve thoroughly enjoyed them all and am grateful to have been able to work with so many talented people.

How did you become involved with artist Simon Rosati and what can you tell us about him?

I met Simon when he replied to a posting I’d listed seeking a graphic artist to finish a puzzle game I’d been working on called ‘dillos. I needed someone capable of delivering top-notch art to the story scenes and Simon excelled. It was his artistic demonstration there that led me to want to work with him on the graphic novel.

When was Perpetual Games founded and how many people are on the team?

The LLC was founded in February, 2011 and I’m the only person associated with it full time. Though contractually, I work with about a dozen people at a time, depending on the project.

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You recently announced The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates via Kickstarter. What can you tell us about this game?

The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates is an incredible project. It’s a point and click 3D adventure game focused on puzzle solving, exploration of the lands of Oz and Wonderland, and interactions with the very memorable casts of both worlds. This project is special to me because it’s my first attempt at breaking out of the first person adventure game and the possibilities third person offers are amazing. We’ve got big plans for this game!

Is the game based on ‘The Red Queen of Oz’ graphic novel, or is the graphic novel based on the game?

The story behind the graphic novel is something that I’d been thinking on for years, originally concepting it as a game. However, it became clear that doing a game would have been too expensive so instead I started to think of it as a graphic novel, something I’ve wanted to create for a long time. With Simon on board to illustrate the story, we gave it a shot. Now with the graphic novel in production to come out in a few months, we wanted to take it to the next level. We want to create a game that is the “director’s cut” of the graphic novel. It follows the storyline of the graphic novel but with much more content and time spent in the finer details interacting with more characters in more locations.

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Will the game and graphic novel overlap in any way?

The game will follow the overall story of the graphic novel but will include much more that wasn’t possible in an 88-page story. The game features more characters, locations and events than the graphic novel.

Is The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates a traditional point-and-click adventure game, or will there be other gameplay elements?

The game is a true point-and-click adventure game. However, we do have an additional layer of gameplay that is optional to the player. This is turn-based combat featuring Alice, Dorothy and the cast of characters they encounter along their way. Our approach of letting people play the game as a point-and-click adventure, a turn-based RPG game or any mix of the two gameplay types is what we’re calling “Play your way”. For those who don’t find turn-based combat appealing, they can skip it completely and never feel like they’re missing out on the story progression. We wanted to try something different and let people approach the game how they’re most comfortable doing it.

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Will the game be fully voiced? Which voice actors are already involved?

We are currently auditioning many wonderful voice actors for the many roles featured in the game. We’re getting close to making announcements for the particular actors that will be involved. That should happen within the next few days.

Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz have been adapted in various ways (in both video games and other media) over the years – what makes The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates stand out from the crowd?

What makes “The Red Queen of Oz” stand out is we’ve approached the project as a sequel to the original “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” books. We aren’t a retelling of either story, we’re a completely new story that takes place after the events of the first book of each series. There are some wonderful twists that link the two worlds together and take advantage of the unlikely pairing of characters from both worlds.

Who is composing the game’s soundtrack?

Todd Kinsley is doing the game’s soundtrack. I’ve been working with Todd for about 8 years now and he’s just amazing. He’s someone I’ve been able to rely on to come up with soundtracks in just about every style of game. His new work for “The Red Queen of Oz: Two Fates” will be spectacular. I’m excited to have him involved.

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Why did you choose to crowd-fund the game via Kickstarter? What benefits does Kickstarter offer?

I looked at Kickstarter and Indiegogo. I didn’t like the approach Indiegogo took which was you get what you get and you’re still on the hook for the development. With something like a game, it’s critical you get the most you can. Making games is incredibly expensive and to make good games you really need every dollar you can get. This is why I decided to go with Kickstarter. It’s better for everyone if we simply don’t make our goal and the project doesn’t get made than to get half the money you need and try to make a good product out of that.

You’ve asked for $40,000 – how will this money be spent if the goal is reached?

$40,000 is less than what a normal studio would pay an entry level designer for one year of salary. Because we all work from home offices and everyone is doing the work via contract we can use this money to afford our most basic monthly living expenses and work on this full time for half a year.

What rewards can backers look forward to?

We have some amazing rewards. For as little as $15 a backer will receive a DRM-Free copy of the finished game for their choice of Mac, PC or Linux. We also have amazing handmade sculptures and plush toys of Cheshire Cat, t-shirts, finely detailed resin miniatures and more!

If the game doesn’t reach its Kickstarter goal, would you consider pursuing other avenues of funding?

Absolutely. This is a passion project that we all believe has amazing potential. We will always be open to other ways we can get this game made.

Thank you for your time Bryan – and good luck with the rest of the Kickstarter campaign!

Thank you very much, Marty! My team appreciates you taking the time to talk with me about our project!

For more information – and to pledge your support – please visit:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1065983707/the-red-queen-of-oz-two-fates-an-adventure-game

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