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Interview with Christopher Brendel
Jan. 31st, 2009
Christopher Brendel is a highly respected independent computer game developer,
and the man who leads a small team of highly talented individuals at Unimatrix
Productions. Chris’s first two commercial projects, Lifestream (2004), and Shady
Brook (2005), have received considerable acclaim from the Adventure gaming
I was privileged to have the opportunity to speak with Chris recently and, during
our little tête-à-tête, I was able to uncover some unexpected, and very exciting,
news for all of us insatiable Adventure game fans; viz. that Chris, whilst working
tirelessly on Stonewall Penitentiary, has secretly been creating another potential
humdinger of an Adventure game, and one that will be released BEFORE
Stonewall Penitentiary. Fans of his Lifestream and Shady Brook games may well
be delighted to hear what Chris has to say.
So, what are you waiting for? Read on ….
Gelert: First of all, Chris, please allow me to take this opportunity to thank
you for taking time out to tell me a little about your forthcoming Adventure
game. I know you must be very busy with your projects. I understand you may have
some interesting news regarding an exciting new Adventure game you have in
development, and that the game in question is NOT Stonewall Penitentiary?
Chris: Yes, that is true. In fact, I'm pleased to announce that, while
developing Stonewall Penitentiary, I have begun work on another Adventure
game, entitled The Filmmaker.
Gelert: That’s great news. Are you able to tell me whether The Filmmaker is
similar in nature to either of your previous Adventure games?
Chris: The Filmmaker is a first person adventure that will, in terms of format,
greatly resemble Lifestream and Shady Brook.
You will be pleased to know that it's not possible to die in the game. I anticipate
that the game will, more than likely, receive a "Teen" rating, or its equivalent.
Gelert: Can you tell me a little about the story in The Filmmaker?
Chris: The plot involves the exploration of an abandoned, haunted theater.
You must piece together the puzzle to find out what happened to the theater’s
owners. All you know is that it has something to do with a mysterious filmmaker
that started showing his movies at the theater a few months before it closed. In the
game you will explore both the theater and several of the movies created by
Gelert: It all sounds very intriguing. What was your inspiration for
Chris: The Filmmaker is loosely based on a game that I made as a kid, that I
titled "Prism". I was interested in game development my entire life, and, as a kid,
I used to make games in a program called Klik & Play. They weren't very good,
and I never released them to the public, but some of them had decent story ideas,
and this was one of them. While the core concept - exploring a theater and going
*into* movies - remains the same, the rest of the storyline has been
Gelert: If it were possible to do so, how would you best describe the sub-genre,
or sub-genres, of Adventure into which the game most comfortably fits?
Chris: The game’s genre would be best described as a ghost story or, maybe,
light horror. The game is certainly a puzzle-based Adventure, which is unlike any
of my other games, which focused on the game’s story as the driving event. This
time around, there aren’t any cut scenes to carry the story forward. Instead, you, the
player, have to piece the story together, based on your observations and actions,
carrying the game toward its conclusion.
Gelert: In terms of playing time, is it as long a game as your other two Adventures?
Chris: It’s difficult to judge the length of the game, as The Filmmaker relies
much more heavily on puzzles than either Lifestream or Shady Brook. As such, the
length of time it takes to complete this game will be directly dependent upon how
quickly players are able to solve the game’s puzzles, rather than a result of the length
of the game’s story.
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