Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Interview with Alpo on Theory Interactive's debut game "RESET"

RESET logo
I don't know if you've seen the trailer for the gorgeous first-person puzzler "RESET," but HERE it is.  The game looks drop-dead gorgeous, and I'm a sucker for anything with a robot.  I'm also a sucker for gorgeous music in the background because then I know that the game intends to push the medium as far as the classic videogame goes.  That means that the people are making it more than a simple tactile experience.  The game clearly has an emphasis on visual style as well as auditory orgasm.  The video itself shows a bit of time-lapse as trees grow around a decrepit robot, which, to me, is striking and powerful.  You can find out more about the game and the team HERE.

I e-mailed the guys from Theory Interactive about the game and what was making it work and they happily responded.  Usually, this is a blog for music, but, to be honest, I don't really see genres and mediums as different.  One day they will all be combined, so why not start now?  It's all about story-telling and experience.  And this game definitely has that.

Alpo Oksaharju was kind enough to respond to my interview questions with a lot of wisdom as well as a lot of perspective.  It was really cool to see what he was saying about the game as well as the role of videogames in art, and furthermore, that of art itself.  It's a really cool perspective.

Final Moments in the RESET Trailer
The game is made by 2 people, Alpo and Mikko Kallinen, which is amazing because it looks so gorgeous, just like a hollywood videogame, in terms of graphics and the music is top-notch.  I had to know more about it and maybe so do you.

But anyway, Alpo's better at talking and most other things than me, so I'll let him do the talking:

Me:  Is "Reset" your first outing in making games?

Alpo:  We worked previosly at Futuremark on Shattered Horizon and 3DMark projects, so no for us as persons, but yes as a company.

Me:  Who all is helping make the game?  How did you decide to make the game?

Alpo:  We are a two man team, me (Alpo Oksaharju), responsible for writing and art, and Mikko Kallinen, responsible for tech and music. We share game design duties. I came up with the idea and together we molded it to a more tangible whole. It really is a dream project for us and we just could not let it pass.

Me:  What inspired the setting and the art style for the game?

Alpo:  We are eighties kids and we love sci-fi movies of that era. I'm also greatly into retroish fuctionalistic architecture. I guess inspiration came mostly from those.

Me:  The trailer is absolutely gorgeous in terms of music and graphics.  Is the game going to look and sound like that?

Alpo:  In short, yes.

Me:   Can you say anything about the game's story or premise?  It says it's some sort of puzzler, so can you talk about that at all?

Alpo:  It indeed is a first person puzzler with time travel. The player solves puzzles co-operatively with his previous versions. The player does an action and leaps back in time to complement that action. It's not a brand new idea, but we're making our own version of it. The trailer is filled with clues on what the story is about, so you might be able to get something from it.

Me:  What has the process for making the game been like in terms of having limited resources and a very rigorous outlook?

The Robot from RESET
Alpo:  The key really was in knowing what we wanted. After we knew, it was a question of finding ways to materialize them with really tight resources. So it pushed us to really think out of the box. Of course this couldn't have been achieved without Mikko, whos is not from this planet when it comes to tech.

Me:  What do you think gaming's role is in art and media?

Alpo:  I think it's starting to show signs of maturing, in a sense that it's being accepted more and more as an artform and not just entertainment.

Me:  What about music inside of games?  How central should that be?

Alpo:  Music is a very powerful tool in conveying feeling and mood, and games are an audiovisual artform, so I think music definetly belongs there. The level of importance varies depending on the game, some "need" it a lot, other not at all.

Me:  What has your music background been like?  You sent me stuff from your band Hevein, which seems a lot different than the music in the game.

Alpo:  I formed the band with Leif Hedström back in sticks and stones, playing metal covers, as most bands do. We stayed on the metal course and and recorded one album back in 2005. I left the band in 2008 to pursue this path. I'm a metalhead, but my music taste is very diverse. In audiovisual pieces music and picture should form a bond reinforcing each other. As I mentioned, music playes a big role in conveying and sparking emotions, so the musical style should also be in sync with the style of the images.

Mikko has been a music hobbyist for more than a decade. Mostly composing stuff on the computer, and he's starting to get really good at it. I was blown away when he first played the trailer song to me.

Me:  What has inspired the music for the game?

Alpo:  The story, mood and the atmosphere. Mikko composed the music based on the half ready script and our discussions of what feelings the story is trying to surface in the player.
The World of RESET

Me:  Do you consider making your game your primary occupation?

Alpo:  It is our primary occupation. We set up Theory Interactive in the summer 2011 and we've been working on Reset fulltime for 10 months.

Me:  What music and art and media are you into now?

Alpo:  We are gamers, but we are big movie and music lovers also. I guess it's safe to say that we're into all the arts. What ever sparks a feeling, the form doesn't matter. Can't stand Lady Gaga though.

Me:  Anything else you want to say?

Alpo:  Strength beyond strength, dudes!

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