Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy Interview (PC)

Strategy Informer: Firstly, could you introduce yourself to our readers?

Bryan Wiegele: My name is Bryan Wiegele and I'm the president of Big Time Games, an independent games developer in Foster City, CA.

Strategy Informer: We've had a bit of information on the storyline for Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy, could you tell us more about it?

Bryan Wiegele: In The Seacliff Tragedy, Delaware finds himself in a decrepit amusement park that closed a few years earlier when the back part of the park collapsed, killing over a hundred people. Here Delaware finds a family in need, who suffered many losses before the final accident.

Kelly Bradford, Delaware's partner and amateur paranormal investigator has tagged along this time, bringing with her a few gadgets to track the paranormal activity in the park. This case becomes especially dangerous when Shadow People begin to appear. These dark creatures exist to drain the life force from unlucky victims. Delaware and Kelly must keep these creatures at bay if they are to survive the night.

Strategy Informer: Could you tell us some of the main features of Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy?

Bryan Wiegele: We've given the series a complete upgrade from "point and click" to real-time 3D with a third person view. Moving from static images with movies to real-time 3D is an exciting move, we now have the ability to really make the environment alive and much more freedom to create more elaborate puzzles. Also, playing as Kelly allows you to hunt the park for signs of paranormal activity. Use gadgets like thermal goggles and EMF counters to track and record evidence of paranormal activity. Also, both Delaware and Kelly still have VIC, the Voice and Imagery Communicator. Players will be able to take pictures with VIC and then view them in their own gallery collection!

Shadow People are new to the series and must be kept at a distance. Shadow People cannot be destroyed, only scared away which makes them that much more sinister.

Strategy Informer: What can you tell us about the graphical and physics features?

Bryan Wiegele: Ironically, it seems graphically we're on par with our previous games! I say ironic since we've taken this big leap forward with the new engine only to appear from screen shots we're right where we were! The reality is our goal was to re-create the level of detail of our previous games in real-time and so far we've achieved this. The detail in the art really does show well and things will get even better as we move forward.

The game also takes advantage of many additional features such as physics, which will play a role in navigating the park as well as solving some puzzles.

Strategy Informer: Are you planning to release a demo for Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy?

Bryan Wiegele: Absolutely. Although this time our demo will be a format where the customer can download the full game and play for a restricted amount of time. If they like what they play they can purchase the game right there and play it through with no additional downloads.

Strategy Informer: This time you're taking the game in a different direction by advancing from point and click to real-time 3D, when and why did you decide to make this change?

Bryan Wiegele: Early into the development of The Seacliff Tragedy I felt we weren't reaching the potential I had originally set out for. Our "tried and true" engine was limiting both in graphic ability as well as logic for puzzle design. I knew in order for our series to grow we had to expand our ability to design. From the beginning I had imagined the Delaware series as a real-time exploration game with monsters lurking in the shadows. Back in 2004 we didn't have the time or resources to invest in a new engine so the game was redesigned to fit into the tech we had. While I'm happy with the first games for how they turned out, I'm much happier we will be able to present the latest game as I originally imagined them: third person perspective in real-time 3D.

Strategy Informer: What are you doing to insure this is a game Delaware St. John fans will want?

Bryan Wiegele: By moving forward I'm well aware there might be fans of the original who are reading about the updates and thinking "oh no, that's not the game I want to play!" but in reality it will be more of the game they want to play. There will be a difficulty setting that will turn down or off the "action" parts of the game to allow people who like to follow the story and explore the environment the ability to do so without feeling overwhelmed. One of the purposes of moving forward with new technology is to get more people interested in the series, not abandon the fans we already have.

Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the characters that we'll see in the game?

Bryan Wiegele: Delaware will encounter several trapped souls in the park, each with an interesting take on the events that happened in the park before the collapse. He will also meet a mystery woman appears to have her own agenda in the abandoned park. Kelly, meanwhile, will meet a woman who worked as a fortune teller at the park years before. She can't let go of the day of the collapse and returns looking for closure.

As for dark characters, The Hunter is back and stalking Delaware and Kelly as they try to navigate the park. Outrun this monster or it's lights out.

Strategy Informer: Could you tell us about the Shadow People that we've heard of?

Bryan Wiegele: Shadow People is a phenomenon reported by real-life ghost hunters as the appearance of a creature that appears to be a shadow but moves on its own. One theory is that while ghosts are the energy or memory left behind of a human being, Shadow People aren't human at all, but demons trying to enter our plane. In The Seacliff Tragedy the Shadow People are acting as guardians, to keep Delaware and Kelly from finding the truth.

Strategy Informer: As a gamer, what's your favorite part of Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy, what makes you proud to have helped create it and why is it a game adventure fans will want?

Bryan Wiegele: From a gameplay perspective it's great to finally have free roam of the environment, freedom to really explore. I love the Shadow People, they're very creepy in a more classic horror way, more "Night of the Living Dead" than "Friday the 13th."

The goal of this game is to expand our audience and create a game that fans of not only adventure games will enjoy, but anyone who loves a good creepy game.

Strategy Informer: Do you think we'll see some changes to the current release date?

Bryan Wiegele: I am very confident we will hit our target release date. Of course, nothing is certain and who knows what could happen to work against that, but as is, I'm expecting we'll be on time in November.

Strategy Informer: What has been the hardest part of development so far?

Bryan Wiegele: It's been a huge undertaking to throw away the "safe" technology we used for the previous games to work with a new engine. It's like a roller coaster, the turns, twists and loops push your limits and you're really looking forward to it being over but once it's done you get off and think "That was awesome".

Strategy Informer: Well we've come to our last question, is there anything you'd like to say to the fans of Delaware St. John: The Seacliff Tragedy which are eagerly awaiting the release of this interesting title?

Bryan Wiegele: The support for our games has been great, I really appreciate every person who's bought our games and I encourage anyone who hasn't yet to give us a shot, we're an indie developer so every sale counts. We're working hard to create games that many people can enjoy and we really do take the feedback we've gotten from customers seriously. I really hope people are as excited as I am for our newest entry into the Delaware series and I can't wait to get it to a demo status for everyone to enjoy.