Red Johnson’s Chronicles Interview

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Red Johnson’s Chronicles Interview

Red Johnson’s Chronicles is the most recent addition to PlayStation Store from French indie Studio Lexis Numerique:

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I immediately fell in love with this innovative Crime-Noir Adventure and many gaming journalists have picked up the game and came to the same conclusion I did: it is a real gem.

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One of the advantages of my job is that, if I like a game, I can get in touch with the developers and talk to them to find out more background. The following interview is with Djamil Kemal from Lexis Numérique and I sure hope that you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed the game.

PSBlog: With titles like eXperience112 and In Memoriam, fans developed a specific expectation towards Lexis Numérique games. What is the gameplay like?

Djamil: Thanks for the compliment (smile). At Lexis Numérique, we always try to bring innovation because it’s in our DNA. In Memoriam (aka Missing: since January) was one of the first wide scale Alternate Reality Game and Experience112 tried something new in the adventure genre by not letting you control the main character but her environment.

With Red Johnson’s Chronicles, we didn’t try to bring a total revolution to home consoles but we believe we bring something really fresh. Red Johnson’s Chronicles’ innovation lies in two elements: the mix of existing genres (adventure, investigation, puzzle games) and also in its large ambition for a downloadable title.

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As in classic adventure games, you’ll have to explore different environments, talk with different characters and try to unlock situations. But in addition to that, you will also have to carry a real investigation: search for evidence, analyse your clues, compare them with each other to find a match, confront your witness to put them over the edge. And last but not least, you’ll have to use both your brain and your fists. To achieve your goal, you’ll have to crack many puzzles that are original and that perfectly fit the script. You will also have to fight sometimes. The action sequences are based on Quick Time Events: you don’t need dexterity, but you have to quickly press the right button at the right time to give a jab, a little bit like in Heavy Rain for instance.

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In addition to the mere gameplay, we hope that the overall game will prove to be very ambitious for a downloadable game. This 8 to 10 hours long investigation/adventure is set to highly detailed backdrops and we gave much attention to the soundtrack and voice acting.

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You can have more information on our site or on our facebook page.

PSBlog: Where do adventure games stand in the modern gaming world?

Djamil: Adventure games seem to have suffered a lot those past years. This can be partly explained by the fact that adventure games were mainly PC focused and that most of the non-core gaming market has moved toward home consoles.

Contrary to what it seems at first sight, we think that adventure has not disappeared but has spread. During the past years, many of the best-selling games have worked because they have a very strong scenario and a deep background. No one would say that Mafia, Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption or Black Ops are adventure games, and yet everyone praises the script writers. Hence, going back to the roots and creating adventure games today for gamers that are not into action makes sense.

PSBlog: What are the inspirations behind Red Johnson`s Chronicles?

Djamil: Obviously, we were really inspired by classic 50′ and 60′ Noir movies for the scenario. But movies like Pulp Fiction also have their part, as dark humour is an important part of the game.

For the environments, we were impressed by director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s (Aliens) more personal movies like Delicatessen (anachronisms, packed city) or the vision of Arkham City in Batman (huge city with small streets). Metropolis City, in which the game takes place, is a mix of America, Europe and Asia.

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PSBlog: Why did you leave PC and start developing for PS3?

Djamil: The reason we decided to go for home consoles is the amazing emergence of downloadable content. We strongly believe we are living a golden period in the video game industry where we can propose innovating games to a very large audience, try new things and take risks. When you develop a Blu-ray Disc game, the cost is so high that you have to limit your risks by limiting your creativity. The marketing often comes before the creative teams. With PSN, we can act differently.

In addition, this period is really important for us at Lexis as, for the 1st time in our history, we can discuss directly with our players, without going through a publisher. This changes a lot of things.

We’re currently working on several other downloadable games (not all announced) and we can guarantee you that they will be part of the most ambitious titles available on the PSN.

PSBlog: Can you tell us a little bit more about your previous games portfolio?

Djamil: Lexis Numérique is now one of the largest European game design studios, but we’re still a small company compared to the huge US teams. Hence, we decided, since the beginning, to work on two major elements: innovation and top quality.

As mentioned above, we created several innovative adventure games, including In Memoriam (aka Missing: since January) and Experience112 (aka The Experiment).

But we also brought innovating titles in a field that was, back then, totally ignored by game studios: kid games. We created many kid games, including the Uncle Albert series, the Imagine: Fashion Designer series and the Horsez series.

We’re currently working on Three PSN games:

Amy: it’s a very ambitious and original survival horror game created by Paul Cuisset, the author of Flashback and the Motor Racer series. We’re going to release new information soon but you can already check out the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/AMY.thegame. The feedback so far is really good.

The Pooyoos: if you look at the stats, the PlayStation Network has more than 65 million users. Many of them have kids from 3 to 5. And yet, there is almost nothing for them. Hence, we decided to create a very original and high quality game for kids in which they can learn many things in a very funny way (shapes, colours, music, dance…) and also play with their parent. They don’t need to read anything on the screen once the game is launched.

We are also working on ‘Brooklyn Stories’ a third game which is probably one of our biggest games so far. We will be releasing more information very soon…

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19 Comments

  • I bought the game before the PSN outage and I enjoyed it a lot. The puzzles are clever and the art design and characters are quite good. I’m pretty sure it took me less than 10 hours to complete though but I played it again for the sake of getting 100% completion and seeing everything in the game. I’d love to see more games like this on PSN.

  • Exactly the same situation here as iriihutoR48. Bought this game before the outage. Great game! :) Completed the game the first time in about 8 hours (damn puzzles :P) and afterwards in 1.5 hours or so for the 100% completion. (Max seems to be 2 hours for anyone wondering :))

  • Question, why are the clues bloody useless and even though I got past a part the clue goes to the first step.

    Seems the clues helps with the most stupid things like how to open it…

  • Didn’t know this was by the In Memoriam people.

    /increases interest by 100%

    I loved In Memoriam, it deserved a much bigger audience than it got.
    Will definitely give this a whirl.

  • I love old school adventures but hate pixelhunting stuff (thats not gaming, it´s work). There was also a shooting component and it´s not cheap. There is no demo to try out what it is and I don´t know if there are more episodes (that´s what Chronicles does in the titel, right?) and what I end up paying. That´s why I didn´t buy it (yet).

  • I was really close to be buying this game but i only had 44kr on my account so i missed it with 1kr. Probably wont buy as it’s back to it’s normal price now.

  • Just to clarify, Jean-Pierre Jeunet directed Alien: Resurrection and not Aliens. He is a good director though, that film was ruined by Joss Whedon. Anyway, I’ll probably pick this up at some point. Great to see a resurgence of point and click adventures, I’m sick of seeing all these kids and their Call of Duty run and gun shooters.

  • Apologies for the double post but here’s a classic example of what I mean, look at the review from Gamespot:

    “Tough puzzles and grinding point-and-click pixel hunts are the main activities in Red Johnson’s Chronicles.”

    But that’s the whole point of this genre and Gamespot has missed that, because we’ve been ruined by games like Call of Duty. When you play those kind of games you don’t have to use your mind, you just run down a linear path from one bright yellow checkpoint to another as you go through scripted setpieces. Point and click adventures are a lot more rewarding, using your brain and figuring out solutions and experiencing a decent plot.

    Makes me wish we were still living in the 1990s, where first-person shooters were huge open maps with many directions to take. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a great example of how an FPS should be done but that’s not my point here.

  • I’m having fun with RJC. I also enjoyed their previous games like Missing: Since January & Evidence: The Last Ritual.

    Also very much looking forward to AMY. It looks great and I can’t wait to play it.

  • will we be getting anymore red johnson???? it ended on a cliff hanger and i seem to recall it’s listed on the store as episode one. So does that mean we are gonna get more episodes???? i would love to know.

  • i wanna see more games in this genre.The Broken sword series was huge for me growing up as a gamer and i loved the point and click adventures and puzzle solving and it’s a shame after 3 AAA broken sword games the genre sort of died on consoles at least so its great that some developers are seeing how great this genre is and bringing it back to the console platform. you make more games like Red johnson, i garuntee you’ll have more money from me in a heartbeat. keep up the good work

  • Sorry to hijack, but how is it comments like “Test” get replies from SCEE yet the “Heads Up” posts are abandoned with hundreds of posts and many many Frequently Asked Questions unanswered.

    Disgraceful

  • Loved this game. If you like puzzle games, get it. If you like detective games, get it. It’s such a good game.

  • move support? is an ideal game for move

  • I love this game. I just regret that there is no move support : it’s a bit anoying to use the stick to move the cursor…

  • Agree with kingcrowbaruk, very frustrating for us.
    Also, can you please reinstate the pre-outage discount for Plus users?
    Without a demo I’ll not buy at the current price…

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