Daedalic Entertainment offers some insights into its upcoming title
Hi! Our names are Uli Wanitschke, Game Director for Silence, and Marco Hüllen, Lead Designer of the game. Together with a team of approximately 20 highly talented developers, we’re making Marco’s concept for Silence: The Whispered World 2 become a reality.
We’re all huge adventure game fans here at Daedalic Entertainment. We grew up with the likes of Monkey Island and we all feel that the genre isn’t dead at all – quite the opposite. However, we also believe there’s a lot of room for modernisation within the genre, while at the same time not abandoning its roots.
What springs to mind first is Silence’s visual style. At Daedalic, we have an incredible art department, drawing beautiful backgrounds, locations etc. We used to show these in 2D games. For Silence, however, we now use 3D technology, by following a method we call ‘camera projection’. We place 3D objects and 3D characters in 3D environments, but then project 2D art on everything. Marco calls this ‘three-dimensional artwork’ when creating all these magnificent backgrounds.
This procedure allows us to maintain the high detail level of our hand-drawn art, while still being able to use the benefits of 3D game design.
Puzzle design for us internally is the biggest part of the game that will see a significant makeover to how we usually expect games in this genre to be. We have designed puzzles in a way that makes them part of the story experience. Puzzles are supposed to never keep players in Silence from moving forward within the story. They’re designed in a way to let them be solved intuitively while also being part of the current on-screen experience.
So, players are supposed to explore the environment around them, listen to dialogue, talk to other characters and observe what’s happening around them – just as they’re used to in adventure games or RPGs. The puzzle solutions are always kept on a logical, comprehensible level, and stay within the current area.
This also means that we won’t be needing an inventory. Players can focus on one puzzle at a time, and one item at a time. Thus, we’re eliminating puzzles for which you have to try a huge number of item combinations to find the answer, for example.
We’re also re-designing the game’s cursor in a way that helps you to determine the task that you’re currently working on. It will shift its shape and show you options for what you can do – however, without spoiling the actual solution of a puzzle, of course. For PlayStation 4, we’ll offer a mix of direct control options as well as direct hotspot interactions and selections.
Silence will feature two playable characters – Noah and Renie – as well as an important sidekick named Spot. Noah and Renie will both come with different abilities, which players need to consider in order to solve puzzles.
Noah is a tall 16-year old boy. So he’ll be much stronger, for example, than his younger sister Renie, who is only six years of age. Renie won’t be able to tell left from right yet, however, she’ll be much more curious and thus fearless than her brother. That can be a good thing in a game!
Spot will be accompanying both characters. When players switch freely between Noah and Renie, Spot will run over to the chosen character as well. He’ll be able to shift his shape into all kinds of things, and thus can be used just like a Swiss army knife to be the piece that was missing to solve a puzzle. Besides, he can explore his environment on his own, and will mostly come up with a very individual reaction, even depending on the current shape he’s exploring the world in. This way, he’ll shed additional light on things – and cause some cute moments.
Now what’s this all for? Well, the game will take you to a fantasy world – Silence, or sometimes also called The Whispered World – from which Noah and Renie will have to escape. Noah has been to this world once before, but he didn’t know it still existed. He knows that it’s a beautiful place only on first sight. What he doesn’t know yet, though, is that Silence has turned into a more hostile place since he visited it last time. It will be Noah’s task to save Renie from this place – and to find out how and why the Whispered World has managed to keep existing.