Another World Was Nearly Point ‘n’ Click

By Jim Rossignol on March 3rd, 2011 at 6:20 pm.


Well that was amazing. Eric Chahi just finished up a post-mortem of Another World (aka Out Of This World) at GDC. While the wider gaming press was writing all caps tweets about Another World coming out on iPad, I was wiping away a tear generated by powerful waves of unmitigated nostalgia, and Chahi’s funny, moving explanation of how the game came to be as it was, which I will write up in detail a little later. What was most fascinating (aside from Chahi’s admissions of existential entanglement with the project, and a description of his own loneliness being reflected in the loneliness of Lester’s experiences – to the point where he gave the character red hair to dissociate the two of them) was that the game almost wasn’t anything like the elegant work of side-on sci-fi that we remember, because Virgin Games – Chahi’s first choice of publisher – almost persuaded him that it should be a point ‘n’ click adventure, because that is what was popular at the time. Chahi admitted that it was only his disinterest in redoing work that stopped it from disappearing down that parallel fate. A close call for all gaming kind. More on this, later.

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32 Comments »

  1. DrGonzo says:

    Would it have been worse as a point and click? Maybe this is blasphemy, but I probably would have preferred it as one. Another World is fantastic to watch and look at, but the game is ridiculously hard, to a point where I don’t actually enjoy playing it all.

    • aequidens says:

      Same for me, I didn’t at all enjoy playing it, I did watch a playthrough on youtube though. It’s a beautiful game, but the gameplay is pretty much a 20 minuten QTE.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      One of the most liked games of my childhood. There were plenty of point-n-clickers, and many of them were quite hard, for example Operation Stealth and other games of Delphine Software, which was also publisher of Another World. I doubt it would be easier as point-n-click.

    • Eclipse says:

      hard? wow… I’ve completed it as a kid and now I think I can speed-run it in few minutes. That said, I’ve played it so much I basically know every location and every enemy.

      If you want something hard from Chahi, try Heart of Darkness, it’s a sort of longer Another World with a kid as protagonist. It’s a great game, and looks very very good even today (low resolution aside)

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve completed it multiple times and didn’t find it hard at all, and with my disabilities I know I’m not one of the best gamers out there by a long shot, and that’s the truth. I had heard of it being hard though and I keep wondering what that’s about. Which part was hard?

      Anyway, Another World has one of my favourite moments in gaming history.

      “YAY, I’m in a high-tech tank! …ooh buttons!!!”
      *presses every button rapidly*
      *boop dreep boop boop barp beep boooop boop beep boop barp breep de doop*
      *lasers*
      *more lasers*
      *kabooms*
      *the alien forces after the lone human are kind of overwhelmed*
      *a ring of explores are set off around the tank, creating a massive crater around it but leaving the tank intact, standing on a single column of rock*
      *continues rapidly pressing buttons, and hits the eject button.*
      *whoosh!*
      “Wheeee~!”
      *CRASH! tinkle tinkle – escape pod crashes through the glass roof of a sauna where many alien women are lazing around.*
      *many screams*
      *gunfire*
      @_@

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      A couple of things made it hard. First, it was definitely built around trial-and-error gameplay. That didn’t make it hard, so much as frustrating. But it was also opaque. For example, I never found the ability to create a shield with the gun when I played it back in the day. I only found that out by reading about it on GameFAQs many years later.

    • Igor Hardy says:

      Another World would be probably much worse to play and not half as interesting as a point & click adventure game. Chahi’s earlier point & click Future Wars was beautiful, but not nearly as memorable, while Flashback for all its additional features fails to create a comparable game world immersion.

      I would still say Another World owes a lot to the era of adventure games (they don’t have to be point&click, you know). It features puzzles with precise solutions that would be considered way too difficult to appear in modern arcade games.

    • Eclipse says:

      @VelvetFistIronGlove that was written in the game manual. It was also something clear because everyone had the same weapon as you and the enemies were able to make the shield, so you knew there was a way to make it. It’s not like you take a pistol and there’s no way to know that pistol also makes an energy shield, it was clear from the start

  2. Iskariot says:

    I really loved that game.

  3. Inigo says:

    Because trial and error is so much more fun when you’re restricted to keyboard controls.

  4. Risingson says:

    I still think this game was a coming-out story for Chahi.

  5. konrad_ha says:

    Another world still encapsulates all that is wonderful and great about gaming as a medium for me. I almost cried when I finally made it to the end.

  6. juandemarco says:

    Nostalgic tears for me, too.

  7. Bluepixie says:

    Shame the sequel never made it to anything other than the MegaCD. :(

    • Dracko says:

      Nah, that’s a good thing. The sequel is utterly dire, and Chahi wasn’t involved in it at all. It was made by committee and it shows.

  8. somini says:

    How is From Dust going?

  9. BobsLawnService says:

    I also remember this being fiendishly difficult but the art style and fluid animation is still stunning.

  10. Kefren says:

    Well worth buying from GOG, just to experience it once. Back in my Amiga days I had a demo of this from a coverdisk and played it again and again. It was great to finally get the full game recently and see what happened next. Almost 20 years of wait was finally over!

  11. Red_Avatar says:

    I think I would have preferred it as an adventure game as well – the world was much more deserving of a proper story than a brief quick-time-event trial-and-error filled game where you had to replay each area a dozen times or more until you knew what to do.

    • Risingson says:

      I actually prefer this game as it was. Not only it introduced many technical and narrative advancements in videogames, but also Chahi demostrated that he wasn’t the best of adventure designers in Future Wars.

  12. Dougal McFrugal says:

    Another World, wow such memories – I rather love it as it is. But i have to admit a point and click would have perhaps given a deeper view of that universe he created.
    Then again, the first time you manage to kick the guy in the knackers and roll to get your gun wouldn’t have been anywhere near as cool

  13. KilgoreTrout_XL says:

    If it was point and click, then i guess the part where you had to wiggle the joystick to kick the monster in the balls, you would instead just click the mouse? On the monster’s balls, I mean.

  14. Wulf says:

    I’m going to be horribly controversial now and after having played many versions of this in my youth, I’m going to have to say that the best version was the Super NES one.

    Why?

    Because this.

    That music always gives me shivers, even hearing it now. It was a massively triumphant crescendo to the adventure, and it told of tales to come. It was easy to imagine how Konrad might have survived and eventually gone on to find a way home. Heart of the Alien be damned.

    (Updated link with a longer version of the credits. Still not complete, but it’ll have to do. And I fail to remember to do proper edit reformatting.)

    • Pretzel says:

      Eric said he was quite unhappy with the decision to change the music in the console versions. He told a funny story how they were aging about it back forth over fax, so he made an infinite fax by tap in the top and bottom of a piece of paper into a loop so the fax would never end. The publisher showed up in the morning to discover reams of paper piled up under the fax saying “Don’t change the music!”

    • Pemptus says:

      Really? The snes music sounds, ugh, generic (as much as I hate the word).
      True ending:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgkf6wooDmw&feature=player_detailpage#t=1295s

      Then again I *am* a nostalgia-blinded amigaphile, I might be a bit biased.

  15. Risingson says:

    My favourite version still remains the heretic 3DO one.

  16. jonfitt says:

    Should have sent John if there was some crying to do. Jim, I bet your tears were all manly and insubstantial.

  17. edit says:

    I can’t remember how old I was when I played it, but it was definitely challenging.. in a really gratifying way. Nowadays when we’re killed in-game by something we didn’t see coming, we feel like we’ve been screwed by the game designer. There was a time when we embraced that kind of punishment and persevered in order to reap the game’s rewards. I certainly didn’t know any better.. I just knew this game was beautiful and other-worldly, and I was utterly immersed. Who knows how many times I died but it was a truly incredible feeling when I eventually came out the other side.

    Most of my favourite games then were point and clicks.. I’m sure this could have been a gorgeous adventure game, though it would have been a different experience.

  18. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    That was (and still is) one amazing game.

  19. Dracko says:

    Did you get to catch the Jordan Mechner and John Romero talks too? Wondering if those will turn up online, along with Chahi’s.

  20. Shadowcat says:

    I guess Jim never found time to write more on this, but you can watch Eric’s talk in its entirety for yourself:

    http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1014630/Classic-Game-Postmortem-OUT-OF