Just as night follows day, just as dog follows rabbit, just as Shia LeBeouf follows Daniel Clowes from a safe distance, a nomination for the latest game from Amanita will, it seems, always follow the announcement of another Independent Games Festival. This year, the makers of Botanicula and Machinarium are taking their charmingly odd, experimental puzzle-adventure Samorost3 to the show, where it's nominated for Excellence In Visual Art and Excellence in Audio. This is their fourth game to bag a nomination - will it join its three predecessors in winning a prize?
We shall see. In the meantime, let's have a chat with Amanita's lead Jakub Dvorský about how Samorost 3 is and isn't like its much-loved forerunners, the role sound plays in their games, and their status as veterans of the much-changed indie landscape.
RPS: We haven't seen too much of Samorost3 yet - what can we expect, in terms of it's how similar to and how it differs from the previous games?
Jakub Dvorský: The world of Samorost3 connects to previous Samorosts, of course but in terms of gameplay it’s probably more similar to Machinarium. However it’s very different game. The puzzles are not as difficult as in Machinarium and there are almost any tough stand-alone logical brain teasers. All the game design in Samorost3 is completely original and made in a way that it should be fun to play the game even when you already finished it.
We have also included several “interactive toys” and also the achievements which are pretty hard to find and pick up. Samorost3 is also our biggest and most elaborated project so far so you can expect very detailed graphics, tons of animations, high-quality sounds and music with fairly complex musical dramaturgy and colorful world full of surprises which is stretched over 5 different planets and 4 smaller moons.
RPS: How did you feel about going back to Samorost, after a few years on other projects?
Jakub Dvorský: Honestly speaking, we wanted to create completely new world for our current game but in the end all the concepts were too similar to Samorost world in some way so in the end we decided to stick with that and make a sequel to Samorost. And I like that world because it has everything what I like - nature, space, some kind of spiritual dimension and it’s also very free.
There are several planets and each of them is very different. We could even design many more asteroids with little worlds and strange inhabitants which would fit the game perfectly. There is an almost endless number of possibilities - that’s very appealing to Samorost's world.
RPS: It sort of seems like an IGF nominations for a new Amanita game is inevitable now - why do you think your games have proven so popular with jurors?
Jakub Dvorský: Hehe, you are right - it’s our fourth game nominated for the IGF and the first three were also awarded. I don’t know, it’s perhaps that we really love our work, we don’t follow any trends and we don’t listen what players want, we just create our little worlds in our way and with great passion. Maybe we should stop submitting our upcoming games and leave it for newcomers...
RPS: Sound seems so important to Amanita games - at what point do you start working out what you want in terms of sound effects and music when creating a game? It seems like most games come to it fairly late in development, but I wonder whether if it's there much earlier for you... And to what extent do you know what you're looking for from sound and music?
Jakub Dvorský: That’s right, sound and music is really important in our games and even more in Samorost3. We usually think about audio from the early stages of development. I was discussing some musical stuff and a couple of musical oriented puzzles / interactive toys with Floex even before we actually started working on the game. Real production of sounds and music starts a bit later when we already have several locations finished so the sound effects could be created exactly for the final animations.
RPS: Indie has changed (and grown) so much in the last couple of years - how much, if at all, has this affected what Amanita is doing?
Jakub Dvorský: I think we are pretty much untouched by that, even though we keep an eye on the scene and I try to play many interesting indie games. It’s just great that the scene is growing and widening, because there are more “weird” games with completely original concepts and new game mechanics. So yeah, maybe we are inspired by some games but we just haven’t realized that yet. I guess it’s very possible.
RPS: What would be your preferred winners at the IGF this year?
Jakub Dvorský: I have played only a few of the nominated games so I’m not objective, but I love Stanley Parable and believe it deserves the main award.
Samorost3 is nominated for Excellence in Visual Art and Excellence In Audio at this year's IGF, and is due for release sometime next year.