The meticulous, lived-in feel of Amanita Design’s hand drawn worlds has become something of a signature for the independent Czech studio.
Lured by the rustic stills, their point-and-click adventure games have translated across borders and languages thanks to the use of charming animation over reams of text.
“We don’t like text or lengthy dialogue and stuff. It’s our approach to game design. Everything should be quite simple and accessible,” said Jakub Dvorský the studio’s founder and game designer.
After announcing their new projects at GameCityNights in Nottingham, we quizzed the designer for more details on Samorost 3 and Botanicula.
During the reveal of Samorost 3, Dvorský was clear that they want make the game easier to grasp for inexperienced players than Machinarium.
“We want to change the approach so the game is not only accessible for non-gamers and inexperienced players, but we want to achieve a real playfulness.
“You shouldn’t want to finish the game as soon as possible, and defeat it by solving all the puzzles. You should enjoy the process of playing with the game. It should be something like a huge interactive toy.”
And what does he mean by ‘interactive toy’ exactly?
“We want to achieve it by many things. There should be many standalone mini-games which are fun to play, and the music and sounds should be more involved in actual gameplay. So we’ll be playing with the sounds and the music somehow.
“You should be able to explore the world and find some hidden funny animations, hidden Easter eggs and such things. But it shouldn’t be needed to finish the game. So even when you finish the game, you can still play it over again and return to certain places, and then explore it more carefully and find some other things.”
Samorost was Dvorský’s first acclaimed game, but the imaginative designer and graphic artist has been making games since his school years.
He feels bringing more replay value to the adventure genre is paramount because “it makes the game more profound, more deep. It should be a relaxing experience to play this game.”
Early designs and story have been drafted for Samorost 3, but the production just started.
BOTANICULA AND BEYOND
Advancing the adventure genre isn’t the only thing Amanita’s small team of seven are up to.
They’ve started developing for tablets – with Machinarium already on its way to the BlackBerry PlayBook, but they’re “not sure about iPad.”
Though primarily in production for Windows, Linux and Mac, Dvorský said they want to bring Botanicula “to as many platforms as possible. We love the concept of tablets.”
He said that Amanita’s animator Jaromír Plachý is “continuing his own graphic and animation style” with the light-hearted Botanicula.
“He’s using very simple designs of characters and also the environment. And the most important part in his approach is fun animation. He has his own style which is very funny, light-hearted and minimalistic at the same time,” said Dvorský.
Amanita Design’s pictorial playfulness is a testament to Dvorský’s desire to strive for originality, a pursuit which he feels very strongly about:
“It’s important because the game will be distinctive. Also, we will enjoy the development more, because when we are developing it we are enjoying the whole process.
“So we are trying to make it fun for us to create the game. This we can achieve only by bringing something new to the development.”