With very little prior fanfare, Perry Rhodan looks poised to become one of the more recognizable sci-fi adventure game protagonists with this year's release of The Immortals of Terra: A Perry Rhodan Adventure (or Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim in Europe). Unless you count the existence of literally thousands of Perry Rhodan novels covering almost half a century of publication as fanfare, that is.
Indeed, the Pabel-Moewig books about the fictional astronaut already comprise one of the most prolific series of all time, and it's still going strong. So why have so few people heard of him? The relative anonymity is because the series is popular largely in its native Germany, and for all its local success, the franchise has never managed to successfully penetrate international markets. Until now, perhaps.
Thanks to the collective efforts of BrainGame and 3d-io, Perry Rhodan is about to hit the… well, equally niche but decidedly more international stage of adventure game stardom. The game has already released in Europe to general acclaim, and will soon be distributed in North America by Viva Media. Still, very few details are widely known about the game and the "Perryverse" behind it, so we went behind the scenes to chat with the Managing Director of BrainGame, Axel Ruske, and the Managing Director and Creative Art Director of 3d-io, Igor Posavec.
Adventure Gamers: The name Perry Rhodan isn't well recognized in many parts of the world. Maybe we should start with a bit of background for those whose first exposure to Perry Rhodan is the game. What can you tell us about the franchise to this point?
Axel Ruske: Perry Rhodan is the oldest and most written space saga of all time, created in Germany. Since its inception in 1961 more than 3,000 novels have been published, including over 2,400 weekly serialized booklet novellas issued continuously since 1961, making it the most ambitious futuristic story ever written.
Perry Rhodan is the main character of the novels and of our adventure game.
BrainGame's Axel Ruske
AG: What made you decide that Perry Rhodan would be suitable for a game?
AR: The idea to develop a Perry Rhodan PC game resulted from a fortunate coincidence. I visited a German book fair a few years ago and discovered the Perry Rhodan stand. A Perry Rhodan reader in former days myself, I quickly got into a conversation with the people from Pabel-Moewig, licensor of the Perry Rhodan brand, and found out that the license for a PC game was still available. That was the beginning of a new partnership…
AG: Why an adventure game? Did you choose the genre first and adapt the license to it, or was there something about Perry Rhodan that determined it should be an adventure?
AR: Perry Rhodan is a novel character and he's more a strategic thinking person than an action hero. We wanted to choose the genre which best fits the Perry fans' concept of Perry Rhodan and his world. Besides, Braingame has already developed several educational adventure games before and has a certain affinity for that genre. So it was an easy decision to make Perry Rhodan an adventure game.
AG: Although your previous experience in the genre consisted largely of "edutainment" adventures in years past (though under the different name of Ruske & Puhretmaier Edutainment), can we assume that Perry Rhodan will be more entertainment, less education than your previous games?
AR: On first sight, Perry Rhodan is not a classical Braingame title. Braingame is mostly known for its edutainment and infotainment titles and Perry Rhodan is a typical representative of adventure games. But there is also a certain aspect of infotainment in Perry Rhodan. Due to the fact that Perry Rhodan is a license of a well known novel character, it demands some explanations and background stories. We integrated the info into gameplay that both kinds of players -- adventure players and Perry Rhodan fans -- can use this knowledge to simplify the gameplay. In any case, this additional info about Perry Rhodan is very useful -- and in most cases it is very inspirational and entertaining.
AG: Igor, can you tell us a little more about 3d-io? What's the background of the team, and what experience did you have prior to Perry Rhodan?
Igor Posavec: 3d-io games & video production GmbH is a Germany based software company founded 1996. It has an established presence in design production, digital content creation and graphics animation. Major German and international game and infotainment companies as well as industrial and telecommunication key players have utilized our unique graphic style and technology. Further projects in the games sector were Interface Design for ANNO 1701, numerous game trailers and teasers and major Artwork Design of Beowulf game pilot project and edutainment bestsellers Physikus, Biolab and Historion which were developed by Braingame and were part of the “learning adventures” series which built the base for the success of Braingame.
3d-io's Igor Posavec
When Braingame got the license for the Perry Rhodan game, Axel Ruske, CEO of Braingame, came to our office with the following words: “Perry Rhodan is the largest sci-fi series in the world, and we want the biggest and the most fascinating adventure game for it!” Since the main strength of 3d-io’s artwork lies in fictional creations, we gladly accepted this challenge. This meant a lot of work for us before even starting with the real production: intensive studying of the Perryverse, drawing of countless concepts and writing thousands of pages of stories and puzzles. Meanwhile, we are indeed some kind of Perry Rhodan experts, or at least the best Perry Rhodan game experts. [grin]
AG: Are you longtime fans of the adventure genre? Presumably you must be fans of Perry Rhodan.
IP: To be honest, before we started on the game only one person in our team was familiar with Perry Rhodan. But we didn’t see this as a handicap: there is nothing that can’t be learned and you can summarize the most complex book trilogy to one single A4 page. Starting from this single page and progressing into further development using the existing facts, you can build more easily a completely new story, a new style and a new gameplay. Considering the fact that we wanted to create a game that is playable by both Perry fans and also gamers without any Perry-experience, we didn´t want to risk getting too deep into “Perryverse” details or becoming too “nerdish”. On the other side, there had to be enough “Perryverse” aspects in the game to not annoy the big Perry Rhodan community. It was a hard task, but it seems that we made it at the end.Continued on the next page...
|United States||June 30 2008||Viva Media|
|United Kingdom||May 1 2008||Deep Silver|