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AG Community Playthrough #61: Anna’s Quest

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TimovieMan - 09 August 2020 06:42 AM

It’s also clear that I’ve been playing too many RPGs. Agreeing to help Roostwig with his accomodation, vowing to help the children - both diversions from our main objective - just had me going “yay, side quests!”. In an adventure game...  Crazy

This idea was quite important to me as I really didn’t want Anna to be driven by her own needs all the time. She might be out here to save her only family in the world, but she’s got such an innocent, pure perspective of the world that she’s willing to put her own needs to the side from time to time. OF course, ultimately these moves help her, but she wasn’t to always know that Tongue Again, something more relevant to the story once it’s finished!

TimovieMan - 09 August 2020 06:42 AM

Quick question for Sughly. I’m loving the artwork in this game, but there’s one small thing that I want to ask about: what was the thought process behind Anna’s eyes?
Other characters have “regular” animated eyes (with an outline, white colouring and a black dot for a pupil) and others still have full black ovals for eyes (also quite common in animation).
What does stand out is that Anna has a black outline, and that’s it. The eyes are even skin-coloured. While I don’t dislike it, I’m not exactly a fan either.

It makes me think back on the Disney movie “The Rescuers” where the eyes weren’t coloured in either… I mainly ask because The Rescuers was “the final straw” for animator Don Bluth and he left Disney after that (and took several animators with him) to found his own animation studio. He has stated that he was specifically livid that the main character’s eyes weren’t coloured in.
Now I’m not all that knowledgeable in animation theory, but I get Don Bluth’s point. Which is why I wanted to ask about Anna’s eyes here. Smile

You aren’t the first person to ask! To be honest, I was still learning a lot about animation and visual styles (I never formally studied animation really, and am only just this year studying Milt Kahl more closely - these guys are such a rich well of experience and knowledge, it’s incredible what they’ve achieved). That said, my intention was to distinctly isolate Anna’s look from everyone else, to emphasise that she is always the outsider, a kind of foreign figure. This goes nicely with the above comment actually, mostly I wanted to exaggerate the idea that, even if she has no connection to these places, she has empathetic qualities that are not only missing from most people around her, but are ultimately necessary in her quest. I also hoped that it helped draw attention to her telekinesis, that she is also different from everyone in this regard as well.

That also being said, I do have mixed feelings about whether that was as effective as I hoped or not. I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with her eyes in the end Grin

millenia - 09 August 2020 12:01 PM

Well, I’m due to give birth any day now and can’t seem to really sit comfortably in front of a computer more than a moment. So yeah, don’t wait around me either. I’ll continue when I can.

Oh wow, congratulations!! Didn’t expect I would see a baby born during the playthrough Grin

TimovieMan - 10 August 2020 03:51 PM

I love the “Meanwhile…” bits whenever I get a needed item and advance the story. Reminds me of the Monkey Island games in particular.

LOVE the plot development at the end of the chapter! Although I did see it coming that the sorceress wasn’t to be trusted, I didn’t see THAT particular plot twist coming. I’m really interested in how this continues now, because it seems like there’s a LOT going on at once. The game feels deeply layered, and I’m very much digging it!

Quick note: the angry looking Weisse Frauen remind me a lot of Edna… Tongue

100% these ‘meanwhile’ segments are from MI! I adore them as well, they tie into that idea we talked about earlier regarding narrative reward for your progression. I think knowing that things are happening in the world around you are key to helping you feel both tension from the narrative building, but also feeling like the world is more alive, bigger than just you and your interactions. Being able to then go and interact with the characters you’ve seen in those clips and play with that situation is just adding another layer of world building (I hope!).

As for Edna, who knows - family trees are large and complicated! Wink

     
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Ok everyone!! Time to move to the next chapter!! Only the bravest will survive!!!


We went through many adventures into the village of Wunderhorn. I know I repeat myself here, but OMG! The LORE!! I don’t want to spoil anything, but the bits of background and lore you gather here and there, from Hans, to the Church, to the history of the village itself, even the history of Anna’s own family… when you KNOW the story of the game… let’s just say that some of them gave me shivers!!! Do you hear me everyone? Once you finish the game, replay it!!!

The open environment was a nice change from the claustrophobic Tower. When I first played the game I remember I was stuck a lot in the piano puzzle. Also, I must have stolen the violin more than 10 times. Did you see all the Daedelic Easter Eggs in the shop? Sadwick’s hat, Harvey… etc. I got an achievement there as well. And also another 2. One from ringing the bell in the antique shop too many times and one from the hay stack. Smile

From new characters, Reynard is one of my favs (though technically he was introduced at the end of the 2nd chapter….), also Hans and the Witch of the mill. I love how she is more goofy than threatening, compared to Winfriede for example.

Favorite moment of the chapter: The Bell Tower scene.
Heart Eyes  Heart Eyes  Heart Eyes

You have 1 week (until the 18th of August) to help poor Anna out of this mess!!! Chapter 4 is one of the best, if not THE best, chapter in the game imo. Enjoy it.

 

     
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Some random moments from chapter 3.



The pandemic didn’t stop Anna from travelling to new places!



Here you can see our first contact with Dane Krams, trying to persuade him to join the playthrough. (It costed a spellbook)



How can a background be simplistic and detailed at the same time you ask? This is a fine example.



The first time we meet this mysterious old man by the lake. We will learn more about him in the chapters that follow.

     
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Sorry for the absence, I’m all caught up now. I appreciate extending the wait as well!

A few thoughts on Ch.3:

Just when I was ready to deem Ben the most useless sidekick of all times, he might have pulled himself together just a bit. Not completely redeemed, but at least I don’t feel the immediate urge to lock him up till all things are handled.

As far as Anna… It’s very interesting to read the developer’s take on making her not being driven by her mission only, because in my case - I felt completely the opposite, and I thought that she was doing waaaay too much extra stuff instead of being focused on the main goal; including some things a child has no business of attempting level with thugs? haha. Overall, I might just be not cut-out to be able to relate to such an innocent and pure character; to me she’s becoming a goody-too-shoes and a bit over the top with naivete. I transcended from trying to relate to Anna and “be her” in game to a state where I’m watching a character I have nothing in common with (including when I was younger) to do things completely opposite way I’d be doing them. It’s still entertaining, now that I’m a “side observer”. Although now we now about the Sorceress a bit more, I still largely appreciated the way she (and the antique shop owner) was talking to Anna, because it expressed, at least partially, what I felt during certain moments as well Tongue

Btw, I double a shout-out to a antique shop scene. How did this idea came about, assuming it was written before signing in with the publisher?

I’d like to praise the soundscape in the game. I love the changing tracks that show the mood of the scene in a subtle manner. I’d love to hear about how the process or writing/recording music came along. It adds so much to the experience!

The animations are consistently high-quality, and the backgrounds are, indeed, amazingly contain a balance of simple/detailed, like noted above.

I expected that getting of the final item would take a bit longer than it did, so I’m surprised the Ch.3 was wrapped up so rapidly. It did leave us on the intriguing beginning of Ch.4 and I’m looking forward to playing further.

Favorite moment in this one is Anna’s comment on the view from the Bell Tower Grin And I also enjoyed “meanwhile” moments.

P.S. I wish you smooth sailing all the way, millenia!!!

     
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DCast - 11 August 2020 05:24 AM

As far as Anna… It’s very interesting to read the developer’s take on making her not being driven by her mission only, because in my case - I felt completely the opposite, and I thought that she was doing waaaay too much extra stuff instead of being focused on the main goal; including some things a child has no business of attempting level with thugs? haha. Overall, I might just be not cut-out to be able to relate to such an innocent and pure character; to me she’s becoming a goody-too-shoes and a bit over the top with naivete. I transcended from trying to relate to Anna and “be her” in game to a state where I’m watching a character I have nothing in common with (including when I was younger) to do things completely opposite way I’d be doing them. It’s still entertaining, now that I’m a “side observer”. Although now we now about the Sorceress a bit more, I still largely appreciated the way she (and the antique shop owner) was talking to Anna, because it expressed, at least partially, what I felt during certain moments as well Tongue

This is fair, and it’s unfortunate this is the result for some people. I’d like to elaborate a little more on my intentions, and hopefully that helps change your perspective, but I have to be careful not to spoil some later story Smile

Anna’s Grandpa has a very low opinion of the world outside of the farm (spoilers to why, suggested throughout the game/final chapter/the prologue game). He has in turn raised Anna with the ideas of what he thinks people should be - less selfish, more kind and giving. As he only as Anna to care for on the farm (and the only person who isn’t ‘corrupted’, for lack of a better word, by the outside world), he probably goes a little far in putting herself before him. All of this has resulted in the girl Anna is today. The ultimate point though is this: was the Grandfather right for hiding them away on the farm, OR is Anna’s ability to see the good in people more worthwhile? Again, wait for the end to decide Wink

TLDR: I wanted Anna to embody someone who was raised in a very controlled but positive environment. What would that look like if she’s thrown into the world her Grandpa despised for all its selfishness and greed? Who is ultimately in the right?

DCast - 11 August 2020 05:24 AM

Btw, I double a shout-out to a antique shop scene. How did this idea came about, assuming it was written before signing in with the publisher?

Ah yes, so - initial idea was a Monkey Island 2 (yes, again MI) style antique store. I loved that you walked into that place seeing so many interesting things, and in the end you could take even a few various items. The options on what could be done with this stuff felt endless for little me playing it! So when I made this room, I started stockpiling it myself with ALL adventurey items (Sierra, LucasArts, Daedalic etc), but after signing with Daedalic myself and the producer agreed to focus in on celebrating Daedalic a little more instead. Made a bit more sense!

I didn’t miss a chance though to include AdbentureGameStudio’s famous blue mug that developers always sneak into AGS made games - I figure since it had its humble beginnings with that engine it was only fair to still include it! Some others include the Mona Lisa, and the monkey himself - a throwback to The Longest Journey Smile

DCast - 11 August 2020 05:24 AM

I’d like to praise the soundscape in the game. I love the changing tracks that show the mood of the scene in a subtle manner. I’d love to hear about how the process or writing/recording music came along. It adds so much to the experience!

Glad you liked it! It’s all done by my son’s uncle (mother’s side), I was always impressed with the different band projects he’s had throughout the years, and when he approached me asking if he could give the soundtrack a shot early on in development I was happy to see how it went. He worked himself into the ground for the game! No exaggeration. At times he had insanely short turn arounds (such as some cutscenes), but he always provided. I’ll let him know you liked it Grin I’m terrible at keeping up with all his stuff, but I know he’s been working on this a lot lately: https://imperfectionistofficial.bandcamp.com/ (that’s him on the right in the band photo)

 

     
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Not sure how far I am in Chapter 4 but I’ve just saved Wilfred from getting executed.

While the game hasn’t had any laugh-out-loud moments, there have already been several smiles and chuckles. Despite the sometimes grim content, the game is absolutely adorable, in no small part thanks to a wonderful lead character (whose voice acting I’m starting to really love).

And I’m quite impressed with how the animation can easily switch characters from cute to menacing and the other way around, just by animating the eyebrows and mouths differently.
This was especially noticeable with the Red Dragon, I felt. Went from menacing to cute in a single move…

Loving the game! Thumbs Up


And not sure why, but using the human blender gave me the “Mischief Maker” achievement. I assume using the guillotine was involved as well.

     

Last played: Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5

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Wait, so the guy we met earlier that reminded me of Emperor Palpatine with his hood, is the frickin’ Devil?!?!?!?!?

Obtaining the answer to (the first part of) meal riddle reminded me of the Hermocrates puzzle in Fate of Atlantis (where you ask the parrot for the answer). Here we ask the troll who’s talking in his sleep.

     

Last played: Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5

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TimovieMan - 12 August 2020 05:48 PM

Wait, so the guy we met earlier that reminded me of Emperor Palpatine with his hood, is the frickin’ Devil?!?!?!?!?

Oh yes. I was totally expecting this moment. Remember your conversations with Theodor in the church about the darkness? He told you that “]Often the dark is nothing but a trickster. Unfortunately, the Lord of dark revels revels in such tricks… Mephistopheles. He is known for his many names and many guises. But be not afraid. Thanks to the Red Dragon we are all safe. Her presence forced him deep into the earth, his trickery contained”.

Do you also remember the depictions in the church windows?

Perhaps some of the old man’s words have more of a meaning now. Like “I must be off…. for now. I sense the dragon’s guard won’t be down for much longer, you see….”. Also explains how he knew Anna’s name. But to understand everything he said…. well… more chapters will follow.  Wink

Rich background in worldbuilding indeed.

     
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I’ve reached Chapter V.

I’m now curious to see what role Reynard the Fox still has to play in all of this.

And I’m loving the character development in Anna, most noticeable in the different ways she responds to the Devil when he rebukes her claims of “innocence” the second time around.

Sefir - 12 August 2020 06:36 PM

Rich background in worldbuilding indeed.

It’s often hinted at, or at the very least implied. Practically every side story or side character has given off a “there’s more to this” vibe. I’m eagerly anticipating the payoff.  Cool

     

Last played: Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5

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I’ve also finished Chapter IV. Great stuff!

I found it hilarious how both the old prisoner and Wilfred forced puzzle solutions on Anna. It’s almost like their knowledge about her current tasks is breaking the fourth wall.

     
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TimovieMan - 12 August 2020 02:03 PM

And not sure why, but using the human blender gave me the “Mischief Maker” achievement. I assume using the guillotine was involved as well.

The steam achievements were interesting actually - in all the chaos of finishing off the game in the final weeks, my producer came to me and asked what I’d considered. It really slipped my mind, so I was back in my Hamburg hotel one night flicking through the game and trying to unearth all the little fun hidden surprises throughout, jotting furious notes. Luckily a lot of the team knew the game as well (or maybe even better in some ways) as me, so when we had a meeting between me, my producer, and two of the main programmers, we came up with a lot of these in a back and forth chat. So, ultimately, a lot of these weren’t decided by me, but it made for a great afternoon laughing and sharing our stories about hidden bits in the game!

Thanks for the kind words too, glad you’re enjoying it!! Heart

     
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Just finished Ch.4, and by the way, I loved the name of it!

Thank you, Sughly, for explaining Anna’s background a bit. It definitely gives more perspective on the way she usually acts and the whole “I’m gonna help EVERYONE!” attitude. I do have to say, were I in position of Grandpa - I would’ve gone the exact opposite way and instead of raising someone I think people “should be”, I’d raise my own grandchild prepared for the world and potential evils. I suppose, I’m crossing into a real world right now a bit. In the fairy-tale world of the game Anna’s total innocence and good intentions overcome all, of course, but in real world - she’d be in a heap of trouble, if not worse. Maybe that’s why I’m more of an observer for Anna in the game. She’s very likable, but there’s just too much of “Oh, Mister! I can definitely help you with that” going on Smile I keep telling my screen “Dude, your Grandpa is dying from a curse, and this villain you’re in pursuit of is about to cause some major trouble - can you stay on the task at hand for at least a minute?”
She’s a sweetheart, that Anna, but I officially deem Reynard my favorite character of the game! Love the guy, even if we end up learning that he’s something entirely different and potentially evil later on Smile

Do you remember any specific scenes or moments that were inspired by a certain game? It’ll be interesting to know if you pointed out some moments like that. I kept thinking that the entire scene by the prison exit gate just reminds me of something, I just can’t place what. I might be completely off and mixing it with another game.

Also meeting the guy under the gallows just somehow made me think of Herman Toothrot haha, even if it wasn’t intentional.

The soundscape is, indeed, fantastic. Thanks for posting bandcamp link, Sughly. It’s a great job your son’s uncle done!!

Also, this chapter was the smoothest for me in terms of puzzles. I usually have to either make some circles around the game or run through the dialogues a few times, but here, it was nice going with not a lot of “being stumped” moments. Considering that this time we were in a highly bureaucratic world - I’m not sure it’s a good thing Grin Or maybe Anna’s power just feels natural to me now.

Looking forward to the finale!

P.S. Favorite moment in this chapter was meeting the guy under the gallows I mentioned above. Partially because of whom he reminded me of, and partially because little Anna was trying to convince him he that he doesn’t look like he can do much of anything.  Grin Grin

     
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New week, new chapter!! Most of us had no troubles solving the riddles of the Devil and escaping his Darkest Dungeons. Along with saving some people on the way as always ofc….


I loved this world’s version of “Hell”. I loved the fact that everyone had different personalities. Other trolls were just mean, others were honest workers who wanted the best for their working environment and others utterly bureaucratic. Also I always liked whenever the devil was depicted in human form. I honestly found him much more menacing as an old man, smiling than on his true form. I also love the fact that evil and bureaucracy go hand to hand.  Grin

I wonder about the 3 bears! Yes, I know about Goldilocks, etc,  but they seemed so random!!

The riddles were not that hard (as usual), but let’s say that I took my fair amount of time with the cages. Up and down the cages for an hour. I tormented the bears far more than any troll did and if they could vomit, they definately would.

Favorite scene of the chapter: Anna’s responses in the final confrontation with the Devil.

This is one of the most memorable moments of the game for me (second only to its ending perhaps). It defined Anna to me, not as a naive child, but someone who sees the world with an optimistic, but also totaly logical view. She is not a do-gooder just for the shake of it. She believes that every person has reasons for doing what they do and, most importantly, people change. It is up to us to change them (and subsequently the world) with kindness and understanding. I don’t want to say that this is a moment that I liked so much that inspires me in my everyday life and my philosophy of the world in general, but…. it kinda is. If I ever raise kids, I would love them to be as gentle, kind and understanding as Anna. 

You have 1 week (until the 26th of August) to enter the Royal castle, face Winfriede and finish Chapter 5!!!.

 

     
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Some random moments from chapter 4.



Poor executioner!!! No bingo after all…..



Yes, I would have jumped too if that figure was revealed totally unexpected from the dark. Totally understandable reactions from Anna.



Most. Stoned. Wizard. Ever.



The Lord of dark himself. He definetely delivers. According to Anna, everyone is redeemable but him. Think about it.

     
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Sefir - 18 August 2020 06:10 PM


The Lord of dark himself. He definetely delivers. According to Anna, everyone is redeemable but him. Think about it.

That picture could be used at the top of the TV Tropes page for “Four Eyes, Zero Soul”. Which is saying something about how effective the animation is…

     

Last played: Anna’s Quest (CPT) - 4.5/5 | Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - 4/5 | Florence - 4/5 | Alice Trapped in Wonderland - 1/5 | The Hunt for the Lost Ship - 1.5/5 | The Talos Principle - 4/5 | Tex Murphy: Martian Memorandum - 3/5 | Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc - 3/5 | Simon the Sorcerer (replay) - 4/5 | Portal 2 - 4/5 | Murder By Numbers - 3.5/5 | Heavy Rain - 3.5/5 | Disco Elysium - 4.5/5 | Freddi Fish 2: The Case of the Haunted Schoolhouse - 3/5 | Freddi Fish and the Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds - 3/5 | Whispers of a Machine (CPT) - 4/5 | Beneath a Steel Sky (CPT) - 3/5 | 3 in Three - 3.5/5 | Puzzle Gallery: At the Carnival - 2.5/5 | The Fool’s Errand (replay) - 3/5 | The Dig (replay) - 4.5/5

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