We speak to developer Micropsia Games to know more about this time bending game.
The Watchmaker, as the name indicates takes place inside a giant watch tower. Players take on the role of Alexander who all of a sudden realizes that the watch has been sabotaged resulting into time running wild. The Watchmaker uses this concept of time to implement its unique gameplay mechanics. As Alexander is attacked by more and more enemies, he ages quickly. He then needs to find medikits to regain his youth.
In order to learn more about this intriguing new game, GamingBolt caught up with the developers Micropsia Games. Check out our full Q&A below.
Note: This interview was conducted before Nintendo announced Switch.
So, The Watchmaker is an action platformer game, but without any kind of a gun- that’s not something we see often. What prompted you to explore the game design like that?
The main concept is that the player has to find out which is the best way to get rid of or kill the individual enemies he comes across. It is part of the puzzle solving and that is the main part of gameplay of The Watchmaker. Also, the tower clock is your ally in the sense that you have to make use of it in order to progress successfully.
The steampunk setting is inspired for the game, especially in conjunction with the game’s surreal and psychedelic story setup. What were some of your inspirations for this game?
Our main inspiration for the art style and narrative are Alice in Wonderland and some tales by Edgar Alan Poe, such as The Fall of House Usher. Modern versions of Alice, like American McGee’s Alice or Alice: Madness Return or movies like The City of Lost Children,also helped us quite a lot in our search for the perfect style.
"Your task in the game is to repair Alexander’s precious clock that has been sabotaged by an unknown entity. Alexander also loses most of his memories and remembers practically nothing from his past life. Being guided by a mysterious voice he finds his way through the giant clock."
While it’s not a 3D platformer in the traditional sense, I suppose one could call The Watchmaker that. Between this and the upcoming Yooka-Laylee, not to mention the renewed interest in Crash and Mario, one could almost say that we are in a sort of 3D platformer resurgence. Was it ever your intention to be part of the return of this beloved genre?
Our intention always was to make a fresh game which the player can identify easily. We were not and are not planning to be a part of the resurgence. But if the players and critics find it to be just that, we will be very proud.
How are you ensuring that you strike the balance in terms of the puzzles being difficult enough to be challenging, but not so difficult so as to be off putting?
This is quite hard to answer as ensuring the right gameplay balance is always a very challenging process. Testing the game over and over again is for us probably the best way to achieve an enjoyable experience.
What can you tell us about Alexander and his role in the game?
Alexander is a workaholic and a perfectionist, a man who only cares about his clock tower. He pushes his beloved wife aside and at one point in the game he has to make a choice between her and his work.That is very common in real life and similar stories happen everyday, so we believe that many people will identify with the character.
Your task in the game is to repair Alexander’s precious clock that has been sabotaged by an unknown entity. Alexander also loses most of his memories and remembers practically nothing from his past life. Being guided by a mysterious voice he finds his way through the giant clock. Along the way he also finds pieces of letters related to some other life of his, and that is when parts of the past start coming together and Alexander begins to regain his memory.
"There are no weapons in The Watchmaker that you could use to destroy all enemies at once.You need to think about the best way to eliminate every single enemy."
The game has a unique combat system in which if the player is attacked, Alexander ages faster. What can you tell us about it?
We actually have many surprises regarding the combat system. I do not want to mention too much because it is still in development. But you can interact with the environment and find out the best way to confront your enemies.
Alexander’s aging process is a really innovative idea that we have been working on for several years, and people seem to like it, because it’s something new, something different they had never seen in games before. If you do nothing, your character, Alexander, dies within minutes. That’s again something that happens to everyone – time flies by and suddenly you’re old.And we really should care about what is important, especially about our loved ones. We believe that can make a big impact when we’re living in such a fast-paced society as we are today.
Is there going to be any sort of progression or skill based system in the game? Furthermore what kind of weapons can players expect?
There are no weapons in The Watchmaker that you could use to destroy all enemies at once.You need to think about the best way to eliminate every single enemy. And a s to the first part of the question, Alexander’s skills do not progress over time.However, you will have to select the way to defeat your enemies very skillfully.
What kind of length can players expect from the game?
The length of the game timewise depends mainly on how fast you can solve the puzzles and overcome the enemies ahead, but we estimate that the game should take an average of 6 to 8 hours of gameplay.
When can we expect to see and hear more of the game?
We plan to upload a playable demo a couple of months before the launch.But not too soon, as we still have several surprises that will surely excite the potential future players of The Watchmaker.
So far, the game has only been announced to be coming on PC and consoles- are there any plans to bring it on Nintendo’s upcoming system, the NX?
So far we have only had talks with Sony and Microsoft about the game coming launching on their respective consoles.The relationship with Nintendo is currently more difficult, as they have no support for development kits in Latin America.Although they have said that things will change, nothing concrete is known yet.
What are your thoughts on the upcoming developments in the gaming industry? VR, PlayStation 4 NEO and Xbox One Scorpio, Nintendo’s NX- as a developer and a player, what is your take on them?
Actually as a player I think it’s totally normal that new, more powerful consoles keep on coming to the market. Technology is advancing fast and there is increasing demand for advanced graphics features.
For a developer it is good news, because it allows us to have better graphics in our games and worry a bit less about potential performance issues in our products.
The VR is a technology that isn’t new, but is nevertheless causing big changes. However, I think there will not be a revolution as many expect.It will be a similar scenario as with ” Wii” and the “Move” – they are attractive technologies, but consoles that will allow you to just sit in front of a screen with your hands on the gamepad or a keyboard will always prevail.
The Pro and Scorpio won’t have any exclusive games, so do you think they will become effectively redundant because these machines won’t be utilized to their full potential?
I think if Sony and Microsoft release exclusive games for these consoles,it will partially overturn the market. Because the inter-generation changes are so advanced, you’ll be able to run games in quality similar to their PC versions on these new consoles.
"This is our first project of this magnitude. We are a very small indie company that is showing the first fruits of its work."
As developers, do you prefer the moderate spec upgrade in Neo, or the drastic upgrade in the Scorpio?
Actually our development is focused mainly on the PC part of the market, so we’re doing graphics that look good there, then will port and see what we can be done on the consoles.We want to reach all possible consoles, to reach more users, but for now we accommodate only the two consoles.
Are the PS4 and Xbox One versions going to run at 1080p and 60fps?
We can’t answer that question as yet. As I said earlier, we are focusing on PC, and try to present the game in the best possible graphics output on consoles afterwards.
What can we look forward to from you next?
This is our first project of this magnitude. We are a very small indie company that is showing the first fruits of its work. You can expect us to grow step by step, make products that are increasingly more professional, innovate constantly and follow standards that have proven efficient to us and effective to the players.At the same time we’re looking for new challenges, hoping that people really enjoy our games. And if they do, we’ll go on doing more of the same forever.
Is there anything else you want to tell us before we let you go?
The most important is to say that we are indie developers who put all efforts into this current project, The Watchmaker, and we hope that you’ll all enjoy playing it!