GameBoomers Interview with Agustín Cordes, creator of Scratches and the forthcoming Asylum.
By Peter Rootham-Smith
GB: How did you get into making games?
AC: It all goes back to playing "Kings Quest" for the first time. I love games in general, but "Kings Quest" was the eye-opener for me, and the game that profoundly inspired me. That's mostly what motivated me to make Adventure games. At the same time I used to read Lovecraft as a kid, he inspired me in the horror aspects, and that's why I'm making horror adventures.
GB: What's your role in game making?
AC: I have been mostly the designer and programmer. I do some art, for example I use Photoshop in some cases, but it's not my forte.
GB: What games do you like playing yourself?
AC: Adventures and RPGs. Today I'm mostly playing iOS games because I don't have time. I like all games.
GB: What influences do you have?
AC: Sierra Adventures, Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Hammer horror films. Films with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee and John Carradine. Italian horror films of the 80s such as those directed by Lucio Fulci. Lots of Science Fiction: especially J G Ballard, Christopher Priest, Philip K Dick.
GB: Do you ever wish you had a 9 to 5 job?
AC: No, no, no! I love doing it in spite of the ups and downs. It's definitely my favourite job in the world. I want to be a writer some day.
GB: In spite of the long hours?
GB: How you plan game development?
AC: We plan ahead, we have a design document, we have almost a movie script which has the main scenes. So we plan but we also leave room for changing the design, improving things, it's not like we have this script and it’s completely fixed.
GB: Do you make games for yourself?
AC: I'm fortunate to make games I like, and that other people like. In a way you could say yes, I make them for myself. I seem to share a taste with other people. I'm always willing to sacrifice some of my original vision so that more people play the game. That's my approach to making my games for as many people as possible.
GB: Is there a male bias in your games?
AC: I think the games we make are universal. The fact that my protagonists are male has more to due with the fact I like Lovecraftian horror which has more male lead characters. I don't rule out the possibility of doing a game with a female protagonist, I just don't feel like it right now.
GB: What inspired you to do "Asylum"?
AC: "Scratches" itself was the inspiration. "Scratches" in turn had inspiration from games like "7th Guest", "Dark Seed", "The Dark Eye".
GB: How important is support from the fans?
AC: The most important thing. The most. We owe everything to them. Absolutely everything so I can never thank them enough for all of this.
GB: Is now a good or bad time to be making games?
AC: It's mostly good but definitely we are going through some rough moments. Things are changing too quickly, and it’s becoming very hard to be noticed. It's definitely not as easy as it used to be.
GB: Would you recommend game making as a career?
AC: Oh yes. You can do it for sure.
GB: Can games be Art?
AC: Oh yes. Maybe we haven't reached the point where games are indisputably Art, but some games have got close to that.
GB: Can games have a message?
AC: Oh yes, you have of course "Gone Home". In a way "Waiting for Serena” has something to say. Games are just as valid as a powerful painting or a movie or book to convey a message or an expression or a feeling, just another way of doing it.
GB: Will you still be making games in ten years time?
AC: I guess so yes.
GB: You took a risk switching to Unity as a game engine.
AC: It's paid off. It was a good call, and it was quick.
GB: Any final words to Adventure game fans?
AC: I owe great deal to them, I can live thanks to them. I just hope my games inspire people in the same way. I just can't be grateful enough for the amazing, the absolutely amazing Adventure game community that keeps on getting better every day. We exist because of them.
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