us at GameBoomers who have had the pleasure of playing Delaware St.
John Vol. 1: The Curse of Midnight Manor are counting the days until
the next game in the series, The Town with No Name, is released.
Not only will we be able to see Delaware and Kelly Bradford back in action
– but we’re also going to be hunting for an appearance by a fellow
GameBoomer: “sassyladi”, whose likeness will be used in the game.
The creator of this series, Bryan Wiegele, is a designer and writer whose many talents are currently benefiting the adventure genre. We get a glimpse into how Bryan’s mind works as he talks about Delaware St. John in general and the The Town with No Name in particular.
The Big Time Games site states that Delaware St. John, Vol. 2: The Town with No Name (TWNN) will be darker and more sinister than Vol. 1: The Curse of Midnight Manor (TCOMM). I thought Midnight Manor was already pretty sinister. How do you hope to measurably increase this quality in The Town with No Name?
In TCOMM Delaware was chased by a dark creature called The Hunter, in The Town with No Name Delaware is actually working against a spirit nemesis that’s bent on his demise. The atmosphere is darker in tone, a bit sadder. I had originally set a goal to make the series as creepy as possible without adult language or gore. TWNN still abides by that set of rules but I’m expecting people to be a little more on edge and jump a few more times than they did in TCOMM.
Did you visit any actual locations before coming up with the ideas for The Town with No Name? Why Maine?
I’ve lived in many different states including Florida, Texas and California but I’m originally from upstate New York so I’m very familiar with the surrounding areas. The Northeast is both beautiful and scary at the same time so TCOMM took place in NY and TWNN takes place in Maine. Further adventures will move Delaware and Kelly farther away but for now the NE holds some dark secrets.
I’ve been enjoying the early screenshots from the game. I love the decrepit Diner with the “Yes, We’re Open” sign in the window. Did the occupants of The Town with No Name vanish so rapidly that they didn’t have time to close up shop? Was the town itself distinguished in any way before its occupants vanished?
As you play through the game the story of what happened comes to light. I can’t really give too many details without giving away the story but I can say the disappearance of the townsfolk was quick enough that not a trace of anyone was found in the morning.
What techniques do you use to make a deserted place look authentic, and also to make the gamer want to explore it?
It begins with a design document, I write up everything that will happen in an environment. From there the artist takes that document and creates the environment. Usually the artist will then add in extras that I didn’t require which sets off an idea for a new sequence or just something cool to look at. This process works well and usually continues right up until the game ships.
In The Town with No Name, will we see more of Kelly Bradford? Will we learn how she became interested in the ghost-hunting business? I understand that one of Kelly’s original goals was to prove that ghosts aren’t violent. Has she changed her mind since Midnight Manor?
Kelly is back in TWNN to assist Delaware with research. Her opinion of ghosts in general remains the same, however her interest in Delaware is growing since she’s beginning to suspect his role in the latest case is bigger than he realizes. Kelly isn’t alone with the research this time, she’s recruited the help of her friend Simon to lend a hand. Simon will take over the role of research expert in future volumes as Kelly takes to the field.
Are we going to learn more about Delaware’s background in The Town with No Name? Does Delaware have anything in his past that links him to the town? Delaware seems to be able to see ghostly visions from the past, as well as communicate with spirits in the present. Do these talents spring from the same source? Does Delaware ever have visions of the future?
I don’t want to give any spoilers here so I’ll say casually that Delaware is in for a surprise while on this case. As far as Delaware’s visions, it’s a mixed bag. He has seen the future as illustrated in the short story version of “Chance Meeting”, he’s seen the past as it happened in TCOMM and he’s about to have more interaction with spirits in TWNN. The source of his gift is a hot topic that will come up several times over the course of the series and will ultimately be explained.
On the Delaware St. John site there are two stories that explore the series’ characters and background. Both are a fun read. Will you be writing more? Are you still interested in writing a book featuring Delaware St. John?
I am currently working on the story that will be the prologue to TWNN, it will be up on our website in November. The book “Chance Meeting” is actually in its final stages and should be completed very soon. I had originally intended it to be finished by now but the game development comes first. “Chance Meeting” is featured as a short story on the website but the full book explains more about Kelly’s involvement with the paranormal and the cases she and Delaware went on before TCOMM. In the future I’d love to write a book about the events between each game, there’s a lot going on there.
I enjoyed the background music in Midnight Manor, which I thought added greatly to the atmosphere of the game. Will the same composer be creating the music for The Town with No Name?
Yes, Todd Kinsley did the soundtrack to TCOMM and did a beautiful job. He’s back and currently scoring the second game’s soundtrack as well, which is going to be just as amazing.
Will there be a terrifying chase sequence in this new game? How do you make the chase scary, yet not so difficult that people can’t get through it?
I’m going to just say yes but not give away any more details about who/what will be after you. When I created the chase sequence in TCOMM I made sure the feeling of danger was always at your heels while making sure you had enough time to escape from it. If you were caught by the Hunter you just started back at the beginning of the chase. The chases were short bursts of energy that were very well received by our audience.
How do you come up with ideas for puzzles and challenges in the game? Do you have a certain audience in mind when you design puzzles? Or are you primarily concerned that the puzzles fit the story and gameworld?
Good ideas can pop up at any given time but I usually end up writing them down for another game if I don’t think they fit the current one. I’ve got a book of ideas ranging from game concepts to character outlines and gameplay puzzles that I always add to. When I get stumped or need a bit of inspiration I can usually thumb through it and find something I can use or be inspired with a new idea all together.
Will there be any significant changes in the gameplay or interface for The Town with No Name?
TWNN is using the same technology as TCOMM so the interface and gameplay are very similar. Since this is the second game to use the engine I can say the gameplay and interface layout is smoother, especially navigation. One new feature is the ability to interview the restless spirits. Delaware will be able to choose between questions to ask, these choices could lead to different clues or more details about certain events in the story.
Several gamers have commented that the first Delaware St. John game: The Curse of Midnight Manor reminds them of the Nancy Drew series of games. Do you agree that there are similarities?
While I can see the similarities drawn on the surface I’d have to say the content is much different. ND is a character set on debunking strange happenings whereas Delaware’s life revolves around supernatural happenings that are real. I enjoy the ND series and I think if Nancy ever did get to meet Delaware she just might become a believer. (smile).
Are you still aiming for a late November release? Will The Town with No Name be available from Interact CD and Amazon, as well as from the Big Time Games website?
TWNN is on schedule for release on November 28th, 2005. It will be available through our website, Amazon.com and from Interact CD. Pre-Orders for TWNN are now being taken through our website and those who pre-order during the month of October will receive a free copy of The Curse of Midnight Manor soundtrack with their order.
A year from now, what would you want gamers to remember about The Town with No Name?
A year from now if all goes planned I’d want excited fans to be playing through the first three games to get ready for Delaware St. John Volume 4: Asylum of The Lost.