During one of my many travels through Steam Greenlight, I discovered Hoodwink, a quirky adventure game series from E1 Studio. The game’s colourful graphics, snazzy jazz beat and handsome protagonist simply demanded my attention.
I was compelled to track down and interview the masterminds behind such a delightful game. Amir Irwan, the Managing Director of E1 Studio allowed me to poke around the wonderful world of Hoodwink. Join us for an arousing conversation about adventure games, community input and of all things, Blade Runner.
What are the most significant changes between episode one, Hoodwink: The Brute The Babe and The Bogey, to episode two of the series Hoodwink?
"The second episode is near a complete overhaul of the original. Based on our fan input, we dropped parts that didn’t work in the game while retaining those that did. We are also introducing innovations to the game, as well. We put much effort in improving the user interface. We’ve also made the plot beefier, making it a stand-alone game, yet giving continuity to the first Hoodwink.
We also revamped our tech to be more flexible for both high end and low end graphic card users because we found through the first episode, many fans of this genre use lower end graphic cards including Intel integrated graphic cards. But more importantly, the biggest thing we are introducing is some new innovative ways of playing an adventure game. We’re giving players more flexibility in the way they choose to play the game and solve the mystery. We will share more on this closer to the release date.
We also plan to incorporate all these features into the original first episode that we already released and will give it away for free to anyone who has purchased the original or will purchase it before the next episode is available. This way everybody will have a more consistent way of playing the Hoodwink series and will experience a more coherent art style."
Could you elaborate on the plot of episode two?
"Questions raised in the first Hoodwink will be answered in Episode Two. Things are going to get a lot worse for our hero as the device in his nose is going to bring him much unwanted attention. We’ll also get to find out more about the big bad guy from episode 1 as well as introducing some of the Michael's friends who will help (or in some cases hinder) his progress. You will also get a deeper look at Michael’s life through the few friends he has. Character conflict is a definite."
The game has the potential to develop into a series, are you planning to release more episodes after the second one?
"We are so glad that people see the potential for Hoodwink to become a series and also keen to find out more about the world we built and the characters within it. We plan to give players a good time. If our fans want more of Michael; that is what we will deliver. If they want more of the world of Hoodwink from another character, we can do that too.
Close communication with our players will guide us on what’s next on the horizon for the Hoodwink universe. We’d love to hear from our fans directly and please feel free to email us any suggestions or simply just share with us what you feel about the story or the game. So yes, there are more secrets and laughs to discover. And yes, we do plan to have more coming after the second one too.
Looking at the Hoodwink trailer, it’s clear that you’re a fan of Blade Runner. Can the Blade Runner influence be seen throughout the series?
"Blade Runner belongs to a well respected pool of media that pioneered many modern themes that we now see as popular in today’s arts, when they were groundbreaking back in the 80s. William Gibson, Snow Crash, Robocop; it will be hard to pin down exact influences. They all formed a collective understanding of the world we are in, and asks us if we should be happy with what we are becoming. Hoodwink aspires to do the same, through the vehicle of comedy."
Episode one was released on EA’s Origin. You moved over to Steam Greenlight from Valve for the next episode. What motivated the change?
"Origin is a decent online store and they were very supportive when we wanted to get our game up there. We were even happy to have a 3 month exclusivity period with them. However at that time we didn’t know how much some gamers avoided Origin until we received several strong requests for Hoodwink to be made available elsewhere. It really took us by surprise and we had to move quickly to make Hoodwink available on other channels like GamersGate, Desura and AdventureStore.
As soon as Greenlight was launched, we submitted Hoodwink as a series instead of an individual title. As of now, we ranked #63 and we hope your readers will find us and help Hoodwink get greenlit soon! The other indie developers have probably realized this already, and the same for us, that putting our game on as many portals from day-one is crucial to the success. Not just getting the game done and out the door, but logistics like getting our ratings approved, certifications, getting reviews and so on, the business side that makes sure our game can sit on the digital shelves, so to speak. Some developers may overlook this part till it is almost too late because they are too focused on developing the game itself. We know one of them."
With tools like Greenlight, players have moved from just being consumers and end product users to potentially having a more active role and becoming an asset in the game development process. What are your views regarding this statement?
"Definitely. I think one growing realization in our industry is that our players are not just buyers, but great communities to draw from, be it feedback or support. They want to be part of what we do. People always feel more fulfilled when they are involved in the creation of something, and many studios are trying all sorts of ways to make game development a participatory experience for our players even before the game sits in their hands.
However, the developers must also know what they want to achieve. Sieving through the feedback without knowing what you want may not be a good idea after all. The other downside is also, possibly the strongest voice in the community may not also represent the true scenario out there.
But most importantly all of these tools will give more data for developers to analyse rather than groping in the dark and make far too many assumptions during the development."
Hoodwink: Website | Twitter | Steam Greenlight | E1 Studio
E1 studio’s respect for the Hoodwink fans is something demanding equal respect in return. When you watch the trailer, you can't help but notice the care, dedication and craftsmanship the developers have put into creating this game.
It’s a series I would love to see Greenlit. Why don’t you cast your vote? Follow this link, upvote, and you will have done your part in landing a fantastic game on Steam.
GameZone wishes E1 Studios all the best, we are looking forward to exploring the world of Hoodwink.
Don’t take my word for it, check out the Hoodwink trailer and be charmed!
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