Phoenix Online Studios – Moebius: Empire Rising

Welcome to another issue of Attic Diving, where we interview interesting people to help us jump into their Mental Attics to see what we find!

Today’s issue is all about Moebius: Empire Rising, the new game from adventure game legend Jane Jensen’s Pinkerton Road. It’s set to release tomorrow, April 15th, all over the world. You can still preorder it and get a nice 20% discount.

I want to thank Phoenix Online Studios’ Katie Hallahan, PR Head and Assistant Designer for Moebius, for taking time out of her crazily busy schedule to answer these questions and others you will get to read in the coming days.

1.- Can you tell us a bit about the game?

Moebius is a modern version of a classic adventure game. In it, you play Malachi Rector, a genius millionaire who runs a high-class antiques business. In addition to having a New York City store, he travels the world on appraisals for clients. He has a photographic memory, especially when it comes to history. This talent is what he uses to analyze people and objects throughout the game.

Things take a new turn for him when a government agency asks him to go to Venice to research the life of a murdered socialite and tell them if her life’s pattern resembles anyone from history. He does so, and suddenly, he’s being tracked and attacked by masked men, and is thrown into the middle of a world power struggle that’s been going on the whole time, and his unique ability to analyze these historical patterns is key to the whole thing.

2.- Will it be Episodic or a single game?

It’s a single game, divided into seven chapters.

Early Concept Art!

Early Concept Art!

3.- You’re working with Jane Jensen’s studio, Pinkerton Road, on the game. How did that come about?

Before we started working on Cognition, we reached out to and connected with Jane, and she invited some of the directors of Phoenix to her and Robert’s farm for a weekend back in 2011. It was a great weekend—wonderful to meet two people who had made the games we loved so much, for them to open their home to us, and to get to talk games all weekend with them!

We talked a lot about working together, and when Cognition came up, it was the perfect way to start. Jane served as Story Consultant on that game, and about a year later when she started the kickstarter for Pinkerton Road, we were chosen as the devs for Moebius. And we’re now working with her on the Gabriel Knight remake, so it’s work out very well in the long run for everyone!

4.- You had already worked with Jane Jensen on Cognition, with her as your story consultant. How is it working with her now that the tables have turned and it’s you working on her game?

On Cognition, while she provided very valuable feedback and advice, she let us write the story we wanted, the way we wanted. It was the perfect amount of guidance while letting us do our own game. With Moebius, it’s very different—this is her game and she knows what she wants! She’s handled the entire design of the game, the script, provided very detailed feedback on everything from the character designs to interface and so forth. And we want to make sure the next Jane Jensen game is excellent and is what she wants it to be—there’s a lot of expectation and we want to deliver on that, for her and for the fans, as well as for ourselves, too.

5.- Have you been developing Moebius from the start or did you take over development from another developer?

We’ve been the developers on Moebius from the start.

 

6.- What is Phoenix Online’s duty/role with Moebius? (Are you solely involved with the development, or do you also work in the game design, audio, etc.)

Development. I personally worked as an Assistant Designer with Jane, but Phoenix Online is the developer—programming, art, sound effects, QA and so forth.

7.- Have you changed your “work style” in any way, now that you’re working with Pinkerton Road? Do you still work online, even with Jane Jensen, or do you now meet/work in-person?

I personally did spend a few days working with Jane in person at her home when we were getting started, but it’s otherwise been all remote work, the same as we’ve done for Cognition, TSL, and all our other games. Meetings are done over skype, communication is via that and email, weekly and daily meetings and production calls, and so forth.

Malachi Rector

Malachi Rector, the game’s protagonist.

8.- Are you developing the game using Unity and the tools used for Cognition?

Yes, we are. It’s a similar interface, though we’re always updating things and of course Moebius calls for some new additions to the system and pipeline we started with Cognition.

9.- In terms of sound, is Austin Haynes involved with the game? I think we can all agree a collaboration between Austin and Robert Holmes would be amazing.

The soundtrack is all Robert Holmes’ work on Moebius—though I agree, a collaboration between them would be amazing! Maybe in the future!

10.- Are any of Cognition’s voice actors involved in Moebius?

The voiceovers were done with BA Sound, the same studio that’s worked on games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us.

 

I want to once again thank Katie for answering these questions and giving us insight on the development process for Moebius. Be sure to check out the game’s site and Pinkerton Road and Phoenix Online Studios‘ sites as well for more information on Moebius and their upcoming games.

Now go and pre-order the game! Trust me, it’s worth it!

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