Adele: Following the Signs

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An Interview with Amanda Hermes of Unosquare Studios on Adele: Following The Signs

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Zombie games are certainly a dime-a-dozen these days. Ever since Resident Evil launched in 1996, zombies have been a mainstay in the video game industry. Over the years, we have seen countless shooters featuring the shambling undead as gun-fodder. However, just because the zombie-genre is saturated, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few more novel experiences to offer up. In March, developer Unosquare Studios released a 2D platformer called Adele: Following the Signs, which is one of the few zombie games that I’ve played from a 2D perspective. Recently, I was a able to have a chat with Amanda Hermes of Unosquare Studios regarding Adele: Following the Signs, and some of the studio’s upcoming projects.

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What would you consider to be the major sources of inspiration for Adele: Following the Signs?

The major source of inspiration for Adele were old-school platform games. Think Super Mario Brothers with zombies as enemies and better graphics.

I noticed on your website that projects start as smaller concepts, and work their way up to larger-scale games? How did Adele:Following the Signs start out? Were the zombies always part of the plan, or were they added later?

Zombies and toxic radioactive plants were always part of the plan. Adele started out being much more basic, more and more levels, complexities and art were changed and/or added along the way. Adele: Following the Signs was always a zombie game. We liked the idea of having a zombie game that wasn’t a shooter.

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Speaking of zombies, it feels like games featuring zombies are traditionally in 3-D. I can only think of one, or two other games to stray from that formula. What was the thought process behind telling your story in 2.5D? Is there an advantage to developing a horror title from this perspective, do you think?

The game idea started as a 2D sidescroller game originally. We made some prototypes during the early stages of development and tested them using 3D characters on 2D backgrounds, using an isometric perspective that would make the game look like it was 2D while using 3D characters to simplify animations. After the first few tests, we liked how the game looked in 3D with 2D mechanics, so it became a 2.5D game. But originally it was going to be all 2D, which is part of the reason the art in the intro is 2D.

Furthermore, would you consider Adele: Following the Signs a horror title, or a different genre entirely?

We tend to classify Adele: Following the Signs as an adventure platform game or a strategy game. We don’t dislike the classification of a horror title, but since there are no weapons, no blood and guts, I don’t think horror enthusiasts would think it qualified. 🙂

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The game has been out for several months now. Is there anything you would change in retrospect, after listening to player feedback?

On the development side, we would have liked to add some ideas that had to be scrapped because of time constraints, such as more levels, more human character interactions, female zombies, and systems that would have helped the game’s overall performance.

On the marketing side, I would have liked to have a little bit more time between finishing the game and the release date. We had some last minute delays in production because of some details that were changed at the last minute, so the game was literally ready the day of release. I would have like to be able to give it to bloggers and Youtubers before it was released to the public.

Any particular moments in the game that are your favorite?

For me, my favorite part is the mystery. You are given the basic story line in the beginning, but you aren’t given any clues to the ending. It leaves a lot up to the imagination, while you are playing, as to what happened to Adele!?!?!?

Here are some comments from the developers:

David Ville Salazar: What I liked most about Adele: Following the Signs is the depth and detail of the scenery as well as the more difficult and challenging levels. Also, during the entire process of development I really liked working with the Artificial Intelligence of the enemies.

Arturo Silva Barba: I liked the boss zombie in level 4. I liked making him bit by bit throughout the level, it was really fun. I also liked the feel of the game, the illumination, the personalities, especially the plants, they were my favorite characters in the game.

Eduardo Aguilar Carmona: I really liked the pallet of colors used throughout the game and working with slightly unconventional animations such as the different bosses, some of the zombies and the animals. As far as levels, the cave levels were my favorites.

Francisco Sanchez Perales: What I liked best about Adele: Following the Signs is the fact that the game is a challenge every single step of the way. It doesn’t seem as easy as some of the games that are out now a days. You have to constantly strive to get better, not to mention trying to be the best!. It’s not the type of game that you can make it through in 3 or 4 tries. Each attempt must be better than the last.

Hector Magaña Castellanos: For me, my favorite part was doing the Boca del Diablo level. During the design of that level we had to measure distances to make sure they were as close and fair as possible. Then afterwards, during testing, everyone would try to get past that level with as few deaths as possible. It was the that was the most fun to make and play. And it was the level that gave us the idea to have a death counter and timer for each level.

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So what’s next for Unosquare? Any new titles on the horizon that we can look forward to?

Actually, yes! We have switched gears a little bit and are working on a couple of mobile games right now. One, which should be coming out soon is called “Thumbeats”. It is a music inspired, fast paced game where you have to use both your eyes and ears to beat the 15 (and counting) levels. Please follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the release, see concept art and development progress. We are really excited about this game. I wish I could share more, however I don’t want to get in trouble with the devs! 🙂

The other game we are working on is still in the beginning of development. It is a RPG style game, and anything but stereotypical. However, you will have to wait a little while longer to get more details. 🙂

In closing, is there anything else you’d like to add about Adele: Following the Signs? Anything you’d like readers to know?

Adele: Following the Signs is a game for anyone and everyone who likes to be challenged. The controls were set up to give Mike the most human style of movement possible. For example, like can’t climb a rope from a standing position. You need to get a little bit of momentum first, just like what you would most likely need in real life. It really is a great game for a great genre of gamers!

You can find Adele: Following the Signs on Steam. To learn more about the game, and download a free demo, check out their website.

*Special Thanks to Amanda Hermes, and all of the developers at Unosquare Studios for their time, and input!

Jordan is an actor, singer, educator and writer who has a deep love for Shakespeare, classic rock, coffee, old dogs, batman, fantasy novels and video games. He is a Performing Arts major from the University of Connecticut and has lived all over the place—most recently, Beijing. In his free time, he can be found in pretentious coffee shops, reading a giant fantasy book, in nature, on stage, traveling, gaming, singing with his friends band or using his dogs as a pillow.

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