NB : Carlo Fabricatore is the leader of Appeal design team.
: You have worked on a project about
designing self-regulated games in hand-held machines (note from outcastii.net : thoses games are used to teach children the basics in maths and spanish).
How did Appeal contact you?
C.F. : Visiting Appeal's
web-page I was very positively impressed by the
amount of research and technology that they did,
but I was also surprised by the fact that there
was no R&D in the field of game design. Having
spent 4 years doing academic research regarding
game design (my Ph.D. dissertation was focused on
playability in action games), I decided to contact
Appeal. Then I had an e-mail conversation with Yves
Grolet, who, after asking me to send him my Thesis
and some other writings of mine, made me an offer
to take part to the Outcast 2 project. And that's
how I become Outcast 2's lead designer and project
: Are there any essential aspects which motivated
you to participate into the design of a much wider
audience game like Outcast?
: In first place, I've always been a big
fan of adventure games. In second place I think
that there are a lot of possibilities to make the
genre evolve, by incorporating elements typically
belonging to other genres (for instance, strategic
thinking and stealth action). In third place, the
wide audiences mean a lot of feedback on your design,
which is an excellent way to evolve and improve
as a game designer. Finally, I was thrilled by the
gameplay possibilities offered by the richness of
an universe like the one that you're going to see
in Outcast 2...
: Are there any influences from you previous
project that you will apply to Outcast 2?
C.F. : Certainly! Developing
Gameboy games for almost 4 years (that was the target
platform of the self-regulated games), I learned
to focus on the essential gameplay, without counting
on fancy arts, sound and GFXs. When you design a
Gameboy game, to be sure that you're on the right
way you should be able to play the game in your
head, without relying on any external means, and
still find the mechanics cool and fun. When you
manage to do it, if you can then add to it some
cool arts and sounds, you might finally be very
well coming up with something quite interesting.
And that is the basic approach that my team is following
to create Outcast 2's gameplay: focus on simplicity
to achieve richness, and create gameplay solutions
that are good because of their own essence, and
not because of external embellishments.
:The Design departement in Appeal is new. Could you tell us what are its missions and
resources (human, material)?
: Our design team has five members, including
myself. Besides me working as lead designer, I've
the luck to work with three very skilled game designers
(Fabrice Diez, Fabrizio Fabricatore and Samuel Jacques)
who are focused on the design of the gameplay and
the gameflow. Plus, we have the luck to count on
a talented writer (Mathieu Gaborit) who's in charge
of the Outcast background and storyline, and of
all those details in the setting that are fundamental
to create the richness of the adelphian world and
the Talan civilization.
Our basic mission is
to exploit the richness of the universe of Adelpha
in order to create a good gaming experience, in
which the player will interact with a living environment,
exploring it to learn about it and use it in order
to overcome his opposition in very high-pressure
survival situations. All of this in order to allow
the gamer to play a central role in a deep and dramatic
story, determining it's final outcome.
What impact will it have on the development of Outcast
: The expertise and the size of the design
time allow us to conduct Outcast 2 as a design-driven
project. Rather then designing a concept and then
merely leave it's implementation to the arts and
tech teams, we are going to make the concept grow
and evolve gradually until the very end of the project.
That means that we really want to take care of the
details as much as possible, come up with mature
ideas, and exploit all the means made available
by the arts and tech teams in order to add more
and more richness to the game, yet taking care of
the feasibility of the product. We know that good
ideas can be implemented in different ways, and
we don't want good ideas to be discarded because
of implementation issues. That's why we're going
to refine and improve the design of the game until
it's mature enough to debut, closely following Outcast
2 just as if we were nurturing a baby.
outcastii.net : How
do you find Europe and working with Appeal?
: Well, Belgium is certainly different compared
to both Chile (where I lived during the last ten
years), and Italy (where I was born and bread).
I think it's a very lovely country, with very nice
people, even though I must say that the weather
around here is very, VERY rainy!
About Appeal, well, what can I say. I feel very
lucky to be here. The poeple around is great, and
I think that we have all that is needed to make
something good, really good.