Interview with Carlo Fabricatore
Interview with Carlo Fabricatore - Feb 2001

  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 : 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 manager. : Are there any essential aspects which motivated you to participate into the design of a much wider audience game like Outcast?

  C.F. : 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)?

  C.F. : 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 2?

  C.F. : 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. : How do you find Europe and working with Appeal?

  C.F. : 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.
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