Last week we've just reviewed MumboJumbo's latest masterpiece, Angelica Weaver: Catch Me When You Can and rated it 4.5 Stars! We're so excited by the game that we recently caught up with John Newcomer, the Director of Game Design at MumboJumbo who worked behind this fantastic Hidden Object Adventure title.
What is your inspiration to create Angelica Weaver?
With the resurgence of adventure games and the popularity of paranormal crime-solving television shows, we thought a realistic crime solving game with supernatural undertones would be intriguing.
My goal was to insure the story and gameplay were completely intertwined. I needed a depth of victims and suspects to support a full-length game, and environments that lent themselves to layering in puzzles that fit the storyline and action.
After intense research on historical murders to give the story credibility, I came up with a thinly veiled rendition of Jack the Ripper (with all unnecessary violence discarded). What most intrigued me was using the suspects as characters and figuring out how their various occupations would provide entertaining settings for the clues, puzzles and overall adventure. London of 1888 worked as an interesting contrast to present-day Chicago. Some actual Ripper locations are included, though locations at convenient distances were also required for smooth gameplay.
What is the biggest challenge you faced when you were developing the game?
It took a lot of thought to develop ideas that would most appeal to our target audience for Angelica Weaver: Catch Me When You Can. What I think may be fun to play does not always match what our customer thinks will be fun. Initially, the story had more victims and suspects, with more weight on historical accuracy. But, we determined that having too many names to keep track of added confusion and took away from the gameplay.
On the technical side, to support the two time periods and the integration of 3D elements, the art style, gameplay and storytelling are more complex. Another challenge was the quantity of puzzles required to sustain a full game and bonus chapter. Creating puzzles that are fresh, fit the story, entertain the player, and are valid for a variety of skill levels, requires tremendous collaboration of the design, programming and art teams.
What is different about Angelica Weaver (as compared to other MumboJumbo games)?
While similar to our Midnight Mysteries series, which blend fantasy with historical fact, the Angelica Weaver: Catch Me When You Can storyline incorporates paranormal crime solving in both modern day and historical settings.
With our Samantha Swift series, we touched on making the title character a predominant feature, but with Angelica Weaver we’ve taken it a step further. She is animated in the HUD and steps out to interact with victims at crime scenes throughout the game. She also relays clues and observations to the player through voice over.
We included several new game features that help pace the gameplay. The tutorial system is more refined, and we streamlined the way the inventory is displayed. We also separated character comments that help further the story from general commentary, which was put into “black bar text.”
Why do you think Angelica Weaver is worth playing?
It’s fun! Stunning visuals and a gripping storyline full of twists and turns. The puzzles and activities are unique and so addictive that you won’t want to skip over them. The hint system is the best in the business. The chapters are deep, giving Angelica Weaver more gameplay than most games.
Do you personally enjoy playing the game? Why?
Of course, even though I played the game countless times tuning and testing, it is still fun. I like the art style, atmosphere and theme. The puzzles not only tie directly to the story, but also are challenging yet fun. Additionally, I feel a connection with the main character.
Are there any upcoming projects or sequels currently under development that you would like to share with us and the readers?
You should expect to see a new Midnight Mysteries in the months to come. Telling who the major characters are would be a spoiler. Expect the unexpected.