Anestis: I am Project/Product Manager – CEO of ANIMA ppd-Interactive.
Anima post production was founded in 1993 by me, and it is located in Drama-Greece. Since 1993 Anima adopted State of Art equipment and know-how, with which it produces TV and radio commercial spots, logos in 2 or 3 dimensions, classic and modern ones.
In 1995 Anima started designing also websites and multimedia productions and 3d realtime graphics with the use of Direct X.
In 1998 the company began to apply its know-how in multi-media, directing, programming language applications ability and realtime programming and graphic designing into the production of a long-term and ambitious project which has recently been completed, entitled: "Conspiracies".
A.T.: How many people work there at Anima PPD at the moment?
For Conspiracies the core team that worked for 4 years was: protagonist and puzzle creator: Agelos Vougas, production manager and director: Anestis Kokkinidis, story - scenario writer: Marina Kokkinidou, leading software programmer: George Bonaros, rendering graphic designer: Dionysis Nicolaidis, music (original score): George Koukiaris, make-up artist: Maria Vouga, interior design: Ioanna Grigoriadou, director assistant/auto-cue: Maria Ouzouni and 30 more actors.
Currently we miss only Dionysis Nicolaidis who went to work in USA.
A.T.: When and how did the idea of Conspiracies came up?
Anestis and Agelos being friends for years and seriously addicted adventure gamers (starting from “Larry” I) always wanted to create their own game. Marina always wanted to write mystery stories. Everybody liked detectives and science fiction. During spring 1998, a sunny working day in Drama Greece, Anestis, tired of doing tv and radio commercials phoned Agelos and asked him if he was serious about participating into the creation of a game from scratch. Then they both asked Marina, to write a fabulous story for Anima’s first game. Marina created right away a story with an outsider saving the world (her favourite kind of stories), and named him “Nick Delios”. The rest is history.
A.T.: A lot of people think, that adventures of that kind are dead. What made you decide to do such a type of game anyway?
We think that a detective adventure game with good story, complex characters and structure is, and has always been, a classic. Nick Delios is a particularly attractive character, whom FMV (something rare these days because of the extremely high production cost), renders alive. Nick Delios is played by a real person and not a graphic design. Thus the player identifies himself with him. That’s the reason why “Conspiracies” is such an addictive game. The moment you become Nick Delios you want more.
A.T.: What was the most difficult process during the creation of Conspiracies?
The most difficult part of our effort had to do with people of the team, who didn’t have enough faith to us and to their abilities and walked away. Finally this became an advantage to us because we searched and found other partners, with vision and faith to their abilities and to our project. Eventually everything went just perfect.
Another big problem was also the money. “Conspiracies” where funded by us. But we think that everybody has that problem.
A.T.: How was the casting of the actors done, how did you find them?
Finding the actors, was not that hard. Many people liked the idea and the story and wanted to participate in it. And so they did.
It's really amusing when we go back in the past, remembering all that casting process. We almost made a “STAR ACADEMY” so we could choose and evaluate. Just imagine 40 people in a big blue box room trying to learn script lines and act as if they were in a real office, a casino, a space station etc when all they could see was cameras, lights and a lot of blue.
Agelos Vougas, Marina Kokkinidou und Anestis Kokkinidis answering questions of an obtrusive Adventure-Treff journalist... ;)
A.T.: Agelos, what did you think when Anima PPD first approached you with the idea of playing Nick in this game? What do you think about the story?
Agelos: For the first part of the question, you already have the answer above. Concerning my playing Nick, I accepted right after I read the scenario. I think Conspiracies is a great story which will be soon a classic and Nick is an affable guy with moments of greatness. The moment he looses everything at the same time he is capable of surprising everybody with his achievements (something everybody would like to do).
A.T.: Anestis, besides production and a lot of technical stuff (like the 3D rendering, directing, game design) you also played Argiriou. What do you think about this character? What inspired you to play especially this one?
Anestis: Since I am the “big boss” of Anima and also the “bad guy” who always shouts (you know about deadlines, production cost etc) I thought it would be appropriate to be the “big bad boss” of Detronics (Marina also thought so). I really enjoyed playing the “bbb” (big bad boss). The only problem was the cigar. I am not a smoker and after smoking 5 cigars in order to do the shooting I felt very dizzy.
A.T.: Did you do the English localisation of the product on your own? Where did you find the English voice actors?
Yes we did this on our own (meaning that we didn’t left it to be done by a foreign distributor). But since it was impossible for us to do the dubbing ourselves, we assigned localization to professionals. We think that SIERRA POST (Athens – GR) did an outstanding job with their great team of English and American actors.
A.T.: Conspiracies is a little bit like Tex Murphy games, which were financially not so successful. How much did Conspiracies cost approximately? How's the game paying off at the moment?
We have no idea about Tex Murphy's commercial success or failure. The truth is we loved the trilogy (Under a killing moon, Pandora's directive, Overseer),but we tried to make something in our own way.
Agelos: Concerning Conspiracies's project cost I can only say it was...painfully large..hahaha.
I'm really unable to estimate the exact cost.
I'd be glad to inform you about our game's paying off as soon as it start selling in USA and Australia.
Anestis (concering the costs): Toooo much!!! Please buy the game...
A.T.: Any funny stories you can tell about the development process of Conspiracies that happend during shooting time or sometime else?
Agelos: As you may see in game's CREDITS there are lot of real funny moments and we show there only the 1% of them.
Imagine actors who wore the wrong clothes, little noises ruining whole perfect scenes, batteries running out in the middle of the action, bad guys that could not shout to Tony (for example) properly, us making thousands of phone calls in order to find a glove or something that looked like a hologram device etc.
Anestis : Well, I remember an external shooting at Ydrama where Pekas meets Nick. We had to wake up very early because it was a much-frequented place and we didn't want other people in our scene. So, we woke up at 6.30 am. As we started shooting on location, all the strange things happened. Four dogs came near us playing and grunting. After sending dogs away a construction worker came right behind us with a bucket on his shoulder looking and waving at the camera!.. We all started laughing. After that a bell from a nearby chapel started ringing, while we were trying to shoot with our microphones having problem to move between the trees. Despite all these we finally made it just on time.
A.T.: Have you already looked for publishers in Germany?
We are looking for distributors in all European region. Since we already have a distributor for North America and another for Australia, we would really like to find one for Europe, but we are open to any proposals even if it is for one country.
A.T.: The Band Blues Wire has an appearance in your game. How come?
We really like the guys and their music. One night we heard them live in a beach bar outside Kavala and we thought it would be great to have them into our game. They liked very much the idea of participating in a unique FMV game such as Conspiracies and accepted apart from playing music, to play also a small scene! They are really popular in Greece and we were thrilled to have them.
A.T.: Are there any thoughts about a sequel or prequel of the game?
Marina: Yes, Nick Delios, is very much alive in my mind (and now I think in yours too...), and I’ve already started writing what happens next... But I also have in mind a book about Nick’s story before “Conspiracies”, we’ll see how things go. I hope that I’ll be able to continue creating adventures for Nick.
Marina, Anestis, Agelos - thank you very much for your time and good luck!