Dave Gilbert (Englisch)
Gesprächspartner: Michael Stein
Vom: 19.07.2009 „Hello Dave, would you please introduce yourself?“

Dave Gilbert: „Certainly! I’m Dave Gilbert, I’m 33 years old and I live in New York City. I have been an indie game developer since October of 2006 and have released four games under the banner of Wadjet Eye Games.“ „You made some freeware games before you founded Wadjet Eye. What came first, the idea for 'The Shivah' or the idea to sell your games at all?“

Dave Gilbert: „The idea, definitely. I had no intention of selling it when I first made it. In fact, I originally released it for free! I was unemployed at the time, having just come off a year-long stint as an english teacher in Asia, but I had some money saved up and wasn’t eager to get a 'real' job right away. So, I made 'The Shivah.' I enjoyed making it so much that I couldn’t envision doing anything else, so I decided to add the voice acting to The Shivah, add the music, and sell it.“ „Since the crash last year some upcoming big commercial projects are on hold. What positive or negative effects do you see in the actual financial crisis for independent game developers?“

Dave Gilbert: „It’s a scary time to be self-employed, I’ll say that much! I think the financial crisis has helped end the 'clone wars' somewhat. For a long time many games would unabashedly clone other successful gameplay models simply to cash in, but now that gamers are being selective about what they buy it’s more difficult to do that. Adventure games do not have that handicap. It’s never about the gameplay, it’s all about the story. So adventure game developers are in better shape than most.“ „Wadjet Eye and Lively Ivy signed a publishing deal for Erin Robinson's upcoming commercial project last year. What is the priority for Wadjet Eye in the future, development or publishing?“

Dave Gilbert: „Both! My longterm goal for the company is to have three branches. The first branch would be internal games like Blackwell and Shivah. The second would be external games, like Lively Ivy’s Puzzle Bots. The third would be games we do for other publishers, like PlayFirst and Emerald City Confidential. What I really want is to eventually content being produced for the site every few months instead of once or twice a year.“ „Are you in contact with other independent developers whose games you plan to publish?“

Dave Gilbert: „None that I can name. There are a few other developers that I’m talking to, but we are already working on three projects (“Blackwell Convergence”, “Puzzle Bots”, and another project for PlayFirst) so it’s difficult to take on another.“ „Let's talk about your last finished project, Emerald City Confidential. The story is loosely based on The Wizard of Oz, what was the reason for you to use this universe?“

Dave Gilbert: „I loved the Oz books as a kid, and I have developed a huge love of film noir in the last few years. I was watching 'The Maltese Falcon' and I had a weird vision of Peter Lorre playing the Scarecrow. The rest of the game steamrolled from there.“ „Will there be a sequel?“

Dave Gilbert: „Possibly. There’s been no word of one, but if PlayFirst requests it I will jump at it like a shot.“ „What about translations? Any plans to translate your games into other languages?“

Dave Gilbert: „Emerald City will definitely be translated into other languages. Unfortunately, I did not design my other games with easy localization in mind! A lot of text is burned into graphic assets, and translating it properly would mean redoing a lot of graphics from scratch. This lack of foresight is something I REALLY regret, but it’s not something I can fix easily. I don’t have the resources to do that on my own. Someday I hope to be able to hire a localization team to do all that for me, but for now I am not able to.“ „You are planning to release the third part of the Blackwell series, Blackwell Convergence, in a few days. Can you give us a short overview about the story?“

Dave Gilbert: „Sure. It takes place in the present day, and stars Rosa Blackwell again. The game starts off with them investigating the life of a deceased film actor who is haunting Central Park, but soon evolves in directions that they did not expect. The Countess from Blackwell Unbound will be back, and the game will answer many of the questions people had about her, as well as raising many more!“ „Are there any technical changes, what new features of AGS 3 are you using there?“

Dave Gilbert: „Unfortunately, I was unable to upgrade to the newest version of AGS due to a technical snafu. All my games use low-resolution graphics, but use high-resolution fonts. The newest version of AGS changes all of that. To upgrade requires me using low-resolution fonts which I don’t like.“ „Will the Blackwell series be continued or is this the final part?“

Dave Gilbert: „There are five Blackwell games planned, but that could grow! Either way, Convergence definitely is not the final game.“ „There are many spiritual elements in your games. Blackwell is about ghosts, The Shivah features a Rabbi and even the name of your company is connected to Egypt mythology. Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?“

Dave Gilbert: „Hm. Not spiritual exactly. I am jewish but I'm more traditional than religious. As I mentioned earlier, I had just come back from Asia when I created the Shivah, and it was the first time in my life where I felt very alone in my jewishness (New York City has a large population of jews). The Shivah was a way for me to reconnect with that part of myself.“

Regarding ghosts, I always loved ghost stories because of the emotional impact they can have. They are usually about loss or second chances or about finding closure, and they are so bittersweet.

As for the Wadjet eye logo, I was really into Egyptian mythology as a kid, and I always thought the image of the Wadjet Eye was cool. I knew that if I ever needed a logo for anything, I would use the Wadjet Eye. Since I couldn't think of a clever name for the company, I ended up just calling it "Wadjet Eye" since

I was already using it as the logo!“ „What are your plans for the future? Do you have any new ideas for games?“

Dave Gilbert: „My main plan is to keep making games! I’m working on another game for PlayFirst, which I unfortunately can’t talk about, and there will definitely be more Blackwell as well as something entirely new.“ „Thank you very much for your time and good luck with your upcoming releases.“

Dave Gilbert: „You are very welcome!“