Josué Monchan (Englisch)
Gesprächspartner: Benjamin 'Grappa11' Braun
Vom: 20.10.2009


Josué Monchan is author und game designer for Runaway - A Twist of Fate

Adventure-Treff:„Hello Josué. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers.“

Josué Monchan: „Hello there! I’m Josué Monchan, one of the Péndulo guys who have created the plot and puzzles for Runaway: A Twist of Fate, as well as writer of its dialogues. Well, at least in Spanish, because in German I have to share credits with Eva Hoogh, the translator. Oh, can I use your magazine to thank her for her involvement and wonderful job? Thanks, Eva!!!“

A-T: „In 2002 your first adventure game Runaway - A Road Adventure has been released in germany. Many adventure fans think, that your game set up a second spring for the point and click genre. Do you think that's true?“

Josué: „It’s a flattering question, for the simple reason that we love adventures. What is a fact is that after the unexpected success of Runaway: A Road Adventure, many other companies felt more confident about producing and releasing graphic adventures. If we’ve contributed to that, we can only feel proud.“

A-T: „Runaway 2 has been released four years later. The game was different from the first part. A different setting, more colorful comic graphics and much more humor - partly greasy, when you think about Lokelani for example. Runaway - A Twist of Fate is said to get back to the roots. Which issues of the game will be more like part one?“

Josué: „Technically, A Twist of Fate is not one nor the other, but an improvement of both. Characters are much more refined and better texturized, cinematics are far better, the engine has been thoroughly improved... But from a creative and narrative point of view, it is much closer to the spirit of the first one, as it happens in many trilogies, where the last title completes the circle.“

A-T: „Since Runaway has been released, there is a term used by adventure gamers you maybe do not like to hear - "Runaway syndrome".* In part two you did not really change that. Brian just gave comments to the player, that something should possible taken or done later. How will that be in A Twist of Fate?“

Josué: „It just won’t be. Between Runaway 2 and A Twist of Fate, we took a long time reading not only critics, but also the opinion of actual players in forums and blogs. We realized that the “Runaway Syndrome” was a malady in our game, so we got cured. Have for sure that there’s no trace of it in the new game.“

A-T: „Runaway 3 will include some assistance features like a hotspot marker or a journal. Why did you decide to install them?“

Josué: „Well, as for the “journal”, it’s a bit different than the journals that other games offer. While you can’t enter text in it, it will tell you where you are and what you’ve achieved, as well as hint at the overall goal. You’ll have to wait and see for yourself! There’s one more feature yet: the Help system, that gives hints to the player if he is stuck. The most veteran players will not need it, nor the other new features, so they just can ignore them. But novice players can have problems – there’s always a first time for everything – and get stuck. Once it happens, the player usually quits playing or searches a walkthrough in the web, thus taking away all the mystery and fun from the game. Our new features do never spoil the thrill or the challenge, but just give hints so the game can run as smoothly as the player wants.“

A-T: „The game looks very nice, especially the animations of the characters. Where do you set the main values in graphics?“

Josué: „The Runaway series have always been praised for its aesthetics, the beauty of its graphics and for the quality of its animations. But that was not enough for us, so we’ve improved a lot, mostly from a cinematographic point of view. I won’t say who, but one of the voice actors, when shown the first cinematic, said: 'Hey, liars, you told me it was a videogame!'“

A-T: „For the first time in Runaway, we will take control of Gina Timmins. How will the sections with Gina differ from Bran's?“

Josué: „Brian is a physics student, so he is very cerebral. He makes plans and follows them in a scientific way. Gina, on the other hand, lacks his training, but is far more intuitive. Brian may be intelligent, but Gina is smarter. For that reason, they will approach puzzles in their own different way, and the player will have to understand how their respective minds work in order to solve problems more easily.“

A-T: „The game starts on Brian's funeral. But if he is really lying dead in his coffin or not, in a sort of flashbacks we will be able to play as Brian too. Is he still the main character or will Gina play the main role?“

Josué: „Hey, you’re asking me to tell you the whole story? Of course, we will be able to play with Brian – in fact, we’ll play more with him than with Gina - but I can’t tell you more about the circumstances of his death. We don’t want a spoiler alert stuck in to this interview, do we? But in order to compensate, I’ll give you an extra info: we’ll be able to control a third character. One of the baddies, if you ask me.“

A-T: „Will there be cooperative gameplay in some scenes?“

Josué: „Not in a strict point of view, but in some scenes, somehow it will. What the player does with Gina will influence what other characters will be able to do or with what other playable characters will be able to interact with. Items dropped by one character will be picked up by the other, but, well, most of the time, you cannot switch characters freely.“

A-T: „The second chapter takes place in an insane asylum where we meet some curious people. That scene seems to be very humorous, more like part two. Should the game not be more sombre and more serious than your last game?“

Josué: „You’re right, but just before it, first chapter takes place in a cemetery. We can’t get more sombre than that... There’s another chapter in which we investigate a murder, and in another one we dwell among beggars crossing the night alleyways of New York. Of course, there’s humor, because it’s always been present in the saga. Some people complained that humor in the first Runaway didn’t appear till half of it (with the drag queens). Some others found that the second game was too comical. Well, this is part three and here we are, proud to say that we’ve found the ideal balance between thriller and comedy.“

A-T: „The two first Runaway games brought us many unique characters like Joshua, Sushi, Saturn or the drag queens Brian met in the desert. Will we meet some of them again?“

Josué: „Some of them will, of course, but not all of them. It’s like a TV series: some of the old characters disappear so new ones can appear. And I’m sure that players will enjoy Wasabi the mafia killer, Miss Palmer the nurse, Gabbo the psycho or Ernie the rock-a-billy lover.“

A-T: „Runaway 2 ends with a huge cliffhanger. Will A Twist of Fate give some answers to the many questions part two has left behind?“

Josué: „Of course, that’s part of the deal. The story that began in part 2 will find all its answers in the third one. But, on the other hand, there’s no need to have played the second to understand the third, because it also provides a complete new story. Thus, A Twist of Fate has two endings: its own and another one for the second game. And... well, in a way you could say that it also provides a third end that rounds up the story of Runaway: A Road Adventure. Ambitious, uh?“

A-T: „The first announcement of Runaway 3 sounds more like a spin off to the Runaway series. Now it is sheduled to complete the row. Why did you decide to bring Brian and Gina's story to an end?“

Josué: „You are right that the third one completes the circle, as I said before. That’s a usual thing with trilogies, and we always thought about Runaway as three parts game. In fact, A Twist of Fate ends in the same Manhattan neighborhood where Brian drove over Gina, back in the first Runaway. So, this is the end for now, as all good things must come to an end, and that is how it is supposed to be. But you never know what the future may bring. Fate can always twist one more time. Or can’t it?“

A-T: „You build a new game engine for Runaway 3. Something, a developer normally does not do for just one game. What are your plans for the future? What comes after Runaway?“

Josué: „After three games, we need to put Brian and Gina to rest. We need to move along and do something a bit different. But there are innovations in our engine that will remain not only for our next game, but also in many other graphic adventures. We’ve already talked about the help system, but there are more novelties. For example, the way that the character moves along the screen when double-clicking (instead of the traditional “running like mad for 2 meters and then suddenly stopping”) is something completely new, that turns A Twist of Fate in the most agile adventure ever, and who knows, it might be imitated by other adventures in the future.

About our immediate future... well, we’re already working in a new adventure, out from the Runaway saga, but with most of the elements that have given Péndulo games their unique and distinguishable voice. I’m pretty sure you’ll get to know its title very soon...“

A-T: „Thank you very much and good luck with A Twist of Fate.“

Josué: „Thank you for your questions. I really appreciate that you have pointed not only to the good, flattering things, but also to the most ambiguous and negative aspects. That is brave and sincere from your part, so thanks again.“