Epiphany Games recently announced episodic role-playing game Majestic Nights, which draws it's subject matter from the conspiracy theories of the 1980's and treats them as reality. In it, players step into the role of male intelligence operative Cardholder and female private investigator Cal. The characters work to uncover clues surrounding various conspiracy theories and reveal the truth behind them. Epiphany Games CEO Morgan Lean shared five intriguing reasons to explore the game.
Travel Back To The Neon Glow Of The '80s
Despite being set in an alternate version of the '80s, Lean stated that knowledge of the era is not necessary to understand it, although familiarity with the subject matter would be beneficial.
"You don't need to know the '80s to get it, but it's definitely an advantage to know some of the pop culture of the era. We wanted to be able to contrast the bright, colorful and lively '80s with some of the darkest cover-ups and conspiracies of the last 50 years - there really was no other decade that could do it!" he said.
It's Like A Mash-Up Of The X-Files, Airwolf, And Indiana Jones
"The X-Files definitely was a huge influence along with Knight Rider, Airwolf, Miami Vice and Dark Skies. For movies we had Indiana Jones, Big Trouble in Little China and Back to the Future." Lean said.
Real-life conspiracy theories also had a significant influence on the game, with Lean citing inspirations from the moon landing hoax and Project MKUltra, a secret US government program investigating the possibilities of mind control, which launched in the 1950s. The project was eventually brought to light in the 1970s.
"I was investigating conspiracies and afterwards, I worked out that some were true, and I wondered 'How could we make a game that shows people the reality?'" he said.
It Could Come To Consoles
Epiphany Games is familiar with developing for the PC, Mac, and mobile platforms, with real-time strategy game Frozen Hearth having launched for PC in September last year. With a background in developing games for such platforms, releasing Majestic Nights for these made "the most sense."
Lean did not entirely rule out the possibility of a console launch though, having said that the developer "absolutely [wanted] Majestic Nights on consoles, and plan to do that as soon as we can. For launch, though, we're going with what we know and are good at."
Play As Both Male And Female Protagonists
When asked whether the decision to include both sexes stemmed from the recent Ubisoft controversy, Lean said the playable protagonists were "just the characters we wrote... as a small indie studio we have the creative freedom and flexibility to be able to make the characters we want to make,"
Speaking specifically about Ubisoft's recent comments about creating female characters in its games, Lean said, "people like to latch on to conflict… we wrote the character almost a year ago now, so none of the controversy from Ubisoft or anyone else really factored into the decision. Their all-male cast is their decision - doesn't matter to us. There is definitely an under-representation of women in games - that's totally true. I suppose because we have no publisher, we can just do what we like."
Its Episodes Could Be Standalone Stories
Speaking on the choice of releasing the game in episodes, Lean said the studio "wanted to be able to create sets of stories in advance that were quite diverse, and to be able to have a natural way to switch between players."
According to him, the desire to have multiple writers also suited the chosen format. "Each chapter will really feel different, and in the same way comic books can go in different directions based on which author is penning them. [Majestic Nights] has that same flexibility."
To take on the task of creating episodic content, Epiphany Games has two content teams who "leapfrog" the chapters to work on the game. According to Lean, Majestic Nights is targeted at gamers who sport a love of stories and the role-playing genre. If the idea of investigating conspiracy theories sounds appealing, the prologue for Majestic Nights is scheduled to launch in September this year as a free download. A total of six episodes are planned, with one released each subsequent month. The game will launch for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android tablets.
|Zorine Te is an associate editor at GameSpot, and you can follow her on Twitter @ztharli|
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