Interview: Iridium Studios’ Jason Wishnov on “There Came an Echo”
I reserve a special place in my heart for people who understand Firefly references, support Veronica Mars movies, and whose kickstarter campaigns actually need your help to get funded, instead of being somewhere between “Oh wow, look at all that money” and a “Let’s buy Greece!” stretch goal. So I was glad, when the founder of Iridium Studios, Mr. Jason Wishnov, told me he’d be up for a small interview. If you haven’t heard of the game he’s currently trying to get support for on kickstarter, check out my small summary of the game here on SciFiPulse. Alernatively, head over to “There Came an Echo”s page and – in case you like the idea – support the project. There’s only four days left and the game still needs 10k to hit its 90k target. But – let’s move on to the actual interview.
Dan Jung: Thanks for the interview, Jason. So. “There Came an Echo”. How’d you come up with that title and what exactly does it mean?
Jason Wishnov: Well, I wanted something a little unique, and one that indicates a slightly more serious tone for the game. But, you’ll forgive me in being cryptically vague on what, exactly, the title refers to…suffice to say, it isn’t just an acoustic reflection.
DJ: We already saw the core gameplay in the Kickstarter video, but what mechanics will be in place aside from “ordering people around”? Will there be a skill system to advance the protagonists, or a weapon/equipment upgrade system?
JW: We’re still playing around with a lot of these elements, but I can confirm that different soldiers will have different specialties and skills, and that you’ll be able to choose loadouts for each soldier prior to engaging in a mission. A big part of strategy is choosing your equipment wisely, and we really want players to try out different combinations.
DJ: With your focus on establishing a relationship between the player and the characters and a tight storyline, how much room for story-affecting decisions will there be? How about replayability?
JW: I’m not even gonna front, here…almost literally zero. I’m not a fan of non-linearity in narrative (though I admit, The Walking Dead recently did it as well as anybody ever has), and though there will be plenty of choice and customization in the gameplay and missions themselves, the story follows a very set track. This, in turn, would indicate a relative lack of replayability, but we have something planned to extend things beyond the existing campaign…*enigmatic laugh*
DJ: I followed the community solving the number sequence riddle at the end of your video with great interest. With the main character being a cryptographer, will there be riddles like this and possibly ARG elements in
JW: Unbelievably, incredibly likely. I’m a bit of an amateur cryptographer myself, and I absolutely love ARG-type content. I have some ideas on how to integrate all this stuff into the game, and while it can be safely ignored by the average gamer, anyone along my particular bent of interests will have a good extra bit of fun to have.
DJ: It looks like you already got the voice-actors for the main characters in place, yet I couldn’t find out who they are and what they did before. Who, besides Wil, will be lending their talent to the game?
JW: Oh, that’s because we haven’t cast them yet. One of the rewards of the Kickstarter is a chance to audition for some of the major roles in the game, and it would be a little unfair if the majority of those roles were filled before they had a chance to compete. I will admit I wrote myself a little bit role in there, somewhere. = D
DJ: A last question, just to satisfy my own geekiness (is that even a word?). With Wil Wheaton, you got one of the most popular faces of modern Geek culture on board. How big are the chances of seeing (or rather hearing) another Geek icon – the amazing Felicia Day – in the game?
JW: More than zero, actually. Financial reasons (if the Kickstarter did not succeed) prevented us from going after her in addition to Wil, but if we reach our goal (and we’re so close!), who knows? She has to be interested, of course, but we’d love to have her on board.
Doesn’t sound half bad, does it? A lot of other questions have already been answered on “There Came an Echo”s kickstarter page, so if you want to learn more about the game, check it out. I personally love the potential of the game. A futuristic, cyperpunkey setting – check. Ordering people around – yep. Ordering Wil Wheaton around – double-check. Tactical squad-based gameplay – I’ll stop now. See for yourself.
written by: Dan Jung