Every so often I find myself importing games from Europe that I know are never going to come stateside, even though they are in English. These include things like Doshin the Giant for the GameCube, Tales of Eternia for the PSP, Shenmue 2 for the Sega Dreamcast, Another Code: R and Secret Files 2 for the Nintendo Wii and Agarest: Generations of War for the PS3. In 2012, you’ll be able to add Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle to that list. This point and click adventure game is hitting the PS3, Wii, DS and PC in the first quarter of 2012, and although I haven’t decided which console to import it for, it’ll probably be for the PS3 for the high def visuals and to test out the Move controls. Well, and because it’s the most import friendly of the four systems.
Captain Morgane is the third game in the So Blonde series. The first only made it stateside via PC digital distribution, which meant that anyone who wasn’t a big adventure game fan to begin with probably missed it entirely. The sequel, So Blonde: Back to the Island was only released on the Wii and DS, and then only in Europe, so that too was missed by both North American gamers and the majority of point and click adventure fans, as they tend to primarily stick to the PC. Those that have played both games tend to be positive about the series, and now with Captain Morgane, the series spins off with a new protagonist. As Captain Morgane is one of the more high profile adventure games of 2012, and it’s the first that many of our North American console readers will be able to encounter, I decided to interview someone at either Reef Entertainment or WizarBox (The publisher and developer respectively). Wizarbox’s own JérÃƒÂ´me Britneff-Bondy, the lead game designer for Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, was kind enough to sit down and answer my questions for me. Read on to see just why I’m importing this in a few months.
Diehard GameFAN: Tell us a little bit about the cast and story of Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle.
JérÃƒÂ´me Britneff-Bondy: The story takes place in the Caribbean and will let you play with Morgane Castillo, the daughter of a famous pirate. The game takes place over five different islands, each one having its own ambiance. You’ll meet 40+ colorful characters with their unique personality, including ghosts, shaman, rich adventurers, rastas, strange animals and pirate competitors. The story is built around three plots: your search for a legendary treasure, rumors about your uncle possibly being alive when everyone thought he was dead long ago, and your personal story as a young female character trying to find your place in a men’s world.
DHGF: In Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle one has to play as Morgane at eight and later when she is seventeen. Will the game play differently based on the two different versions of Morgane?
JBB: You only play Morgane as a child in the first chapter, which is used as a tutorial to let you handle the game play and set the story. The game mechanics remain the same in the other chapters.
DHGF: How is Captain Morgane a spin-off from So Blonde? As well, will you need to have played So Blonde in order to understand everything in Captain Morgane?
JBB: Captain Morgane was introduced in the So Blonde universe by the mean of the two previous games. We realized from players’ feedbacks that they really enjoyed Morgane (who was the opposite of Sunny, the young hero from the original saga), so we decided to tell her story and make a game around her, just like what is done with TV series. That being said, you don’t need to have played any of the So Blonde games to understand and fully enjoy Captain Morgan and the Golden Turtle. However, we included a lot of references to the characters and situations from the previous games in such a way that you never feel like you’ve missed a part of the story.
DHGF: What are some of the locations we’ll be traveling to in the game?
JBB: The story takes you all over the Caribbean and will let you access five different islands. Each island has its own story and ambiance. There is Bounty Island, the home of Morgane, which is a great place for business. There is also Crab Island, an intriguing place supposedly haunted by werecrabs (just like werewolves… but with crabs!). The island from the So Blonde saga, Hollow Island, is also accessible, along with the mysterious Tanner Island. I won’t tell anything about the last island to avoid spoiling the story too much Ã¯ÂÅ
DHGF How linear is Captain Morgane? I saw from the website that “your actions have direct consequences for those depending on you.” Does that mean the game will have branching paths and multiple endings?
JBB: Unlike most games published nowadays, we decided to have a single ending in this episode. Rather than making X different endings that will only be seen by a few, we decided to put our efforts into the creation of a semi open-world; This means that once you’ve discovered an island, you’ll be able to come back there anytime you want. Although the game itself is quite linear to ensure the storytelling, the order in which you’ll perform your actions will make you some differences. You’ll have to keep in mind what you’ve seen and discussed on each island because it may come in handy later on in your adventure.
DHGF: It’s interesting that the main character in a pirate video game is female. Historically it was considered bad luck to sail with a woman on board a ship (especially in the 17th century when this game takes place). Does the inherent sexism of the time period and particularly with sailors come into play at all in the game?
JBB: You mention a true historical point that has its importance in the story. As a female, most people you’ll encounter won’t consider you seriously at first. You first challenge as a Captain will be to gain their trust and prove that you are as capable as a man. To do so, you’ll have to recruit your own crew.
DHGF: One of the things that first helped Captain Morgane catch my eye was that it was a comedy adventure game. Aside from the Sam & Max series or The Next Big Thing, we don’t see a lot of comedy or light hearted games these days. Even the majority of adventure games these days tend to be horror oriented. What made you decide to do a comedy game in this age of Gears of War, Modern Warfare 3 and assorted RPGs with angst-ridden anti-heroes?
JBB: I think the comedy approach is great because it touches a larger audience. Some games are violent because of their genre (FPS, survival, horror) but there was no real reason for us to use violence. Games are supposed to be entertaining and spending hours shooting on people isn’t exactly relaxing unless you’re a true psycho. Also, the game is build around adventure and storytelling. If we can bring you both and also make you smile (or even laugh) from time to time, then we’ve reached our goal.
DHGF: Adventure games tend to live or die based on the puzzles they contain. What are some of the puzzles we’ll have to get through in Captain Morgane?
JBB: We included many puzzles that won’t surprise experienced adventurers or new comers: most puzzles are logical can be solved by using the right item at the right place. Sometimes the solution can also come through information you’ve learned talking to someone. We also use item combinations (to create new items or alternate existing ones). Amongst the new things we added, are “limited action”Â sequences. At a time you’ll be trapped in a burning house you must escape. Each one of you action will take you some time. If you spend too much time doing useless actions, the place will burn and you will have to restart the sequence. You can also have some of your friend’s or teammates portraits in your inventory. If you use the portrait of Diego, a very strong man, on an obstacle blocking your way, he’ll come into the scene and eventually propose you to move the obstacle for you.
DHGF: Captain Morgane is coming to the PC, Wii, DS and PS3. We don’t see a lot of point and click adventure games making it to consoles these days. What made you decide to bring Captain Morgane to other platforms? Also, why not for the PSP or Xbox 360?
JBB: The game was initially developed for PC, Wii and DS. The graphic assets of the PC version were made in high resolution so we realized it could work on the Next Gen platforms. Also, the PS3 move controller is very close to the Wiimote controller so we tried to port a few scenes on the PS3. The result was astonishing so we decided to make the game on PS3. With the lack of traditional adventure games on this support, we decided that it was worth the effort.
As Wizarbox financed the project, we needed to make choice because we could not cover all the platforms, financially speaking.
DHGF: How difficult was it to design Captain Morgane for four different platforms?
JBB: We are used to develop games for several platforms. It was not difficult to design Morgane as the story and the gameplay is the same. Concerning the ergonomic (stylus DS, mouse, wiimote, move, pad…), it was already developed for So Blonde.
DHGF: Captain Morgane is scheduled for an early 2012 release in Europe. Are there any plans to bring it to North America?
JBB: We are currently speaking with several US publishers to bring the game in North America territories.
There you go! As of the time this article was being edited for publication, Reef Entertainment gave me a release date of February 24th, 2012 for Europe and no date yet for North America. If it does come stateside it will probably be via PC digital distribution like So Blonde, so if you’re looking to play it for a Nintendo system or on the PS3, you’ll want to import it. The Wii is a bit tricky to play import games on, but the DS and PS3 are region free so you won’t need to adapt your systems at all for to play Captain Morgane. The best places to import from at Game or The Hut. Amazon.co.uk won’t mail most video games to the states, but the two options above not only will, they’re also pretty reasonably priced. We’ll be back in late Feburary with a full review of Captain Morgane and the Golden Turtle, so don’t forget to check back here and read it when the game is out! In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the game, you should visit the official website for it.