We fired a big load of questions at Mirek Papez from Centauri Production. She answered them all and gave us some new screenshots as well.
RPGDot: Could you tell us something about the team and the development process? For how long have you been working on Gooka? How many people are working on it?
Mirek Papez: The Centauri Production team is based in Prague in the Czech Republic. Our crewmembers have been working on many excellent titles like Operation Flashpoint, Mafia, UFO:Aftermath before joining Centauri Production. And Gooka itself is a long, long story. We have been thinking about this title for almost 5 years and finally in last 14 months it has come true. At the final stage of the game there were 8 people working on this project.
RPGDot: Gooka - The Mystery of Janatris is a sequel. The world is based upon the books by Richard D. Evans. To what extent do you need knowledge of the first installment of the books to enjoy The Mystery of Janatris? Are any of the books translated?
Mirek Papez: Yes, it could be called a sequel to "Gooka" released in 1996 in the Czech Republic only. But to be able to fully enjoy The Mystery of Janatris you do not need to have any experience with the book nor with the 2D adventure game from 1996. Every important fact from the past is reminded by dreamy memories through the whole game. Unfortunately not a single book by Richard D. Evans has been translated so far.
RPGDot: Gooka has been described as an action/adventure and as a point-and-click rpg. Could you describe the game experience more precisely? How does the gameplay work?
Mirek Papez: We would prefer not to call it as a point-and-click because the player will not see any cursor during the gameplay and in addition we tried to design all possible controls so you can feel free to use mouse or keyboard or gamepad. We would rather simply call it RPG adventure because we think this is what the player will really experience during the game. "Adventure" - because of typical dialogs with NPCs and solving quests & puzzles. "RPG" - because of character's attributes and turn-based combat.
How much freedom will the players experience? Are there multiple solutions to a task or problem?
Mirek Papez: The game is divided into four chapters. Each chapter features suitable architecture which allows you to feel its unique atmosphere. Some of the locations will be more about quest and puzzle solving; other will revolve around fighting and avoiding booby traps. Aside from the main plot, which is more or less linear, there are also side quests.
Is there any other game on the market that can be compared with it?
Mirek Papez: It is hard to tell, but if we had to choose it is somewhere between Broken Sword and Final Fantasy.
To what extent will it appeal to an RPG audience?
Mirek Papez: Certainly combat phase of the game is the most rpg like. We designed a simple system which works perfectly and we are already working on some tuning and upgrading it for the future. Basically there are four character's attributes - Health, Body Strength, Mind Strength and Speed. Skills are divided into two groups - Mental and Physical. The player is leveling in each stat and gathers new skills during the gameplay.
Tell us more about the gameplay and interface: Is there an automap, a journal and a quest book? Are there dialogues? Will there be an inventory system?
Mirek Papez: The map is not really needed because the levels are not huge, but there is a journal with some helpful information and quests list. Both of them are a part of the inventory where you can handle any objects found during Gooka's journey or bought in the special stores. In some dialogs the player has a possibility to choose the subject of conversation but anyway everybody will have to go through all issues as usually
Can you describe typical situations regarding combat? How do you handle it? Do you need different weapons or tactics for different enemies? Will you also offer ranged combat?
Mirek Papez: There are always two sides in the combat with maximum to four characters in each. The order of turns is based on character's speed. During your turn you can choose from the following options: physical attacks, mental attacks, meditation, using objects. Every enemy has a different weak point and you have to find it to win. Meditation will not only help you to recover but may also transfer energy between your Mind and Body. This is necessary when you will face monsters that are very strong but stupid . There are no ranged weapons in the game but you can use such skills as a fireball to attack the enemy from a distance.
Will you incorporate Magic in the game? If there is some kind of magic system; How does it work? Will you be able to use magic yourself?
Mirek Papez: You will not find this word in our game but do not worry - we have the Mind Strength instead. It is Mana and Spells put together. There are two groups of skills then: Mental, which affect Mind and Physical which affect Body. Main character starts with one skill of each group but he will gather more after winning battles or completing quests.
Is there a character creation process?
Mirek Papez: The skills of our hero are predefined, but as we have already mentioned, during the game they can be improved and developed. It is up to the player how the character develops, if they use more physical attacks they will receive extra points to his Body Strength or they could specialize in Mental Attacks.
The CPAL3D engine is a multi platform engine. Will Gooka be released on more than one platform?
Mirek Papez: Our CPAL3D engine is very flexible. The game is being released worldwide for PC at the moment, but we are looking into the possibility to port it over home video consoles.
The Gooka trailer shows a wide range of objects being held, placed, falling on the floor. Are all these scenes created within the engine or are the cinematic sequences?
Mirek Papez: Everything was created within our engine. We have excellent tools to work with the camera (based on system for cartoon movies). But we already find it necessary to improve them to be even more suitable for games in the future.
When will Gooka be released? In what countries/languages wil it be released?
Mirek Papez: Gooka: The Mystery of Janatris has been released in UK on 9th of July. Next releases will follow within days in Benelux countries and Scandinavia, and within weeks in France, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Our publisher is about to sign the contracts for other territories as well.
What other projects are you working on, or are you planning for the near future?
Mirek Papez: You probably mean what lies on our desk with a big stamp "Top secret" We can not say yet… but we can reveal a little bit our nearest future. Simultaneously with Gooka we have been working on a funny action adventure game and now we are at the prototype stage. We are also working on some titles for mobile gaming industry. Finally and hopefully we will start our new big project this autumn.
Is there anything else you would like to add for our readers?
Mirek Papez: RPG rules What is better than to nurse your own hero?
Thank you very much for this interview (and your kind words)!