Indiana Jones, the Spanish government and Dead Synchronicity: An interview with Fictiorama

“Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow comes today” is an upcoming Switch release by Spanish developers Fictiorama. Before the game hit the virtual eShop shelves, we had a chat with the chaps from Fictiorama to talk about Switch hardware, the ports that could have been, and a zombie apocalypse. You can find our rather fun interview below.

Infinite Frontiers: Can you please tell us a bit about Dead Synchronicity for those who are unfamiliar with the title?

Fictiorama: Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow comes Today is an adventure game targeted on a more mature audience than what’s usual in the genre. It tells the quite dark and bloodstained story of Michael, a man with no past, who should recover his identity and decode the two events that brought the world to the edge of collapse: firstly, a terrible pandemic that is turning all of humanity into “the Dissolved” – the sick whose deliria provide them with supernatural cognitive powers… but also steer them towards a gruesome death.

Secondly, and allegedly the root of this illness, there is “the Great Wave”, an inexplicable chain of natural disasters that destroyed all energy sources and communications and plunged the world into a chaos ruthlessly controlled by both the authorities and the army alike.

Because, if Michael doesn’t hurry, he won’t be able to avoid the impending moment of “dead synchronicity”… when Time itself dissolves!

IF: Did you consider other ports during development? Like the Wii U or Vita, for example?

F: We have always been interested in having Dead Synchronicity ported to other platforms. Wii U and Vita were considered and, in fact, at some moment, after seeing a real interest of the Nintendo community in the game, we started to plan a Wii U version.

We even began to design how to use the Wii U second screen, enrolled Fictiorama as Wii U developers… Unfortunately, we eventually couldn’t go on with the project since, as a tiny company, it’s always hard to do lots of things simultaneously by yourself. At that time we were tweaking the existent versions of Tomorrow Comes Today (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android); arranging the rewards of the Kickstarter campaign we run to fund the game; starting to design the approach of our new game Do Not Feed the Monkeys; beginning with the pre-production of The Underground Highways, which will be the sequel to Tomorrow Comes Today… Facing a new port of Dead Synchronicity by our own, at that time, would have been far too much on our plate, so we had to let it go.

Luckily our dream of having Dead Synchronicity on a Nintendo console has now become true!

IF: What was the process of creating the Switch version like?

F: Since Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today was originally developed using Unity, and considering there are Unity versions that support Nintendo Switch for some months now, the process has been quite smooth.

It’s not that, like some people might think, you just select Nintendo Switch as output platform in Unity, press “build” and that’s all. It’s much more difficult than that, since every time you export a game to a different platform new bugs appear, old bugs re-appear… and of course you have to test hardware specifications and APIs, have a quite intense QA by yourself and the platform…

But to be honest the port, for which we had the support of our developing friends at Stage Clear, has gone really nice, and the help of Badland Publishing as a publisher has been very valuable. Playing the game on Switch is as fun and pleasant -and even more!- as doing it in other platforms.

All in all, we’re really, really happy with the port and we’re sure players are going to enjoy the game.

The Fictiorama guys working hard.

IF: What do you think about the Switch hardware?

F: It’s awesome, both as developers and as players. Nintendo has always been like “playing their own match”, with their own rules, and it’s great to see a company that tries to innovate their own way. Sometimes they nail it, as with Wii; and, well, sometimes the market does not respond as they expected, as with Wii U.

Of course players that want some more powerful, versatile hardware can always choose the Sony and Microsoft consoles. In fact, Dead Synchronicity was released for PS4 some months ago, and we love the port as much as players are liking it! But it’s pretty cool to have a player like Nintendo, in the “consoles league”, trying to do things differently.

IF: What’s the process of developing a game like in Spain? Is there any government support?

F: Well… there’s not too much government support, actually. There are some courses of action, but the video games industry is still far from having the support other sectors have in Spain, let’s say cinema.

We at Fictiorama are now part of the board of DEV, the most important association of video games developing companies in Spain, and we’re like taking the “indie community claims” to DEV. DEV is really struggling to get more support from the different administrations, and some important milestones have been achieved lately, like having video games recognized as a “cultural industry”. But there’s still a long way ahead, and we, as a part of DEV, are really committed to get as much support as possible.

On top of that, the indie community in Spain is awesome. Most of the video games companies in Spain are tiny SMEs (with, let’s say 2, 4… 6 people), and we’re aware the only way to go on is supporting each other.

IF: What can players expect from Fictiorama in the future?

F: Now we are of course focused on the Nintendo Switch release of Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today, and we’re really eager to hear from players and media about the port. For a small company like Fictiorama every game is like our little baby, so this is “our little baby going to a new school”, and we can’t wait to see it in action. In fact, the first time we see someone playing Dead Synchronicity in their Switch in the subway it’s quite likely that we can’t help asking that player about the game! 😀

Secondly, we’re facing the final stage of the development of Do Not Feed the Monkeys, our next game, which will be released early 2018. It’s a “digital voyeur simulator” and we’re enjoying the development so much! The game puts the players in the role of a voyeur that invades the privacy of dozens of strangers and witness their most intimate moments… while players struggle to keep up to date with paying the rent and putting some food on the table.

It’s a game that mixes narrative and resource management mechanics, and the feedback so far is really, really great: the game has been awarded in several international festivals, including the “Media Choice Award” at the latest IndieCade Europe festival, and players that try it get fascinated by its originality and its approach.

Thirdly, we’re slowly but surely working in The Underground Highways, which is the sequel to Tomorrow Comes Today. We will give it a big boost when Do Not Feed the Monkeys is finished!

IF: If there was a zombie apocalypse, and you could choose your party from 5 video game characters from any franchise and time period, who would they be and why?

F: Wow, fun but tough question! Firstly, we think Lara Croft & Indiana Jones: because, who would be better than these two experienced adventurers to solve all kinds of problems?

Then, we’d probably choose the Doom protagonist, since this character is probably the most appropriate soldier to fight the evil… and again is so experienced!

As odd as it might sound, we’d probably choose GlaDOS as well: she’s so persuasive that we’d probably could even get her convincing some zombies that our flesh is not the tenderest cut of meat around.

And, well, we’d end up choosing Michael, from Dead Synchronicity: after all he has to face (pandemics, catastrophes, “dissolved” people, ruthless soldiers, bad guys like “the Hunter”), how witty he gets to solve the mysteries, and the awful things he is forced to do to finish the game… he would be a great asset to face a zombie apocalypse!


You can check out a teaser trailer for “Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow comes today” below”

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