Interview with Fabrice Breton on Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure (PC/PS Vita)

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The Adventure Game genre is one open to a lot of creative ideas. You can create really inventive puzzles to solve, charming stories to experience and more through this genre of gaming. Seeing this genre steadily grow over the past few years after taking a break in the early 2000’s is wonderful to see. I was able to speak with game developer Fabrice Breton, developer on the adventure game Dementrios: The Big Cynical Adventure which released on the PC platform in the past.
The game is releasing on December 6th on the PS Vita platform and I am honored to be speaking with him regarding this enjoyable adventure title.

RK: What got you interested in gaming to begin with? Did you enjoy the very first game you ever played?
Fabrice Breton: Well, I practically started gaming at the same time I started programming, at the age of 10 on an Amstrad CPC 6128. It came with a fully translated manual in French (something pretty rare back then) and I started writing and learn how to code thanks to it! I can’t exactly remember what game was the first, but my earliest memories are games on this old 80’s computer (Fruity Franck, Gryzor, Paperboy…) and the Sega Master System (Alex Kidd in miracle world!)
RK: I grew up on new systems (GameCube, GameBoy Color) but I highly respect that era of gaming. It was the foundations for where gaming is today. Loved Alex Kidd’s games, so happy you enjoyed them a lot! When starting development on games, what was the hardest part of development?
Fabrice Breton: It was a tough decision. I had to quit my 7-year job, moved to another region (closer to my family) and bought an apartment. So this was really like starting a new life! Then it’s hard to do so many things at the same time – programming, learning and doing art (which I never did much before!), music, story writing, marketing, accounting… Making a first commercial game alone is as much learning as doing!
RK: Sounds like you risked a lot to enter game development, but it shows how committed you are to your passions and dreams. What game genres did you enjoy playing the most?
Fabrice Breton: I’ve always been a gamer so I play very various types of games. However, as I grow older, I certainly love the games with narration more than the others. So adventure games and visual novels are my favorite now.

RK: I love Adventure Games and Visual Novels, so I completely understand that. Games with a heavy story focus can be very enjoyable if they offer a strong story. Can you share the origin of the concept for Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure?
Fabrice Breton: This project is actually a remake of an unreleased game I made when I was fifteen, in 1999. It started as a fan game of the Broken Sword series – so now you know the main inspiration! I played them on the PS1 and when I got my first PC, I started working on an adventure game of my own. It was complete – but back then, it was too much difficult for a boy with no marketing skills to release a game on the market. Now the situation is different! The remake improves on pretty much every aspect of the original.
RK: That is very impressive! Making a full game at that age is quite impressive and I can clearly see the Broken Sword series influence on Demetrios. No wonder the game is so charming and witty! What is your favorite section of the Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure that you are the most proud of?
Fabrice Breton: It may not be everyone’s favorite, but I’ve always loved the funfair in chapter 2 :). I played Final Fantasy 7 not long ago before doing the original version of Demetrios, and I loved the Gold Saucer mini games so this was an idea based on it – making a whole environment dedicated to “games in the game”. It’s still something you don’t see so much, but it adds variety to the gameplay!
RK: That part of Final Fantasy VII was quite enjoyable, so glad you included a portion similar to that in Demetrios. Did you have any inspirations when working on Demetrois? If so, what games or ideas?
Fabrice Breton: As mentioned, the classic adventure games from the late 90’s: Broken Sword series, Discworld, Runaway… But for this new version, I also got some inspiration from the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney series.
RK: When the game released on other platforms, were you happy with the reception the game got?
Fabrice Breton: In terms of rating, yes, I’m satisfied, especially for a first game. Demetrios got a lot of praise in the reviews. So far it didn’t sell very well on PC, but for a single developer these are still acceptable – barely enough to make living, though I didn’t have high expectations and haven’t done any aggressive sales yet. Tons of adventure games got released the same year on PC and people’s wallet isn’t expandable! I have absolutely no idea how the Vita version will perform, you can never find any sales figures for PSN titles so it will be a total surprise!
RK: Shame to hear that the game didn’t sell as well as you wanted but glad to hear that you was happy with the critical reception. When the game was announced for Vita development, how was your reaction to the Vita community?
Fabrice Breton: Unexpectedly awesome! Actually the Vita community is the main reason I was able to make this version. When I posted the Kickstarter, some noticed my game and directed me to Sony who were interested and lent me a dev kit. Now that I’ve done some communication for the upcoming Vita release, I’m noticing so many people are interested in the game, ask me questions about it etc… This didn’t happen with the PC version, so that’s a really nice surprise :).
RK: The Vita community loves it when developers support the platform, myself included, so many of us asking about the title comes with releasing software on the Vita. We are very happy to see you supporting the system with your title. When developing the game on Vita, were there any challenges getting the game to run on Vita? And what design elements you changed or took into consideration once you saw what the hardware could offer Demetrios: The Big Cynical Adventure?
Fabrice Breton: I had some issues with the loading times especially. The Vita CPU clearly doesn’t compare to a modern computer CPU, so I had to use some optimization to make sure the pictures and text files load quick enough to make it an enjoyable experience on the Vita. The Loading Times are near-instant on PC, while they take 1-2 seconds between each screen on the Vita.
I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t be enough, but so far the few people who played it said the loading times felt very short and more than acceptable. Also had to squeeze down the graphics to meet the resolution of the Vita (about 1/4th of the original 1080p res) so they can fit in memory, and scale up the interface so the text is easy to read on the Vita screen. And I had to implement proper touch and buttons controls, this took some time but wasn’t the hardest part. All in all, it’s pretty much the same version as PC, just optimized for the console!
RK: Interesting to hear how much effort you put into getting the game ready for the Vita. Great that the game supports the touch screen, which is important for an adventure game. What games are you currently playing now?
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Fabrice Breton I just finished BioShock, and started playing an adventure game I backed on Kickstarter in 2012 – Tesla Effect (A Tex Murphy Adventure). Yes, I’m late and I’ve got a full library of Steam games waiting to be played 🙂
RK: Anything you would like to say to the readers about the game to close the interview?
Fabrice Breton: Demetrios will release on December 6th in North America and Europe for 9.99 €, and it’s fully translated in 6 languages so everyone should be able to understand and appreciate it!
It requires only 250 MB of memory card space and it’s got a Platinum trophy to unlock! I know a lot of Vita players like these. Thank you for the interview!
RK: It was a pleasure speaking with you about this enjoyable adventure game!

You can learn more about Demetrios through visiting the games official website, Facebook, and Febrice’s twitter pages. The game is currently out now for the PC and will be releasing on the PS Vita platform in December.

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