Mit diesem Interview mit Christopher Bischoff, Mastermind des auf GameExperience schon vorgestellten Sci-Fi-Adventures STASIS, beginnt eine Serie von Gesprächen mit Entwicklern besonders interessanter Spiele und interaktiver Erfahrungen. Und STASIS ist verdammt interessant. Es funktioniert einerseits als Point & Click-Adventure im Sci-Fi-Setting und andererseits erhebt die bis ins Mark zu spürende Einsamkeit des Protagonisten STASIS zu mehr als „nur“ einem normalen Spiel. Was übrigens auch für den nicht gerade alltäglichen Entwicklungsprozess gilt: Christopher Bischoff lotste sein Baby nicht nur erfolgreich durch eine Kickstarter-Kampagne, sondern ist alleinverantwortlich für die Programmierung von STASIS. Hut ab.

STASIS looks like a mixture of different genres in one Game – as I can say after playing the Alpha-Demo. Surely it is a Point & Click-Adventure first, but has very strong elements of exploration and an intensive, adult story. How would you describe your game?

Stasis is an adventure game for players who want a mature play experience. Larger Science Fiction titles (Mass Effect, Bioshock, Dead Space) have beautiful, fully realized Science Fiction worlds and stories that would be at home in novels or films – STASIS is a game that takes those harder and more mature ideas and puts them into a Point & Click adventure. If anything, it’s a love letter to Science Fiction horror.

STASIS has an extremely claustrophobic atmosphere. Like the first Dead Space but without aggressive Mutants (in the Demo-Version). Which other emotions do you want to provoke with your game?

Christopher Bischoff

STASIS hopes to capture a dystopian and lonely feel about it. There is the question of how far humanity could go if we had no moral checks or balances in place – John’s story asks how far he’ll go to protect the people he loves. Take an ordinary man and place him in a extremely horrific set of circumstances, how would he change?

You wrote on your Website that Stasis is a game of an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation. Why did you choose the Space-Scenario for this kind of a story? And not your Hometown Johannesburg, for instance?

I’m a Space-Science Fiction-Genre kind of guy! The ship that STASIS takes place on (the Groomlake) is essentially a main character in the story, and existed before John’s story came to me. The desire to explore this incredible environment has been the true driving force behind STASIS.

In your personal Opinion: what is more important for the creative success of a game? Photo-realistic Graphics, a unique visual style, the sound or the story?

It certainly is a mixed bag, but I think that a game needs a perfect for it to succeed. As an artist, a unique visual style is very important to me… A certain something that makes the player excited to explore the world. I also think that the developer should push forward with the aspects that excites the player  – whether it’s graphics, technology or story. Although, technology should always serve the game design first.

Groomlake. Erst war das Schiff, dann kam die Story.

Are there Books, Music, Games or Literature that inspires you and had an effect on STASIS?

More than 20 years of sci-fi influences have contributed to STASIS. It certainly has more overt influences like the Alien universe, Event Horizon and Sunshine, but also includes the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Greg Bear and Isaac Asimov mixed in there. World building game titles, such as Halo or Mass Effect, have also had a large impact on my development planning of STASIS. Those universes artistically expand beyond the scope of what the player will do in the game – and THAT is inspiring. STASIS has 100 years of back story and history, from the formation of Cayne Corporation to the Eugenics Wars that lead to the construction of the Groomlake. While most of that back story won’t necessarily be told to the player, it all influences the world and the decisions made in building the world.

STASIS is a huge project for a small team like yours. What drives you to develop it and publish on your own?

A desire to tell the stories that we want to tell! Nic and I are fluid in our process of designing the game and the story. Being a small team has the advantage of being able to alter and change things on the fly. If an aspect isn’t working or an entire character needs to change, we can make the decisions that will best serve the game without hesitation. It’s a freedom and responsibility, to develop and publish like this, where we’re held accountable to the work and the story.

I really love your cinematic and highly professional prologue. Why didn´t you make a movie and decide to create a Game instead?

STASIS originally started as a cinematic piece, but I soon realized that this was story I wanted to tell in game form. I feel in this way, it will be more effective to have a player experience the story in a more visceral way. The game does include a fair share of cinematic sequences, so you’re getting the best of both worlds!