iTête à iTête – A mini interview with Mark Darin from Telltale Games

Adventure games are my passion, as many of you may have guessed a long time ago. And when I heard that Telltale Games, the company responsible for such great iPad titles as Sam & Max Episode 1: The Penal Zone for iPad and Wallace & Gromit The Last Resort for iPad, are developing a completely original series in Puzzle Agent, I was thrilled. Thankfully, after a bit of back-and-forth with the developers, I was able to secure a mini interview with Mark Darin – the mastermind behind the new project.

I’m in bold as always.

1. Mark, thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and Telltale Games?

My name is Mark Darin. I have been a designer here at Telltale Games for about 4 years and have worked on CSI Hard Evidence, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People, Tales of Monkey Island and most recently Puzzle Agent.

2. At the moment Telltale has only released it’s titles for the iPad. Despite the fact that over 3 million units have been sold, it’s nothing compared to the almost 100 million of iPhones and iPod Touches out there. Are you going to bring out titles for them as well?

Puzzle Agent was designed to be to be an iPhone game as well as a game to be enjoyed on other platforms. You will be seeing it very shortly on the iPhone!

3. Puzzle Agent is the first franchise originally designed by Telltale. What can you say about it?

Puzzle Agent has been a fantastic collaboration with indie comic artist and former Art Director of Telltale Games Graham Annable. We were interested in starting a “Pilot” which would allow us to stretch our creative wings and try some more experimental projects within the studio. At about the same time, Graham was pitching the idea of creating a brainteaser puzzle type of game set in the “Grickle” universe of his comics and popular YouTube videos. It was a perfect match! Graham gave us a lot of freedom to develop the story and characters while he focused on character animation and overseeing the general art direction.

4. Could you elaborate a bit on the story and the features?

Nelson Tethers is the sole agent with the FBI’s Department of Puzzle Research. He gets an assignment to investigate the small town of Scoggins, Minnesota to unravel a mystery that occurred at the town’s eraser factory. The story is loaded with dark humor, inspired by the likes of David Lynch, the Coen Brothers and X-Files. The townspeople of Scoggins all seem friendly, but you always get the sense that there’s a dark secret they aren’t letting you in on.

The gameplay is inspired by the Professor Layton and Dr. Brain games. Instead of traditional point & click adventuring, the player will be solving a series of self contained brainteasers to progress through the story.

5. You have just announced that you’re working on two new series, namely, Jurassic Park and Back to the Future (which, incidentally, is my favourite movie trilogy of all time). Are these also going to be adventure games? Are you planning to roll them out on the iOS devices as well?

I am currently working on Jurassic Park, so I can speak a bit to the nature of the game design on that title. We are focusing on the best way to present the cinematic thrill ride that is Jurassic Park.

More interviews with various developers right here at TMA:

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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