A survival adventure called Kona is unusual survival game.It is a horror deffinitely.But it has its own features.
Alexandre Fiset, CEO and co-founder of Parabole Studio,recalls how the idea about making this game started.
Compared to Beenox, Alexandre finds that running his own company is refreshing in many ways. “Here, it’s mostly like ‘Hey, it would be great to have this, so let’s buy it,’” he explains, “We’re not rich, but there are things that are cheap that really increase the quality of the game, and we can just buy it and not care about it.
“This is one of the things that struck me the most when we started,” he continues, “That we have this flexibility, we are agile. A lot of companies always say ‘We work with agile methodology, we are strong,’ and they say those buzz words, but they don’t mean it because they don’t do it. They are not agile, meaning that if your company is going to fail, you can just turn around and do something else really quickly with the market, adapt to your clients, adapt to external situations. These are the kind of things we can do as a small team that the big ones cannot do.”
“I think right now I would not be happy to be a manager of a big firm,” he says, “Because you can see those small companies popping up everywhere, and they do crazy things with less.”
Parabole didn’t jump directly into the production of Kôna. First, they had to establish stability as a company. “We started with this vague idea of doing that crazy dream,” he recalls, “And then we started facing challenges like money. So we started doing contract work for other companies and building up our reputation, starting to accumulate money on the side to create our own project. And then came like two projects that we trashed, until we got Kôna, which is now on its way to being our first shipped game on the market.”
Alexandre describes how he went about assembling the team of Parabole, and what he expects from his team. “We look mostly for attitude. What matters is that the people we hire, our associates, those people must be able to do work on their own. At Beenox we were a team of eighty on a game, but here we’ve been like three for a year, and even now with six it’s still a pretty small team, so we have to be careful. If we hire, we need those people to work and not take our time. We need people who can do things and think for themselves.”
AN INTERACTIVE TALE
The premise of Kôna came together bit by bit. It began with a simple and oddly specific simulation that would end up defining the setting before anyone had realized its potential.
“We started with a snowmobile just for fun,” Alexandre told us, “We built this vintage snowmobile because it looked badass and we liked to just jump with it… It was not supposed to be something really big, it was for fun.”
“After a while, we decided maybe we could do something more with it,” he continues, “So we added a context and started thinking of what universe we wanted to be. We already had the vintage snowmobile, and it was a 1969 model, so it made sense to look around these dates — like maybe it could have been in 1980. But then in 1970 there were a lot of things going on in Canada with the Native American community, and also with Quebec, so there is a lot of lore not really linked to the story but for ambiance — like TV and radio, all these references, there are a lot of things we can work with to make sure the universe is credible. Even if it’s a surreal thing, we want the player to feel that it’s real. So we have a lot of references we can use, because 1970 was a big year in Quebec.”
“It’s mostly a decision of making sure we have creative freedom, and a lot of things we can take influence from. It also looks beautiful — like the film industry in those years, it has that vintage look and feel. All those kind of things really inspired us. 1970 Quebec was really a no-brainer at this point.
The player’s role in Day One is that of Carl Faubert, a private detective hired to expose a case of theft and vandalism on behalf of a wealthy industrialist. This simple case turns into a bleak mystery when he arrives and finds that his client and everyone in the local town are missing.
Carl has a basic detective’s kit that the player will use to piece together this mystery, but he will have to find other tools along the way. “He has a journal, in which he writes about what he sees. He also takes pictures and sticks them in his journal with some information, so he obviously has a camera. You can take pictures of evidence, and then that will add details to the story. He has cigarettes, because he’s a smoker… He has a flare gun in his pickup truck… He does not have a gun, like, out of the box, I mean he’s not American [laughs]. He does not have a gun on him at the beginning of the game, so he has to find those things.”
- 2.5 GHz intel i5 and up
- Dedicated graphic card with 1024 mb of VRAM
- At least 2 GB of hard drive space
October, 1970. Another long and cold winter is beginning in Northern Quebec. The local Cree community clash with rich industrialist W. Hamilton, copper mine magnate in the region. The Crees accuse the latter of destroying sacred lands for the sole purpose of increased profits. Suspiciously, Hamilton’s summer residence and hunting manor is subject of vandalism and thefts. Convinced that the Cree are responsible, Hamilton calls Carl Faubert, a war veteran turned private detective, to handle the affair.
Carl never refuses an easy case, especially when the client has such deep pockets. He jumps in his faithful pick-up truck and heads up north to meet with Hamilton. Unable to find his client at the meeting point, Carl starts to search for him. After knocking on some doors, the detective finds not only the rich man is missing… but the whole area is deserted.
Where is the local population? What happened to Hamilton? Are the Cree involved?
Welcome to Kôna, an episodic game about investigation, exploration, survival and the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of W. Hamilton and the neighboring inhabitants.
Kôna combines the atmosphere and immersion of a modern survival title with the deep storytelling and puzzle-solving aspects of a traditional adventure game.
The main objective of the game is to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearances. You can expect to do the following:
- Explore vast, open environments
- Solve various puzzles
- Try to locate people who could help solve the mystery
- Search for clues (artifacts, notes) related to the investigation
- Take pictures of evidences
In Kôna, you actually get to drive Carl’s Pickup Truck and, later on, a snowmobile. Unlike similar games in the genre, you have full control of the vehicles. You are not simply driving them in scripted car chases.
While we put emphasis on the exploration and investigation elements of the game, it doesn’t mean that the world of Kôna is a friendly and harm-free one. You have to worry about your survival in those hostile northern lands. You might have to use a weapon against unexpected threats. You could also get trapped in a bitter blizzard. If you are losing blood or freezing outside, your time is limited. You must heal your wounds or find warmth before it’s too late.
While we can’t say why it exists(to avoid spoilers), a Wendigo roams in the game. We have to make it clear though that this awesome half-beast is not there to cause useless jump scares (Kôna IS NOT a Slender-Like).
Here are some non-story-related details concerning the Wendigo:
- The Wendigo has a heart made of ice. Any heat source will keep it away or destroy it.
- The creature influences the weather. It creates strong blizzard and harsh weather conditions hundreds of meters around it. So the closer you get, the more intense the weather will be.
- The Wendigo area of effect also makes animals more “agressive”.
Similar to games like Dear Esther and Stanley Parable, a narrator constantly adds depth to the game. The pieces of story that are revealed to you vary dynamically according to your in-game whereabouts and actions. Imagine playing the main character of a captivating campfire tale. That’s what this game is all about.
The game will be voiced in both French and English.
Canadian studio obviously started something good.Lets play it when the game arrives.