Amerzone: The Explorer's Legacy - Making-of #01 - Remaking a cult classic

Amerzone: Making-of #01 – Remaking a cult classic

watch the Making-of #01 - Remaking a cult classic

Hello Explorers, in this first Making-of, the team at Microids Studio Paris talks about the different decisions and challenges involved with remaking Benoît Sokal’s first game, Amerzone – The Explorer’s Legacy.

Memories of the '90s

What’s very important for a remake, is that we really feel the origins of it. That we don’t betray the original game but also remain aware of the habits and norms of a modern way of playing. Amerzone was Benoit Sokal’s first game and was released in 1999. It was a point&click, adventure-exploration game where you play as a journalist tasked with taking the eggs of the magical White Birds back to the Amerzone.

Amerzone was one of the flagship games of the 90s. So even if you didn’t have it, there was always a friend who had the game or at least the demo of the game! It was an old-school style point&click.

Artistic Vision versus Technical Constraints

It used what we called warped backgrounds to create a false 3D. It was actually isometric 2D that tried to make you believe that you were in a 3D decor. It was similar to the game Myst.

It was one of the first true games with a vision behind it. It was made by the illustrator and comic book author, Benoit Sokal, and was quite revolutionary in regard to many aspects. The quest you had to undertake was a dreamlike, contemplative journey, within the universe of Benoit.

We tried to ascertain the artistic intentions and those of the gameplay, and separate them from the technological and budgetary constraints of 20 years ago. That’s why we focused on really dissociating the elements that were deliberate at the time or that were, let’s say, endured! That’s why we wanted to expand a whole part of the story. The characters too…

And create environments that are much richer, much deeper, There are so many things to consider such as the controls. How do we rethink the controls of a game that was made in ’99  to adapt them to what we’re capable of doing today?

Clicking here, the player will move, with a very natural sensation and now I can explore what’s available around me. For navigation within the game itself, the choice of keeping restricted movement for example, it’s a very bold decision, so of course, it has to be enjoyable. You have to feel like you’re in the game and have the sensation of moving around, navigating.

Respecting the Original Work

So, how do we manage to make these things felt?  This is why we absolutely had to re-work the navigation system so that it feels dynamic and alive. And from there, it allows us to go further and storytell even more, but always in accordance with this vision of the author and the story that we are telling.

People tend to believe that if the original game exists, all you have to do is remake it! And in fact no, we start over. From scratch. It’s almost even more complicated sometimes because we spend our time weighing every decision to know if we change this or that… Are we betraying the work or, on the contrary, improving it? Can we even improve this work and if yes then how so? It’s a task to be approched with a lot of humility, nuance and precaution.

Stay tuned to the official Microids website for more content to come from behind the scenes of Amerzone: The Explorer’s Legacy, and don’t miss the launch by adding it to your wishlist on Steam, Epic Games Store and PlayStation Store!

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