Amerzone: The Explorer's Legacy

Amerzone: Making-Of #02 – Enigmas at Play


Calling all Adventurers! In this second Making-Of, the team of Microids Studio Paris talks about the various enigmas and fascinating puzzles you can encounter in the remake of Benoît Sokal’s first game, Amerzone – The Explorer’s Legacy.

The importance of enigmas and puzzles

What’s important about the riddles and puzzles in the Amerzone is understanding their purpose and place in the game. This is a story-driven universe so every element, every enigma and puzzle must tell a part of that story. 

In the original game, each chapter has a strong identity: a lighthouse, an abandoned island, a village inside an old Conquistador fort, etc. These were elements we couldn’t change. And of course there were many puzzles in the original game too. We didn’t want to change them or replace them as they were memorable and told a story. It’s one of the strengths of Sokal’s universe.

The quality is only poor as it’s from the 90s but if you look beyond the jerky camera movement, and go closer to analyse the machine, you can see how it works. So this is the machine in the original game and here is how we have re-imagined it.

Modernisation and innovation

We said to ourselves, how can this puzzle, which you could spend two minutes on in the original game, how can we enhance it to make it a much more engaging experience for the player?

Initially, this involves our concept artist Amanda. Together, we will try and understand the purpose of the puzzle and what will be expected of the player, then will create a preliminary concept board. From there, she works to highlight the important elements of what will move, etc.

Then it will go to the level designers who will integrate it directly into the game and actually set up everything that we can see here. Visually the game leans into primitive art which resembles Mayan or Incan bas-relief type sculptures. Primitive or tribal styles I would say, at least as far as the atmosphere and the environments are concerned. 

However, we still have mechanisms, and in this respect, we’ve paid extra attention and care. They are still ingenious, but they’re not as delicate or ornate as those of Syberia’s Hans Voralberg and his automatons. Our machines and systems have been salvaged, using slightly rusted materials and then constructed from rudimentary bits and pieces. For example, this is a mechanical bed. Presenting ultimately quite a simple action to the player. We take it, pull it towards us to make it a bed.

But still, all of this needs to be explained and detailed. We thought really hard about integrating a maximum amount of interactions into a single object. To allow players to really master that object and the elements around it to almost feel like we’re directly manipulating our environment.

And on top of this, ask ourselves “What does the player learn as he manipulates them?”.

Immersion and accessibility

Our main objective is for the player to feel that even if they’re solving a riddle or a puzzle that they’re still within the story. 

We work a lot, for example, on offering two difficulty modes for the puzzles, depending on whether you want to be more focused on the story or if you really want to spend 3 hours opening that blasted box!

We know that this diversity exists within our audience. In adventure games, there are both sides!

Those who want to be challenged, and others who want to follow the story. And there will be lots of surprises too of course, but I won’t talk about that!

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


Team Microids