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Interview with Eric Nguyen from Anuman Interactive

Interview with Eric Nguyen - Marketing Director For Anuman Interactive 

Return to Mysterious Island Return to Mysterious Island

1: Can you tell our readers more about Anuman and reasoning for taking over the Microids branding?

At the end of 2009, Anuman Interactive acquired the Microids brand and portfolio, which is known globally for its high quality video games. Thanks to games like Syberia, L'Amerzone, Still Life or Dracula, Anuman is now positioning on Adventure games and is willing to develop Microids' most famous games on mobile platforms. Around 20 titles have the potential and the awareness to be on iPhone and iPad.

2: After selling over 850,000 copies of Return to Mysterious Island on the PC and iTouch/iPhone, what enhancements have been made to this new iPad revision?

The Deluxe edition on iPad offers a new gameplay optimized for this device and more on-screen options than ever before to help the users to solve the challenging puzzles.

3: How close to the original Verne novel is the game, in terms of story?

Well. I will try to avoid any spoiler because the story of Return to Mysterious Island is full of surprises. It's very important that the players discover the story gradually and they will see that solving a puzzle is very rewarding and give access to different interesting mysterious places of the Island. To answer the question, the game has been freely adapted from the book "Mysterious Island" written by Jules Verne, "Return to Mysterious Island" is the sequel to the novel.

While participating in the famous solo round-the-world sailing expedition - the Jules Verne Trophy - the navigator, Mina, strands on an island without any way to contact the emergency services. Therefore the courageous young woman will only rely on her senses and her ability to recuperate, before trying to escape the island. However, a mysterious shadow hovers over this land, cut off from the world, which does not appear so uninhabited as it seemed at first sight...

In the role of Mina, you explore the mythical locations of the original work (Granite House, Volcano, Nautilus, etc.) and solve many puzzles hidden in the mysterious island.

For sure, it's a good way to discover the novel and to give players the desire to read or reread it.

Return to Mysterious Island Return to Mysterious Island Return to Mysterious Island

4: Did you experience any problems when moving from IOS coding for the iPhone/iTouch to the iPad?

The developers first started working on the Macintosh version to get more familiar with. Then they move it on to the iPad, which shares the same screen resolution as the Mac version. By then, the game is running smoothly on iOS, performances issues have been solved and it is fully multitouch capable. Finally, they scale it down some more to fit on the iPad display & aspect ratio. The only major issue they have with iPad development is related to the relatively to the low amount of onboard RAM in the current models. On the other hand, they have optimised the size of the game weighting 752Mo against 4Go on PC.

5: In terms of the iPad's horsepower, would it be viable to say that you could push the boundaries somewhat more in terms of graphics?

In our opinion, the iPad's main shortcoming is not general horsepower but rather its tight amount of RAM. To put this in perspective, the iPad displays more than 4 times the number of pixels of an iPhone 3GS and get the same amount of RAM. Keeping up with spectacular graphics quality effectively becomes a challenge because you have to make your textures 4 times more. That being said, we keep refining our production tools & technology, we are very proud of "Return to Mysterious Island" graphics but it is just the start.

6: Do you have plans to continue to develop for the iPad platform, if so could you possibly share with our readers what your next title will be?

Some titles are currently in development for the iPad. We plan to release several titles before the end of the year. They will be announced shortly and I can already confirm you that some successful adventure games from Microids portfolio will be available on the Appstore. We also have projects related with some famous comics' licences.

7: With the iPhone/iTouch and the iPad, developers have to overcome the initial hurdle of not having any physical controls for a player to utilise. How difficult was it bringing the game across from PC and its plethora of controller options to the somewhat limited offerings of touch screen?

While not insanely difficult, it required a lot of efforts and investment in R&D. We had to build several prototypes to actually figure out how to play these games properly on multitouch screens. Some ideas proved to be clever, while others resulted in bitter failures. One of the design goals we set right away was to keep the same game design, because we wanted to stay faithful to the original authors' vision. However, most computer games are designed around a mouse which can target individual pixels on the screen with instant visual feedback, which is certainly something your finger cannot do. For example, an adventure game could take advantage of this by having multiple small objects laid down nearby each other and requiring precise input in order to solve a puzzle. That's when things get challenging. Also, the iPad, and even more so the iPhone, are mobile devices at their core. Developers really need to understand this premise because users are expecting their software to behave accordingly. They are probably not going to play a game for 3 hours straight and may interrupt their session at any time to do other things. In this context, auto-saving & resuming the game become key, which again may not be easy if the original game was not developed with this feature in mind. Eventually though, we came up with solutions around all those problems that we feel are both technically satisfying and fun to play! I'd even dare to say that some kind of games such as point and click adventure games are better played on a touch screens. There is something inherently cognitive about directly touching an object in the game world with your finger that just cannot feel as immersive and satisfactory with a mouse.

8: Do you have any plans on bringing the first two of the classic series, Syberia to the iPad?

We all know that Syberia (1 & 2) has a special place in the heart of our fan base. So you could imagine that we will bring them Syberia 1 & 2 on the iPad sooner or later...likely 2011.

Eric Nguyen

History of Eric Nguyen

Passionate of cinema, music and video games, Eric Nguyen always knew that his career would turn to the entertainment industry.
For 7 years, he occupies the functions of Product manager and PR Manger at the video games publisher Acclaim Entertainment. This experience brings him a perfect control of the operational marketing for the launches of products which he has in charge and knowledge of the market of the video game. To his credit, we can underline the successes of video games such as Turok, Dead or Alive but also Burnout and Burnout 2. 

In 2004, Eric chooses to acquire more commercial skills by joining the advertising agencies of Mediaobs (of the group Le Nouvel Observateur) and later then of NRJ. Capable of selling of the advertising space on the main supports of communication: TV, Radio, Web, Print and other media, he acquires a real expertise on the world of the media. His customers' portfolio consists of all the actors of the cinematographic, the video and the video game industries. Whether it is with publishers such as Warner, Disney, Sony PlayStation or Electronic Arts, Eric maintains relations privileged with all the actors of the entertainment.

In 2007, he joins the video games publisher Midway as Marketing director and is responsible for all the releases of games of this publisher in France of which in particular the famous franchising Mortal Kombat.

Today, Eric supervises the Marketing Team of Anuman Interactive.


Rasher | 1st November, 2010

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