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Interview with Christopher Bischoff on STASIS
Developer:The Brotherhood Games
Release Date:December 2014
Article Posted:December 2013

John Maracheck boarded the spaceship Groomlake with the promise of a better life for his wife and daughter. He was supposed to travel in stasis. He was supposed to open his eyes to a new life. This was a journey to lead him and his family to happiness. Unfortunately for John, Cayne Corporation had other plans.

Groomlake was no ordinary spacecraft. Owned by Cayne Corporation, the ship was home to illegal research. Experiments that involved human subjects... Experiments that separated John from his family...

Awakening from stasis, John opened his eyes to pain and misery. His wife and daughter were nowhere to be found. Groomlake appeared to be abandoned, in a decaying orbit above Neptune. What happened to the ship while he was in stasis? Where were John's wife and daughter? Could they still be somewhere inside the massive spacecraft? John would have to search the ship for clues. He had no time to lose. He had to unlock the ship's mysteries before the spacecraft disappeared among Neptune's gas clouds. Groomlake and its horrors beckoned.

STASIS is a highly promising science-fiction horror adventure game from The Brotherhood Games. Christopher Bischoff's brainchild, STASIS puts players in the role of John Maracheck as he searches the spaceship Groomlake for his wife and daughter. With its classic 2D isometric graphics, gripping atmosphere, and intriguing story STASIS promises to be a very compelling adventure offering.

Mr. Bischoff has already spent a substantial amount of time working on the project. In order to continue the development efforts on a full-time basis, he launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the game in November 2013. The fundraiser was a tremendous success, with the project reaching its initial target three days before the end of the campaign. At the time this article was originally published, there were only 34 hours left on the Kickstarter campaign, with the project about to reach its second stretch goal.

As the campaign draws to a close and development on STASIS is about to begin in earnest, Mr. Bischoff kindly agreed to answer our questions about the project.

[Adventure Lantern]: Congratulations on successfully completing your Kickstarter project and getting STASIS funded. How does it feel to get the financial support you needed for the project?

[Christopher Bischoff]: It's overwhelming to be honest! I always knew that STASIS was a special project, but I wasn't certain how other people would react when experiencing the game.

When the first reactions started to come through, it was a massive weight off my shoulders - seeing other people play the game and enjoy the experience.

The world of STASIS was so personal to me for such a long time, that I felt protective over it. Seeing the game out in the world was unsettling but ultimately very rewarding.

[AL]: Can you tell us a little about your experiences with STASIS prior to the Kickstarter campaign?

[Christopher]: It has been a three year long journey to get to this point. Afternoons, weekends, and holidays. Every movie I watched, TV series, book, comic... all them have had an influence on the game is some form.

STASIS has been as much a part of my life as my professional career, if not even more so. It has been a refuge when the stresses of life take over and served as a reminder of my love of art.

[AL]: What was the inspiration behind STASIS?

[Christopher]: A melting pot of more than two decade's worth of sci-fi. The sense of exploration that you had during that first act of Alien...the emotions felt when the Event Horizon bursts through the clouds... that is what I'm really trying to evoke in STASIS.

[AL]: What can you tell us about the game’s story?

[Christopher]: The story follows a man's journey into the depths of human depravity, as he tries to find his wife and daughter. Traversing through an abandoned medical research facility called the Groomlake, John will uncover the mystery of what happened to the crew, and more importantly, what happened to his family.

STASIS is also about telling a story of an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation. It's about building a believable world and exploring the actions of people in that world.

[AL]: What about the protagonist John Maracheck? What can you tell us about his personality?

[Christopher]: John is a normal man. He can't rewire a bomb or hack into a computer system. His resulting actions are from desperation - a desperation born out of the need to find his family and protect them at all costs.

The three members of the Maracheck family share a special bond with each other - a backstory that will be told as the game progresses. They are reliant on each other and always have been, in more ways than one.

John is you and me. He is your father or your brother.

[AL]: What kinds of environments can players expect to explore?

[Christopher]:I've been very careful about what people have seen of the game, because I want to keep exploration of the ship new and exciting. As you move through the areas you'll see variations and several new directions of familiar tropes. I don't want to give away too much... half the fun in an adventure game is in the discovery.

[AL]: How would you describe the game’s atmosphere?

[Christopher]: Thick and dense. The game is heavily inspired by Alien, with the idea being to bring across that tense feeling of danger throughout the experience. The current sound design is inspired by older sci-fi films, making the game feel almost 'retro-futuristic'. All of the technology is an off-shoot of something being developed in our current world, giving the game a feeling of being grounded in reality.

[AL]: What kind of puzzles can we expect to encounter?

[Christopher]:I've tried to keep the puzzles as logical as possible, ensuring that they make sense in the world. As John is a normal man, his approaches to getting through situations may be a little 'heavy handed'. He is a 'hit the lock with a wrench' kind of guy.

The puzzles in the world reflect that, with the world design being grounded in the real world. Doors are open from keypads and sliding puzzles. In other words, the obstacles I've placed aren't in there for the sake of putting in a puzzle.

[AL]: How did players respond to the alpha demo for the game?

[Christopher]:Very well! The Alpha got universal praise for the atmosphere and the way the story was presented to the player.

[AL]: Now that the Kickstarter is wrapping up, what is your next step on the project?

[Christopher]: Scheduling for the next few months is important, to ensure that certain milestones are hit. I will be spending time planning how to move forward. From there, I'll be working on STASIS in a more condensed and focused manner. I really can't wait!

[AL]: How are you planning to use the Kickstarter funding?

[Christopher]: The funding will be used for physical rewards, as well as for external contractors, animation or sound libraries and most importantly, will allow me to move into production of STASIS full time.

[AL]: Are you going to accept contributions from other sources such as Paypal now that the initial campaign is over?

[Christopher]: The Paypal donation system is already live and we plan to run it throughout the duration of the game's production.

[AL]: Are the incentives offered through the campaign going to be available for PayPal contributions?

[Christopher]: The incentives are currently available through the Paypal contributions. The Paypal pledge page will be updated with any changes.

[AL]: When can we expect to play STASIS?

[Christopher]: If all things go according to plan, we're hoping for this time next year.

Adventure Lantern thanks Mr. Bischoff for taking the time to answer our questions. Based on the information Mr. Bischoff provided along with the materials available through the STASIS Kickstarter page and the game's Web site, STASIS is shaping up to be an extremely promising adventure game. From the dark and foreboding science fiction setting to the compelling protagonist out to save his family, STASIS has the makings of an exciting horror adventure. With three years of work already put into the project, it is clear that STASIS is also a labor of love.

Thanks to the successful Kickstarter campaign, players will hopefully have a chance to play the game in one year. Here's hoping the remaining development effort goes smoothly, If STASIS can deliver on its premise, adventurers may be in for a truly rare treat.

Disclaimer: While I personally donated to the project, Adventure Lantern has no financial interest in STASIS or Mr. Bischoff's company The Brotherhood Games. This interview was solely posted to increase awareness about the game and the fundraising effort.