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Interview with Dave Gilbert on Wadjet Eye Games
Developer:Wadjet Eye Games
Article Posted:Jume 2015

With the recent release of Technobabylon, the Wadget Eye Games library continues to grow. As he continues to work on his next release Shardlight, the company's CCO Dave Gilbert kindly agreed to answer our questions about Wadget Eye's past present and future.

[Adventure Lantern]: Due to your growing and faithful fan base, have you ever considered starting a Kickstarter campaign for a game?

[Dave Gilbert]: I'm not sure how a Kickstarter would benefit me, in all honesty. I think Kickstarter is great for funding one specific game, but not very effective as a long-term business strategy. I'm in this for the long haul, so I'm more interested in being a stable business. I know how much my games cost, I know how much they usually sell, and I can continue to support my family and make more games. Why mess with something that works?

[AL]: With Gemini Rue, Primordia, and now Technobabylon, there is an obvious love for the sci-fi genre in your games. Could this love be traced back to earlier tiles such as Beneath a Steel Sky?

[DG]:Weirdly enough, it can be traced back to our use of pixel art! It's kind of become our "thing", and as we've done more and more pixel art games we've realized what works well and what doesn't. Pixel art adds a gritty texture to everything, and that works well with some art styles than others. Things like post apocalyptic landscapes, urban noir, and dystopian futures work really well with pixel art. So that's what we tend to do now.

[AL]: A Golden Wake is a bold departure from the other games in your catalog. What was it about the game that excited you to publish it?

[DG]:The thing I loved about Golden Wake is that it's so rooted in a specific time and place. All the puzzles, characters, and situations Alfie finds himself in were created with that in mind. A lot of work went into bringing the era of 1920s Miami to life, and it all shines through.

[AL]: Your games may look like the classic point and click titles of the 90's but they are so much smoother and don't contain some of the illogical puzzle elements. Are there some classic adventure games that you still enjoy today?

[DG]:Aside from the pixel art, which is used mostly for budget and time concerns, I consider all our games to be quite modern. Like many modern developers, I try to push immersion, interactivity and fun over puzzles. Getting stuck in a puzzle for days or weeks is rarely fun (and a moot point now that Google exists), so I don't worry about that so much.

As for classic adventures... I can play Loom over and over and never get sick of it.

[AL]: I feel that your games strive to propose ideas or teach as well as entertain. Is that deliberate?

[DG]:Very much so. I have the belief that you are driven to create for a reason. You have a message to get out, or you have a point to make. If you lose sight of that, then your creation becomes very superficial and hollow.

[AL]: Can you give us any hint of how production for Shardlight is coming along? It is exciting to see screen shots.

[DG]:Thanks! It's coming along. :) As always I hesitate to give a release date until we are 100% sure, but we are aiming for late Fall 2015.

[AL]: In games like Gemini Rue and Primordia there is obviously a lot of backstory and room to create lore. If you could go back and flesh out more background history would you and which game would get the treatment?

[DG]:Well, it wouldn't be up to me. For the games we publish (as opposed to the games we do in-house) we leave the IP rights to the developers. So we couldn't return to the worlds of Gemini Rue or Primordia without the Josh Neurnberger or Wormwood's involvement. So far, neither of them have interest in doing a sequel. Should that change and they want to work with us again, we'd be all for it.

[AL]: Each game you develop or produce seems to take a step forward, whether in how the game looks or the interactions between characters. Does each new release become the favorite, or do you still see them all equally?

[DG]:It's an artist cliche that you cringe at your earlier work, and I am no exception. With each game I do, I get better. I make mistakes, I learn from them, and apply those lessons to the next game. It's very hard to look at, say, The Blackwell Legacy now. All I can see are the flaws and all the things I would now do differently. That said, it was the best game I could have made with the resources and experience I had at the time. So I still stand by it.

[AL]: Lastly, which game would you like to point to as Wadjet Eye's mascot game?

[DG]: Blackwell would be our mascot series for sure. The games are how we got our start, they provide the bulk of our income, and form the foundation of Wadjet Eye. They also garner the highest amount of enthusiasm from fans (there's a LOT of Blackwell fanart out there). We wouldn't be where we are without it.

[AL]: Thank you very much for your time.

[DG]:No problem

Adventure Lantern thanks Mr. Gilbert for answering all of our questions. Over the years we have enjoyed watching Wadget Eye's library grow. We are looking forward to trying Shardlight when it becomes available. To find out more about Wadget Eye projects, please visit their site.