Limbus

Note: This is Day 5 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown, and wraps up our coverage on the game and its creator for the time being. Big thanks for reading, and let us know what you thought in the comments section!

The Whispered World is finally out today in most of Europe. North American fans will have to wait a little longer still, as Viva Media pushes the game out the door next Monday. We hope this week’s coverage of the game has been informative and that you will all be able to enjoy the game to its fullest when you finally get your hands on it today, on Monday, or later down the road.

As we wrap up with our coverage on the game here at The Slowdown for the time being, I thought it would be pertinent to leave you all with a thought for tomorrow. Below, a piece of concept art for Marco Hüllen’s next personal hobby adventure project, Limbus:

In the promotional image above, the snake-wrapped figure on the right instantaneously recalls the influence of variations of the Hellenistic monumental sculpture, “Laocoön and His Sons.” While Marco confirmed this, he remains tight-lipped on its role and symbolism in the game’s context.

“Limbus,” then, refers to boundaries, borders and edges – all present in the image above, whether in the steepness of the cliff, the bridge, or the sea below. Additionally, since the third statue lies wounded in the back of the foreground, and each these characters are clearly in various types of torment, this all points our attention towards the Roman Catholic concept of the Limbo, which also ties in with the Roman-style architecture of the image.

Above, a series of character sketches from the game (including Aurora and Nicodemus, two of the three lead characters, and Nox). A translation of Hüllen’s official storyline for the game is as follows:

Limbus is set in a fictional future in which the world has been in chaos for many years, as people have suddenly begun to remember their past lives. As people are no longer afraid of death, they go about living their lives light-heartedly. Crimes are abound, wars raging and nothing can prevent the madness of mankind.

But then the Triplets are born. They alone can not remember their past lives, and their task will be to end the madness of the world.

The player assumes the role of the triplets Aurora, Nicodemus and Orlando, who must return to the villa of their childhood, to uncover the mystery of their lives and the entire mankind. The three are pursued by a secret sect, who eventually will have something to do with their secret.

During the story the three will have to visit crazy places like the city of the children and the city of the elderly, and meet many crazy characters, like the child Linus, who has opened a museum of his past lives, as well as creatures such as Nox, who lives in their villa.

In our interview, as inspiration for this forthcoming project, Hüllen cites Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie and the music of Yann Tiersen. At the moment,while the author admits to currently working on a demo, he is not yet very far in development, and as such not actively looking for publishers yet.

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The Whispered World Demo Impressions

Note: This is Day 4 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

It has been a while, has it not?

Not only is this game a long six years in the coming, but we have also not been treated to a high-resolution, 100% hand-drawn point and click adventure game in aeons, as even The Biller’s painterly A Vampyre Story and Pendulo Studios’ latest stylised offerings have resorted to 3-D in justified attempts at providing relief to the heavily budgetary nature of animation. And who could, in their right mind, blame them for doing so?

But still – one hundred percent. In light of the above games, that striking statistic alone makes Marco Hüllen’s The Whispered World stand out from the pack – and boy, does it ever: There is a breathtaking array of various character animations – actions, emotions, expressions and movements – that quite possibly has not been seen before, at the very least not since the heyday of the genre in the latter part of the 1990’s.

Perhaps the closest touchpoint in terms of the game’s graphical look and feel, then, is not to be found in the gaming medium at all, but among lead artist Hüllen’s primary influences: Japanese anime and classic children’s animations, like Spirited Away and The Last Unicorn (a cut-scene example on the left)?

As things stand, every forthcoming review of the game will surely be gushing all over the graphics in the manner above. Therefore, we should probably move away from discussing the Captain Obvious -grade graphical prowess of the game and instead touch upon other aspects of the demo, the aspects that may potentially set the game apart from its counterparts.

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Interview with The Whispered World Designer Marco Hüllen

Note: This is Day 3 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Maro Hüllen, with Pet

In today’s interview, we talk to the original designer and primary illustrator of The Whispered World, Marco Hüllen (on the right), in the hopes of shedding more light on the curiouser details of the development process of the game – especially, on details that are still left uncertain for non-German audiences.

After all, German fans of the adventure game have had the privilege of reading Marco’s posts on various adventure gaming forums – as well as having already played the game. For those of us not yet in the know, the interview below should hopefully reveal some further facets of the make-up of the wildly imaginative ride that is the six-year development process of the game.

Finally, please do remember to take a look at our introductory post to The Whispered World – the article, written in conjunction with this interview, details the game’s history from inception to conception, between the years 2004 and 2010, and should by all means get you better prepared for the game’s release on the 23rd.

A special thank you goes to the very genial mister Hüllen, who braved our questions despite a minor language barrier. Therefore, the interview has been translated, from German into English, by Martyn Zachary and Richard Scary for The Slowdown. The original answers, in the German language, will also be published on the website later.

The Slowdown: After having worked so long on a project that began way back in the first half of the 00’s as an university project, are you feeling any fatigue now that the game is finally coming out?

Marco Hüllen: A little, but the joys do outweigh the fatigue. When I first started work on the game, I never expected it to become such a marathon for me. Much has been enjoyable, and a lot was equally frustrating. In the end it all came together nevertheless, and with that in mind it has all been worthwhile.

How long have you been working on the game, exactly?

Oh, it has already been quite a few years: I started work in the year 2004, with The Whispered World as the topic of my diploma thesis. When I completed my degree in late 2005, I made the decision to develop the game further at Bad Brain Entertainment, for whom I had done graphics on some other titles during my studies.

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The Secret History of the Whispered World

Note: This is Day 2 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles. –Charlie Chaplin

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. Other times, a video is worth these thousand words; once in a while, though, there comes a time when neither pictures, videos nor a thousand words can accurately portray a story.

One such story, in more than one way, is that of The Whispered World, an apocalyptic fantasy point and click adventure from Germany; apart from boasting an imaginative, existentialist storyline, it also comes with an origin story that is one of the wildest development rides for a video game in recent memory. (more…)

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The Whispered World Week

Note: This is Day 1 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Cover Art

This week, after a brief stretch of inactivity, The Slowdown prepares to turn its knobs to full blast with five days solely dedicated to the German-made, apocalyptic fantasy point and click adventure, The Whispered World!

I consider this week, from the 19th to the 23rd, just as much a return to my gaming roots – the adventure game genre – as it is a gesture towards the game’s only true leading man, lead artist and designer Marco Hüllen, who has in my mind received far too little attention in the English-language press for his imperative contributions to the game’s development. His omission from the game’s marketing discourse, in a way, is an example of the disconnection in-between different subsections of gamers as demarcated by language.

Therefore, the week starts with full force tomorrow, Tuesday the 20th, with a detailed timeline of the astonishing six-year development history of the game, detailing many of the turning points and pivotal moments of a process that in many ways culminated back in the August of 2009. For comparative purposes, the article also contains rare screenshots from the original demo version way back from 2005!

Sadwick and Spot

On Wednesday, we will be posting a translation of our one-on-one interview with the game’s lead artist and original designer, Marco Hüllen. Among the topics discussed were the scholastic origins of the game, Hüllen’s past and present influences, the role that the infamous Bad Brain Entertainment played in the game’s development, and the formative origins of the protagonist, Sadwick the clown. Finally, we’ll at once discover the true nature of Sadwick’s sidekick, Spot!

For Thursday, I have prepared a thickly descriptive interpretationa review, if you will – of the very generously paced demo of The Whispered World that is currently available for download from Deep Silver.

And to seal the deal, Friday the 23rd (the game’s EU release date) comes with a tiny surprise!

Note: This post will be updated with links to the respective articles to reflect the state of the upcoming coverage, so stay tuned for more! I hope you will all enjoy these articles as much as I have enjoyed working with Mr. Hüllen for the past few weeks!

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