Behind the Scenes: Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure
Rewind a year and half ago. A Kickstarter revolution was taking place. For us PC gamers, some of most beloved games, designers and projects were coming to life via the incredibly effective crowd sourcing campaigns. Tim Schafer and Co, Jane Jensen, the folks between Titan Quest and many more had held incredibly successful runs and our dreams were coming true. After many long years, the team behind Mean Streets, Martian Memorandum, Under and a Killing Moon and more, decide it was their turn to see if a Tex Ressurection was in order. Under the moniker of Project Fedora, the campain was launched. I remember interviewing Chris Jones aka Tex Murphy, the head of Big Finish Games at the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign. Chris was driven but seemingly, a little anxious to see how it would all work out. Still there was an extremely happy ending with Fedora not only being funded but exceeding the goal by over $100,000. That seems so long ago..
Me on Christmas 1990. Bart Simpson? Check. BB Gun? Check. Access Games? Double Check!
Fast forward to November 2013 to where I had the amazing opportunity to visit the peeps at BFG and see how our Tex adventure is shaping up. To sum it up, I was excited before, now, I am extremely stoked. Not only are the environments, atmosphere, sound and video production of the game all coming together, I was proud to hear Chris Jones confirm that the scope of Tesla is bigger and better than they'd ever imagined at the beginning of the Kickstarter campaign! Another refreshing item was Chris admitting that they are not the biggest game studio, with the biggest budgets, with the latest First Person Shooter but that they didn't need to be. They know their audience, they know their fans and boy does it show. The game while not finished, is looking extremely promising so without further delay, let's dive in. A reminder that the screenshots and video is PRE-ALPHA and is material that was kindly approved by the BFG team for this article. Please understand that this is rough footage and will most likely change before release.
"We aren't Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed
but we don't need to be!" - Chris Jones
Tex playing Tex. Mind = blown.
The Graphics and Sound
When you think Kickstarted games, you most likely aren't thinking mind blowing, polygon pushing blockbusters but guess what, that is not what we are expecting either. What IS amazing though is that the game and its environments are shaping up to be moody, gorgeously lit and highly detailed locations that are going to be stunning in their own right. The art and technical balance I have seen from Doug Vandegrift aka Rook and team is absolutely stellar, especially on the limited budget at hand. From dark, dank basements to soft, drifiting snowflakes falling around a streetlight, what I saw was beautiful. Most gameplay and environments are being built in the Unity engine and what this small team has pulled off is nothing short of astounding.
Don't let him fool you. Rook and his team of crackpot artists are some of the coolest, most friendly peeps I have met.
Another crucial piece of the Tex Murphy legacy is the advent of Full Motion Video and all that it brought to the table in video games in the 90s. I am sure we all have some amazing (and wincing) memories from The 7th Guest, Sewer Shark, Under a Killing Moon and more but the talent at BFG and Adrian Carr have always been amazing and groundbreaking at what they do. I am glad to say that the video footage I saw is some of the best I have seen to date. Honestly, I had high expectations but what BFG, Mr. Carr and newcomer but longtime fan, Mat Van Rhoon have accomplished so far is nothing short of incredible. I got to see all the layers, paths, blood, geek sweat and tears nets you and in this case, you should be excited..
Well, as you can tell, I have recently gone from anticipation to full out geek chills on getting my hands on the final version of Tex's latest adventure. Apart from being long overdue, it's been excited to see how FMV games are evolving and see what potential they hold for not only series veterans but newcomers to the genre as well. According to BFG, the game is still on track for the first half of 2014 but no firm release date has been set. Now, for what you've all been waiting for, I've compiled some new content in the raw, uninterrupted footage below.The Big Finish Team was extremely patient and kind to let us post these clips. Please excuse the rough cuts but I wanted everyone to see and hear what goes on at Big Finish in a simple, organic way without bombastic music and me annoyingly narrating the footage, so, you can appreciate this amazing title a little better and the team behind it. 2014 can not come soon enough!
Another reminder, this is PRE-ALPHA footage that does not represent the final product. Either way, Enjoy:
In case you missed it, this is the official Salt Lake Comic Con Trailer:
As the first Kickstarter that I ever followed, took place in and hit Refresh until my fingers bled, Tex holds a special place in my geeky heart. Not only that, I played all the Tex and Access Software games growing up. I was stoked to play this game before but now that excitement has grown into a fever. The folks at Big Finish has more heart, soul and dedication than any other team I've ever seen and it shows in the characters, design and game as a whole. We'll be anxiously awaiting 2014!
Hype Meter: 5/5