Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to a special edition of The IndieGarden.
Today I have been given the opportunity to have a chat with Ferzan K. Aygen, the owner of Vivec Entertainment and driving force behind the horror-survival game, Shadow of a Soul: Chapter I which is currently in development. I had a chat with him about the game itself, horror in general and also find out how he went from the owner of a web hosting company to creating video games.
Hello Ferzan, firstly thank you very much for joining us in The IndieGarden here at Slimgamer – I’m personally very excited to get some more information about your upcoming title – Shadow of a Soul: Chapter One.
Thank you. It’s my pleasure.
I’d like to start with learning a little bit about yourself and also Vivec Entertainment if I may, I understand that you’re an Istanbul based company but I’d like to know how you got started in creating video games.
I don’t know why exactly but I’ve always wanted to work for myself. I was 23 years old when I founded my first company. It was called NetHostOne and was a web hosting company. I learned php, mysql and linux, which took me a year, before opening the company. However, due to my lack of experience with the marketing side of things, I failed pretty badly – didn’t earn any money at all. I learned that the easier it is to setup your business the harder it is to compete. Setting up a web hosting company was easy in those days, it’s even easier now. So that makes it much, much harder to compete.
I majored in Radio, Television and Cinema Studies, which was kind of valuable in that I had a ton of time to learn other stuff. That’s when I came across 3d animation programs, and I really liked Maya. So I started to learn 3d animation. A couple of years of self learning and an International Marketing Masters degree from Sweden later, I founded another company to sell my services. It was called Infinitum. After about a year of doing that, I decided it was much harder to work with people than to do 3d animation. So I turned Infinitum into Vivec Entertainment and started developing Shadow of a Soul: Chapter I.
How did the idea of Shadow of a Soul come about?
It was not a deliberate decision to make a survival horror game. I knew that any kind of project usually takes much longer than you anticipate. So I basically asked myself: Which projects can I finish in two years, and which of those do I want to work on the most? That only left Shadow of a Soul from a rather long list of games I wanted to make.
On the other hand, I believe that I can do something different from what’s already out there with regard to survival horror games, plus it’s always fun to scare people.
I’ll be honest with you Ferzan, I’m a bit of a horror video game fan, there is nothing I like more than a chilling horror game – I personally think that horror games thrive best the less you explain them, if the player knows that a zombie is shambling towards them [Resident Evil style] they will be less scared than if they hear strange noises and visual effects [Amnesia: The Dark Descent style] which way will Shadow of a Soul go?
I agree with your point of view and I think it also applies to other genres, be they short horror stories or horror movies. The less you see, and the less you know, the better. This also applies to marketing material. Even a simple thing like the synopsis of a movie can ruin the experience.
To give an example, I really loved Insidious. I watched that movie without knowing anything about it. Afterwards, I checked the IMDB page for more information about the movie. And I saw that the synopsis – the very first thing on the first page – gave away some things that are explained towards the very end. It would have ruined my experience if I’d read that synopsis before watching the movie. And don’t make me talk about trailers. I hate watching those.
So with that in mind, I’m always very concerned about releasing too much information about the game.
I know it’s very early days yet but do you have any information you can share about the PC specifications required to run Shadow of a Soul?
The specs won’t be high. You can get really decent frame rates with a budget graphics card. As a matter of fact, my graphics card is a budget card so I’m pretty much optimizing the game to run on my machine. And considering the game is still 10 months ahead, I don’t think anyone will have any problems running the game.
From a financial point of view, I think the more of a niche game you make, the lower your specs should be. That’s why you don’t see many indie games with the same minimum specs as Crysis 2.
And from a developer’s point of view, I want to reach as many people as possible.
Is there any potential for Shadow of a Soul to go to XBox?
There is the possibility of an XBOX release before Chapter 3 but I can’t give any guarantees right now. There’s enough on my plate already :)
I have to admit, I was very impressed with the trailer (viewable below) on Youtube, is this purely for promotional purposes or can we expect that level of craftsmanship from Shadow of a Soul itself?
Yes, I certainly hope so. Most of my efforts are going into creating a dark and tense atmosphere. I want to create this unpredictable environment for the player where anything can happen at any moment. I do find that having a ghost at my disposal makes it a little bit easier.
Finally, this wouldn’t be an IndieGarden feature without asking one specific, almost traditional question: What kind of games do you enjoy playing in your downtime?
I used to play Left 4 Dead 2 a lot. I think I’ve played that game more than 570 hours over the years. From an entertainment point of view, it’s great to get into a game and blast some zombies and disconnect after 15 minutes. There is very little intellectual overhead and I find it very relaxing.
These days, I only play Starcraft 2, I suck pretty hard. I think they should open a league just for me to play. It would probably be called Wood League.
I’m a bit ashamed to say that I probably haven’t played more than 5 games over the past two years, including Starcraft 2 and L4D2.
Thanks very much for your time today Ferzan
It’s easy to tell that Ferzan wants to bring a unique experience to the gamers who play Shadow of a Soul: Chapter I. He wants the player to feel uneasy and unsettled by the events around him and that’s something I really respect. It’s something that recently some horror games have been missing. I’m personally very excited to see how the game develops over the next few months and will be bringing you all the information I can.
Like the trailer? Let us know in the comments field below.