Interview: Shooter aus dem Osten

Hello Yaroslav, would you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi everyone. I am Yaroslav Singaevskiy – game designer and scenario writer of “You Are Empty”.

Have you ever played Monkey Island or tasted an Austrian beer? (In both cases we will increase the rating of You Are Empty!!!)
Oh, Monkey Island is great! (asking whole team: “Right, guys?” In a whisper: “they will increase our rating!…”) Chorus: Yeah, yeah! Definitely our favorite game!
Austrian beer? Maybe you’ll send a barrel or two for us? We have some doubt about the originality of Austrian beer we’ve bought here in Kiev.

You Are Empty plays in a fictional timeline, please tell us a little bit about the story.

Game’s storyline is an alternative approach to the history of the USSR. Right after World War II Soviet Union decides to start a new technological race. Great soviet scientific program, which started after WWII’ leads to a great technological breakthrough, creation of new materials and technologies. Total industrialization began. Cities turn into huge megacities (you’ll see classic Soviet architecture, the so called “Stalin style”). Soviet Union becomes the most powerful state in the world.
The apogee of this technological breakthrough is a new scientific program which aim is to create new type of human breed. Perfect men and women, super humans capable of building bright future and communism all over the world. Special experiments should alter human physiology and mentality. But of course something goes wrong…
Unexpected mutations killed the majority of citizens and those who managed to survive turned into strange and dangerous creatures.
You will also find much more information about game setting, new screenshots, videos and some parts of game soundtracks on our project web-site:

What Role will the USSR-government play? And will we only face mutants or also human enemies?

A good question! Sure, government can’t just stay aside. So, be prepared.

Are you concentrating on pure seriousness or will we also experience humorous scenes?

Of course, we have some humor in the game. There simply must be some sort of psychological safety valve.

Will the player be able to move completely as he wants throught the town, or is there a strict line of maps?

Game structure is linear. But some levels offer free choices. For example, a huge area of game world where a player should complete certain goals.

Let’s talk about the gameplay. Should we expect a very arcade-like gameplay or will there be a variety of possibilities, like stealth-sequences, talking to NPCs or puzzles?

We are trying to create a balanced mix of all the above mentioned components: shooting (sometime massive carnage in Serious Sam style), stealth action, puzzle solving, NPCs’ quests, etc. For the sake of gameplay variety players will also have a chance to use vehicles (train, boat, hover platform etc.) on some of the levels.

Are you planning to include some unconventional weapons or will we mainly use pistols and machine-guns?

Don’t forget about the scientific breakthrough. There will be also various futuristic stuff. Lightning gun which generates ball lightning, beam weapons and others.

Is it true that there is no other drink than Vodka in Russia?

Heh! If serious – real Russian national drink is “Medovuha” – it’s some kind of a mix between beer and honey. Very dense, sweet and sugary. Vodka was invented later.

The gaming market in Eastern Europe and Russia is expected to be mainly consisting of warez (at least here in Austria and Germany). But how does the situation really look like? Is it hard to finance such a huge project in Russia? And are there many cooperations between the different game developers?

Software piracy and warez have always been major problems. But situation is currently improving due to official localizations and versions in jewel cases (with attractive costs).
Financing of a project depends on its perspective.
Game industry in Russia is rapidly growing, so team cooperation and some open experience exchange are both present.

Are or were there any problems in finding a publisher for Europe and Northern America?

I think that there must be no problems if you can prove that your project is attractive for the market, looks fine and possesses interesting gameplay.

What are the expected hardware requirements for You Are Empty, and when will it be released?

It is too early to talk about exact requirements, because the game is still pretty early in development. Preliminary minimum requirements are about 1Ghz processor, 256 Mb RAM and GeForce 3 64 Mb or similar. As for the release date it is also too early to talk about it. We plan to release the game in 2005.

Are there kangoroos in Austria? (That’s the most important question!)

Only those who left their native land in exchange for the opportunity to taste great Austrian beer.

Thank you very much for your time!

Cool? Dann erzähl doch anderen davon! Danke! :)