Few weeks ago I saw an interesting information about The Birdcage, musical game. I personally listen to metal and love also doom, gothic and a little bit of death metal. So when I saw names like Guns N' Roses, Epica, Evanescense, Within Temptation and many others it automatically got my highest attention. After several emails with Arnold Nesis from Capricia Productions who was also involved in the Path of Exile's music (which I'm sure you all know) and testing The Birdcage demo there was no other possibility then to ask him few questions. I hope you will like it because merging two loves together is something which is not seen often. Music and games. What else do we need??? :-)
1. Many of our readers and fans don’t know anything about the game you produce. I know that you can say that it’s not a game but musical game :-). Therefore could you please present yourself, Capricia Productions and your game shortly by your words? Official description could be found here, at your official page or at Patreon site.
I would describe it as a music album made as a video game. I think the best way to explain it is to imagine a video clip which is an hour and a half long and you can control and feel you are inside it while the story is driven by the lyrics and the whole world and environment is synced with the music.
Capricia Productions is a new, Jerusalem-based team. We are creating a new way to experience music – through video games and The Birdcage is our first project. We are very lucky to be working with some amazing musicians from Guns N' Roses, former Evanescence members, Epica, Within Temptation and many others.
2. Can you tell us more about the history? How did the idea emerge? Who first though about such a project?
In my past I went through the usual rout of a musician – Build a band (Capricia is originally a metal band), make an album, make a clip, sign a deal with a music label and make live shows. When I started working on Capricia's second album I had this feeling that "this can't be it" – we have been experiencing music the same way for about a hundred years and there must be a more unique experience I can make. I felt that this story deserves 'more' and being a composer for video games, the answer was pretty clear to me so I've started working on it.
3. And what about bands, musicians that all of us like and will be able to hear while enjoying the game? How did you manage to persuade them for this project? Was it simple? Were they luckily interested enough because this game is something that was never done before and they are curious enough to try it? :-) Or you had to talk to them many times and tried to get their interest?
It sure wasn't simple :-) - but I'd say that overall they were very interested (Some of them are actually gamers themselves) and it made it much easier. I think the most amazing thing in this team is that we have ended up with almost exactly our "dream team" that we wanted when we just thought about the project – almost everyone we originally wanted on board ended up joining us.
4. If we look at the names there are many wide known musicians. How did you contact them? Do you know each other from concerts, festivals and the past, are you friends?
I knew some of them from common work in the past and we have contacted the others. I always get asked this question but there isn't really a juicy story behind it – just like in any industry, you get to know other people who are working in it and being a musician you get to meet other musicians. It's really as simple as that :-).
5. Do you take your project more as a game or rather as a musical album? What is the main part? Who is the Birdcage made for? Should it install all fans of the artists and bands that are involved in the creation or should it install simply players who love metal at the same time?
Personally I'd say it's an album and the game only comes second. The whole game is built on an already existing music and not the other way around. I think however most of the people in our team will say that what we are really trying to do it a perfect match between the two and they would probably be correct. The Birdcage is not just an album or a game – it's a new way to experience music and it's built to anyone who likes music and would like to experience it like never before.
6. What about fans support. Everyone can support you at Patreon site. In average every patron pays 7,4 $ per month. That is not bad for a game that is in the early stage of development. But of course it cannot be enough to pay for every single involved person in the project. Can you reveal a little bit the processes behind the curtain? If I am true then you have no investor. How do you manage to finance everything?
I'll be honest and say that it's hard as hell. Every dollar on Patreon is a huge help for us but the one thing I have learned in the past few months while working on this project is: When you have a team of people who are ready to give everything to make something happen – anything is possible.
7. I was able to try The Birdcage Demo few weeks ago. It was not bad at all but it is very short. Do you plan to release longer demo for your supporters? When?
The demo is very short indeed and it was just made to show the whole concept of the project which is very hard to explain in words. We don't plan to release a longer version of the demo for now but we are considering releasing the game in a few acts.
8. I know it is just an alpha and there are many bugs. But will you improve graphics although it could be a problem for some players with older computers and specifications? Do you plan to stay with the current Unreal 4 engine? There is possible to make really, really great scenes and games, that’s clear. However the demo seemed to me a little bit outdated in terms of graphical details and small things around. Will you polish it in the coming weeks and months?
9. How will music influence the gameplay? In the demo I can experience shaking of the environment at some selected tones and moments in the song. It’s predefined but at the same time creates intense dark atmosphere which is nice and it works fine. But isn’t there a problem that it will be the same every time I run the game? Or do you plan to make several different moments, stories, paths to go in the game so you will get another game and songs every time you start it? What if I would like to start a new game to listen to the songs together? Won’t I get bored fast?
There are a lot of mechanics to sync the game with the music. In the demo, the clear ones are the camera shakings but there are also some that are more 'hidden' and complex. For example, you entered the room at the exact moment when the music atmosphere changed. Brass walked into the room with a sync with the music. There are a lot of mechanics that we are working on – some are more obvious and some are more complex. This is actually our biggest challenge.
There will be a few paths and there are a lot of things you can discover about the story while playing. You will also be able to listen to it as a normal album and you will be able to start at any track, just like a normal album. The music won't change however. At the base of everything this is still an album and the music is set in stone.
10. And of course one necessary question to all of you from the studio. Will you play (no matter the artist) the songs also at your concerts or maybe make for some of them a video clip? Because not everyone would like to buy the game and play it on his or her computer and prefer simple way of listening.
The album will be available also as a 'normal' album. As for live shows, it's hard to say – it's something I would love to do in the future, but it's too early to think about it at the moment as we are focused on the game itself.
11. What about the release date? The Birdcage should be released in Q3 2016. Is this still true? Will you provide your fans more demos and maybe few songs before this date?
Yes, this is the date that we are aiming for and we believe we'll make it. I don't think we will provide more demos but our 10$ Patreons can listen to the songs sketches while they are being composed.
Thank you for your time. Would you like to say something more to our readers?
Thank you for interviewing me. I'd like to invite everyone who likes the idea to join our community on Patreon. I really can't explain how much it helps having people support us and what it means to us. Our Patreon community is always our priority and we are doing everything we can to make it and fun. Those are the actual people who are turning this crazy dream into a reality.