Alexandre Fiset Discusses Survival Story, Kôna
By Greg Micek
Alexandre Fiset : My name is Alexandre Fiset, I’m a former Activision (Beenox) associate producer with more than six years of experience in interactive media development. This interview is all about Kôna, our upcoming survival-adventure game for PC, Mac and Linux.
Cliqist : So Kôna is an open world survival game? I assume it has zombies, monsters, and angry locals looking to shoot me at the drop of a hat?
Alexandre Fiset : Kôna is a survival-adventure game, not a pure survival sim. For starters, there’s a deep storyline, which is Carl’s investigation case. You have to explore in order to find evidence to solve the mystery surrounding the disappearance of several inhabitants of the region. You explore the world, read notes left by the missing persons, eventually finds people who could “escape” from the mysterious threat and talk to them in order to move Carl’s investigation forward. There’s also a mysterious creature lurking around with his minions during the night. The “creature” is actually a Wendigo, which is somewhat similar to a werewolf, but with a heart made of ice. Telling more about it would spoil the game first episode, so I can’t really tell why it’s there and what role it plays in the game. Let’s just say that our Wendigo has some “unique features”. I have to make it clear though that you won’t see it much and it’s not there to terrify players (aka no jump scares). It looks like this:
Cliqist : Isn’t it a bit similar to The Long Dark?
Alexandre Fiset : Kôna differs from The Long Dark in its genre, style, sound and format. The Long Dark is a sandbox survival sim and like I said before, ours is a survival-adventure. We added some survival elements because they fit right in the “wild north” context. These mechanics add challenge and some tense to the experience, but they are not the central aspect of Kôna. Our game tells a deep story split into four distinct episodes, while TLD is one open-world sandbox game.
Cliqist : What was the main inspiration behind Kôna?
Alexandre Fiset : Well, Northern Quebec (Canada). In these wild territories, you travel a lot on snowmobile and you can hear a lot of awesome Native Americans (The Cree) legends. The Cree have amazing myths and legends that inspire us to create a unique world filled with awesome stories.
Cliqist : Can you give us some more detail on the survival aspects of Kôna? Will you have to use Chapstick to avoid cracked lips?
Alexandre Fiset : When we announced the title, I must admit we did not really think of the survival word meaning “survival sim” like the Long Dark. “Survival” is mostly a term we use to communicate that you have to be careful while you travel in the game. The first two Silent Hill games were “survival horror”, but you did not have to use rocks to start fires or hunt in order to eat. In Kôna, the “survival” aspect equals: Limited supplies (bullets, gas, etc.)and body temperature and physical conditions management (protect yourself against the cold, no auto-healing mechanic, etc.). The game is first and foremost an adventure game, blended with survival elements: A survival-adventure game 🙂
Cliqist : Why should someone back Kôna?
Alexandre Fiset : Because it mixes many elements in a way that no other games have done before. Adventure, survival, shooter, some horror influences, driving, etc. The game is made for people who know how to adapt to new gameplay mechanics and therefore will feel fresh from start to finish. It is free of any time wasters like useless waves of enemies and meaningless repetition of gameplay mechanics. The team also has the experience and the talent to create and ship this game. People should back us because Kôna is mostly a risk-free investment that will bring a fresh game to the market. Oh, and Kôna feels awesome on VR platforms such as the Oculus Rift, just saying.
Cliqist : How did you and your team cope with the failure of the Gridlock Tactics campaign?
Alexandre Fiset : Well we did not really have the choice but to admit the failure and move on.
Cliqist : Not to jinx anything, but what if Kôna doesn’t reach its funding goal?
Alexandre Fiset : At first, we thought: “if we don’t raise 40 000, we will have to say goodbye because it would mean nobody wants the game”. But looking at the numbers tells a different story. On Steam, Kôna is #38 out of 1900 games, with nearly 8 000 up votes. On Kickstarter, 5.4% of people who viewed the page back us. That’s twice the ratio of Gridlock Tactics. It depends on how it ends, but right now, we believe Kôna mostly lack press coverage. We had Kotaku, Jeuxvideo.com, but that’s about it for the big sites. So if in the end we have those positive numbers with an unfunded game, we might find other ways to pay for its development like dealing with a publisher. Only the future will tell, but right now, we need backers 😀
Cliqist : Is Kôna a scam or unattainable pipe dream? What assurance do backers have that they’re not throwing their money away?
Alexandre Fiset : No. Parabole is a company we’ve been running for two years now. You should take a look at some of things we’ve done. We also have experience in game development. It is not only a simple hobby to us, it is a job. You should take a look at my LinkedIn profile to know what I mean. We know how to get things done, we have some money and we have a plan. We only need a little more money in order to finalize the first episode. No money will be thrown away.
Cliqist : Can you finish us up with a Kôna inspired haiku?
Alexandre Fiset : Well, English is not my native language, but I’ll do my best:
a cold white blizzard
ruthlessly travels the north,
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