Interview 2 of 2

Espionage, Diplomacy and Tough Decisions

Interview with Michaël Peiffert
Creative Director and Producer on Sigma Theory

Had a quick chat with Michaël on development of an upcoming strategy espionage game from Mi-Clos Studio. When doing research on games featured at EGX Rezzed the key art of Sigma Theory just drew my attention. So I had to set up an interview to find out more.

See also my Game Highlight of Sigma Theory in Figure It Out! article.

He looks mean, but he was very friendly!

Bernie

What’s your name and role in the development of Sigma Theory?

Michaël

I’m Michaël Peiffert, I’m a Creative Director and Producer on Sigma Theory.

Bernie

What’s the game about?

Michaël

The game is a turn-based strategy game about spying, diplomacy for PC and mobiles. There’s a big disruptive discovery in science and all the global superpowers wants to develop new technologies out of it.

Bernie

What’s the inspiration for the game?

Michaël

Of course we’re inspired by a lot of different games, but every time we make a new game, we don’t start with which game inspires us, but what kind of experience we want to offer to the player. You know like we’re all saying that in politics their making dumb decisions, but the truth is they’re all done because of some specific agenda, we might think it’s stupid, but for them it’s the perfect choice. We wanted put the player in this position, you’ll have a very high position in the government and you’ll have to take very meaningful decisions, because you develop world-changing technology and you can do it the soft way or the brutal way, but you’ll always have to report to your government. You can get help from terrorist organisations, which potentially might put you in a very complex situations in terms of diplomacy.

Bernie

So would you say there are some similarities to X-COM?

Michaël

X-COM is a big inspiration, but also games like Plague Inc. X-COM is cool, you upgrade your soldiers and can develop a relationship with them, but they’re kind of similar, we’re trying to do the same in Sigma Theory except every agent would be unique, we have already 50 different agents with their backstories and personalities.

Bernie

So do your agents die during the game?

Michaël

Sure. They can die during a mission, but they can also get captured. If your relationship with the country where your agent was captured is good you can negotiate it’s freedom, but if they don’t want to release him you can send a rescue mission to extract him.

 Bernie

When it comes to style and colour palette it looks very striking, how did you came up with this colour palette?

Michaël

Oh, because it looks good. Hmm, it’s a very tough question… I did the user interface and I made a lot of mock-ups and I think the current build is showing what I wanted to communicate – it’s very dark, technological and very cold as well. And it has to be very cold, because you have to put your emotions aside and have to make very tough decisions. I think the art direction reflects that. When it comes to the cover it’s a bit like our previous game – “Out There” (a space exploration game) where you’re alone in space, the feeling of melancholia and dark universe around you. And I think the cover art with a lonely figure reflects that similar feeling of isolation and difficult decisions.

Bernie

What are the challenges you’re facing during development?

Michaël

We are exploring a lot of different ways to communicate the purpose of the game through gameplay. We made like 10 different prototypes of the interface, this is hopefully the last one. It’s really difficult because you want something that’s like a game of chess, very strategic, but also with a lot of emerging narrative, so we need to find balance between the map and what’s going on. That’s why we are showing it very early in development to the players, because we’ve been working on it for few months and we like player’s feedback.

Bernie

When is the game coming out?

Michaël

The game won’t come out before 2017. There’s a long way to go, but I think we’ll start beta this year.

Bernie

What’s the plan beyond that? Are you planning expansions or is it too early to ask?

Michaël

We have some plans already. There are 10 different playable countries and every country has a different storyline. At launch we’ll be able to play as couple of countries. We’ll add more countries with their own storylines. All the narrative side of the game will have huge content, because there will be multiple endings, particular ways to lose and so on. So we have plans to expand, so there’s a lot of work ahead of us.

Bernie

Cool, can’t wait to see how it progresses! Good luck with the game and thanks for the talk.

PLANNED RELEASE

2017

PLATFORMS

PUBLISHER

Mi-Clos Studio

DEVELOPER

Mi-Clos Studio

Interview 2 of 2

Espionage, Diplomacy and Tough Decisions

Interview with Michaël Peiffert
Creative Director and Producer on Sigma Theory