Unearthed head: Let players be the judge if the game is similar to any other title
We speak with lead designer Ahmad Jadallah for his upcoming story driven action-adventure.
Unearthed is almost a milestone achievement in video game development in Saudi Arabia. Not only is it one of the first big budget, triple-A title coming from the region, but it is also the first one to venture into multiple platforms, including that of smartphones. However, it’s announcement last month was shrouded by a unified cry by gamers and media outlets for its “unabashed” inspiration from Naughty Dog’s Uncharted, also a third person action-adventure, with similar characters and story presentation.
We spoke with lead game designer Ahmad Jadallah on the matter, and also expanded on what the game holds, it’s future plans and it’s star voice cast.
MEGamers: Could you give us a little background on what Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta is all about?
Ahmad Jadallah: “Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta” will be a digitally distributed product and it will be coming to: PC, Mac, PSN, XBLA, iOS, and Android. It Is a single player story driven episodic game played in Third Person.
“Unearthed Online” on the other hand is the browser based multiplayer only component of the project and is currently available in Beta form at (www.unearthedonline.com).
Since it’s going to be an international release on the PS3 and other platforms, do you think the story of a Muslim explorer, a largely unfamiliar story in other parts the world, would gain curiosity?
Being a largely unfamiliar story is exactly the reason we wanted to explore it. It was never featured in games before and we feel that we are able to present an engaging experience that players will find interesting. And not only has that, being presented by a Middle Eastern developer gives it a unique perspective that is not currently available in other games.
Are there any international names involved with the development of the game?
Yes! In voice acting for example, Faris Jawad our main hero is voiced in the English version by Jeff Rosick (The Social Network, Funny People, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights), Dania (Faris’ sister) is voiced by Katie Crown (Debt, True Love, The Jon Dore Show, Stoked), last but not least Rasheed is voiced by David Lodge (World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Starcraft 2, Ninja Gaiden, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Naruto).
Since the game’s official announcement, comparisons between Uncharted has been inevitable. How far do you think this argument is fair?
Without spoiling too much. We can’t wait for the players comments after they play the game when its released. That will be the real judgment if the game is similar to any other game or not
As for the name itself (Unearthed), it’s based on the Arabic name “Al Rikaz” which means something of value (not necessarily gold) that is taken out from the ground.
One of the unique things that Unearthed is doing is presenting the game in an episodic format. Will it be like Alan Wake or with added DLCs as it goes?
Each episode of the game is going to be downloaded as a separate product and it will have quick recap and highlights in addition to (Next on Unearthed) teaser segments at the end of each episode.
Unearthed is going to be released on multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, and smartphone devices. Will the release be simultaneous? Will the smartphone games differ from the PC versions?
This is one thing we are looking into right now. We want to make sure that the game looks the best it can be on any platform it is presented on and we will announce more details about this soon. The iOS and Android versions of Unearthed will feature the same level design and story progression but will of course be scaled to fit on those devices.
Will there be a multiplayer campaign?
The multiplayer component is called “Unearthed Online” and its a browser based free to play game and it is going to be available on Social Networks starting with Facebook (Facebook version is available now www.unearthedonline.com).
The graphics level of “Unearthed Online” has been optimized to work on a wide variety of hardware configurations from high end all the way to modern NetBooks and five year old laptops with discrete graphic cards, and so it does not reflect the quality level of the main single player story on the other platforms. Unearthed Online is currently in Beta status and we will continually update it to contain more levels, characters and weapons as well as new play modes.
In addition, players who complete each episode of Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta will get a special code that they can use in Unearthed Online which will give them a score boost that they can use to buy in-game items in Unearthed Online such as (weapons, characters and special abilities).
Any estimated release date?
We will be announcing the release date soon.