Famous actress Rosamund Pike stars in Czech mobile phone game
Two years ago, a small Czech studio called Play By Ear released an interactive audio game, in which players navigate their way through a mysterious detective story using their smartphones. Now they have put out an English version, called Evidence 111, starring, among others, the famous British actress Rosamund Pike.
Evidence 111 is an interactive audio game with an open-ended story that develops based on the choices the players make as they navigate their way through the game.
Unlike the Czech version, set in the United States, Evidence 111 takes place in the small English town of Farnham in the mid-1980s. It follows the character Chief Inspector Alice Wells as she gets to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding an old inn called Harbor Watch.
Swiping the screen of their smartphones, players decide what strategy they will use to uncover the secret hidden in Evidence file No. 111. Thanks to its simple and intuitive control, the game is also suitable for the visually impaired, says one of its creators, sound designer Tomáš Oramus:
“The original idea was to create an audio story, but then we thought: if it’s an audio, let’s try to make it for the visually impaired as well. So throughout the development, we were consulting with the visually impaired and we made some changes in the game play features based on their suggestions.”
Why have you decided to create an English version of the game?
“We released the Czech version two years ago as a sort of test whether people will like the concept. I think the reception here in Czechia was really good, so we decide to create an English version to reach a wider audience. Also, there are many visually impaired people around the world who speak English who we thought could enjoy the game. So that was the reason.”
The game has received praise not just for the story itself but also for its high-quality sound. How did you achieve that?
“I am a film sound designer by profession, so my aim was to re-create a film-style sound. Everything in the game is created from scratch. When a character moves, you can hear their footsteps, the movement of their clothes and so on.
“The story is set in an old hotel during a thunderstorm, so there are rain sounds and thunders. There is also music and ambient sounds. And also every character in the game has their own actor, so you really feel as if you are part of the story.”
Have you used some special technology?
“The game is mixed in binaural audio, which is basically a simulation of our spatial listening when we put on the headphones. You kind of feel that you are in the space and when somebody approaches from somewhere, you can hear them and localize them in the space, which really wouldn’t be possible without this technology.”
The English version of the game has quite an impressive cast, starring, among others, the British actress Rosamund Pike. How did you get her to take part?
“It was quite interesting. She has been living in Prague for quite some time, because she is starring in the Wheel of Time series and we have been recording some ADRs for her.
“After a few sessions I told her about my project and I sent her the script. She said she really liked it, so we made the recording. She also suggested Zoe Robins would be great for the main character, so I asked her, and I think it works really well in the game.”
What was it like cooperating with these film stars?
“It was a really amazing experience. You have to be prepared, because they are really thinking about their characters and want them to be believable, and they are asking lots of questions to get into their roles.
“Also, there are so many different paths in the game and we had to do many similar situations in different variations, so it wasn’t easy to do everything correctly.”