Interview with The Whispered World Designer Marco Hüllen

Note: This is Day 3 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Maro Hüllen, with Pet

In today’s interview, we talk to the original designer and primary illustrator of The Whispered World, Marco Hüllen (on the right), in the hopes of shedding more light on the curiouser details of the development process of the game – especially, on details that are still left uncertain for non-German audiences.

After all, German fans of the adventure game have had the privilege of reading Marco’s posts on various adventure gaming forums – as well as having already played the game. For those of us not yet in the know, the interview below should hopefully reveal some further facets of the make-up of the wildly imaginative ride that is the six-year development process of the game.

Finally, please do remember to take a look at our introductory post to The Whispered World – the article, written in conjunction with this interview, details the game’s history from inception to conception, between the years 2004 and 2010, and should by all means get you better prepared for the game’s release on the 23rd.

A special thank you goes to the very genial mister Hüllen, who braved our questions despite a minor language barrier. Therefore, the interview has been translated, from German into English, by Martyn Zachary and Richard Scary for The Slowdown. The original answers, in the German language, will also be published on the website later.

The Slowdown: After having worked so long on a project that began way back in the first half of the 00’s as an university project, are you feeling any fatigue now that the game is finally coming out?

Marco Hüllen: A little, but the joys do outweigh the fatigue. When I first started work on the game, I never expected it to become such a marathon for me. Much has been enjoyable, and a lot was equally frustrating. In the end it all came together nevertheless, and with that in mind it has all been worthwhile.

How long have you been working on the game, exactly?

Oh, it has already been quite a few years: I started work in the year 2004, with The Whispered World as the topic of my diploma thesis. When I completed my degree in late 2005, I made the decision to develop the game further at Bad Brain Entertainment, for whom I had done graphics on some other titles during my studies.


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The Secret History of the Whispered World

Note: This is Day 2 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles. –Charlie Chaplin

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. Other times, a video is worth these thousand words; once in a while, though, there comes a time when neither pictures, videos nor a thousand words can accurately portray a story.

One such story, in more than one way, is that of The Whispered World, an apocalyptic fantasy point and click adventure from Germany; apart from boasting an imaginative, existentialist storyline, it also comes with an origin story that is one of the wildest development rides for a video game in recent memory. 1)Other than, that is, Babylonian Twins (more…)

References   [ + ]

1. Other than, that is, Babylonian Twins

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The Whispered World Week

Note: This is Day 1 of “The Whispered World Week” at The Slowdown.

Cover Art

This week, after a brief stretch of inactivity, The Slowdown prepares to turn its knobs to full blast with five days solely dedicated to the German-made, apocalyptic fantasy point and click adventure, The Whispered World!

I consider this week, from the 19th to the 23rd, just as much a return to my gaming roots – the adventure game genre – as it is a gesture towards the game’s only true leading man, lead artist and designer Marco Hüllen, who has in my mind received far too little attention in the English-language press for his imperative contributions to the game’s development. His omission from the game’s marketing discourse, in a way, is an example of the disconnection in-between different subsections of gamers as demarcated by language.

Therefore, the week starts with full force tomorrow, Tuesday the 20th, with a detailed timeline of the astonishing six-year development history of the game, detailing many of the turning points and pivotal moments of a process that in many ways culminated back in the August of 2009. For comparative purposes, the article also contains rare screenshots from the original demo version way back from 2005!

Sadwick and Spot

On Wednesday, we will be posting a translation of our one-on-one interview with the game’s lead artist and original designer, Marco Hüllen. Among the topics discussed were the scholastic origins of the game, Hüllen’s past and present influences, the role that the infamous Bad Brain Entertainment played in the game’s development, and the formative origins of the protagonist, Sadwick the clown. Finally, we’ll at once discover the true nature of Sadwick’s sidekick, Spot!

For Thursday, I have prepared a thickly descriptive interpretationa review, if you will – of the very generously paced demo of The Whispered World that is currently available for download from Deep Silver.

And to seal the deal, Friday the 23rd (the game’s EU release date) comes with a tiny surprise!

Note: This post will be updated with links to the respective articles to reflect the state of the upcoming coverage, so stay tuned for more! I hope you will all enjoy these articles as much as I have enjoyed working with Mr. Hüllen for the past few weeks!

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