Imagine that you find yourself on the famous and familiar corner of the obelisco, smack-dab in the middle of downtown Buenos Aires. But something is not right – instead of the bustling streets of the center, the city is completely desolate. So opens “The Meeting”, the second chapter of Reversión, an interactive story-game set in an apocalyptic Buenos Aires. The first chapter of the story, entitled “The Escape,” begins when its protagonist, who leads you through the various puzzles and broken-down landscapes of this graphic adventure game, wakes up in the Garrahan Hospital in the year 2035 in a seemingly war-torn city with no memory of what has happened in the last 20 years.
In “The Meeting,” as programmers Fernando Niwes and Francisco Sáenz told the Indy, the player must solve the puzzles presented in the game in order to learn more about what happened to the city and how the characters arrived there.
If you haven’t guessed already, this is not your typical shooting or war-like computer game. It’s inspired by the graphic adventure games that saw their heyday in the early 90s, a genre exemplified by the cinematic-quality, large-production games developed by LucasArts and kept alive today by companies like Telltale Game. Following in this tradition, the developers of Reversión sought to create a puzzle-based, interactive adventure that takes place in a fictionalised future Buenos Aires.
Niwes and Sáenz met at the University of Buenos Aires while studying computer science and decided to go into business together. While they originally wanted to develop games together, they acquired different software consultancy and development jobs and worked out of their homes until they were able to get more clients and formally establish Soluciones 3f. Today, the company has 12 employees and an office in the neighborhood of Chacarita, Buenos Aires.
“We always had the idea of developing games, but could never find a way to fund it,” explains Sáenz. Last year, however, they won funding through the Buenos Aires Innova program, a grant provided by the city of Buenos Aires for technology companies. This grant allowed them to hire additional staff (including illustrators and sound specialists) and produce the first chapter of the game, “The Escape”, which is available as a free download on their website. Now, the 3f team has launched an IdeaMe campaign in order to collect the rest of the funds they’ll need in order to finish the second chapter.
The second episode of Reversión will be released online at a low price, in order to maintain developing costs for future episodes. Developers at 3f are also in the process of launching a strategy game for Facebook, and possibly a version of Reversión for the iPhone.
It’s certainly hard for independent developers like Niwes and Sáenz, who don’t work for a large company, to find the means to produce games – particularly interactive stories and other genres that aren’t as popular and that don’t involve, as Niwes puts it, “shooting everything on the screen.”
These developers have, however, come a long way, establishing their own software company and searching for funds on platforms like Ideame and through government grants to work on projects they love. If you want to contribute to the project, just look up their IdeaMe campaign, and if you want to get lost in the interactive story of an apocalyptic Buenos Aires, download the first chapter for free!