Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview With HerInteractive

HerInteractive is the company behind the wonderful world of the Nancy Drew PC games.

You do remember Nancy, right? The one that always had a spare bobby pin for picking locks and knew Morse code so that she could tap-dance her way out of danger? The one with the original titian hair? The famous daughter of Carson Drew? I wish with all my heart I could interview one of the authors of the original hardback series, but I think they're all dead. Instead, I got to interview the wonderful Her Interactive team. Thanks Jessica!

. . .

Iryna: What inspired you to create a series of PC games based on the beloved Nancy Drew?

HerInteractive: Nancy Drew interested us because she is an icon and positive role model. Girls who read her books are taken to world where they can solve mysteries, find ill-gotten treasures, and capture culprits. Debuting in 1929, she was one of the first female heroes; her gutsy, resourceful, and intelligent nature make her a great heroine for the adventure game genre. Her Interactive secured the Nancy Drew license from Simon & Schuster in 1997.

Iryna: Are the staff members at Her Interactive a fan of the Nancy Drew books too?

HerInteractive: Yes! We have a collection of Nancy Drew books in our library that we like to peruse through every so often to get into the spirit of Nancy Drew.

Iryna: What would you consider to be the best part of your job?

HerInteractive: I love interacting with our fans and hearing what they have to say about our games. It’s important for us to understand what the fans want, and one of the most important aspects of my job, is to get feedback about what we’re doing well and what we could do better. So if you ever want to tell us something, email us at feedback@herinteractive.com. I also get to play a lot of games, Nancy Drew and then some – it helps us get a good idea of what other options girls might have besides our games.

Iryna: Do you ever wish that you could solve mysteries and travel the world like Nancy Drew?

HerInteractive: Yes! Although, I’m not sure I’m as brave as she is to go running into haunted houses.

Iryna: What do you think is Nancy’s best quality? Her worst?

HerInteractive: Nancy’s best quality is her ability to get things done, no matter what the obstacles are. She thinks outside of the box and uses all of her knowledge to find creative solutions out of sticky situations. Her flaw might be that she’s too perfect. She hardly ever makes a mistake and never has a bad hair day. It makes her character a little harder to relate to, but I suppose that’s part of the appeal of being Nancy Drew.

Iryna: How do you think up of the plot lines for all of your games?

HerInteractive: We look for topics that might be interesting to our fans and then craft a story around it. There’s also a wealth of Nancy Drew books that we can draw inspiration from, so that’s also very helpful. We also research a lot of topics and check our message board for anything our fans have been interested in experiencing. It’s all about the storytelling. We start off with a great mystery to hook the player, and then we lead them clues about the suspects until they reach the climax of the game. You’re constantly gathering clues and learning more about the suspects, but you never quite know if you’ve solved the case yet, so you keep going. The games appeal to a lot of people because they’re fun, challenging, and also wholesome. Once you’ve played one game, you’ll want to collect them all. We’ve sold over 5.5 million units to date.

Iryna: In your PC games you see the game directly as Nancy would. Why did you not decide to show how Nancy physically looks and what gave you the idea to do this?

HerInteractive: You’ll never see Nancy in our games because we want our players to be able to step into her shoes and be a spunky young sleuth who can solve any mystery. Nancy is smart, adventurous, and gutsy and this is the players chance to be just that. Wearing the perfect outfit and having killer heels is just the icing on the cake. J

Iryna: How long does it typically take for a ND game to be created?

HerInteractive: It takes about 8 months to create a game.

Iryna: Recently, you created a new Nancy Drew: Dossier PC game series that is a lot like “I Spy” - you must find items to advance in the game. What gave you the idea to do this?

HerInteractive: Our fans have always asked us to make more Nancy Drew games – they have to wait a long time from the fall release to the summer release. So we’ve created a new series, called Nancy Drew Dossier that Fast Fun for Busy Detectives. It has everything a fan would want from a Nancy Drew game - puzzles, mystery, suspects - but the gameplay is different. You still need to look for clues, but this time, you’ll find them all in the same scene, and then you’ll have to use them together correctly to solve the mystery. In addition, there are some fun mini-games that you can replay in Arcade Mode. We came up with this idea because not everyone has the time to sit down to a complex and challenging adventure – it’s a great way to fill the time between the Adventure Series games. To see more information about the two series, check out our comparison chart. Our first title in the Dossier series is Lights, Camera, Curses! – try it out, it’s different, but it’s still fun!

Iryna: Sometimes, in the ND adventure games you can call the famous Hardy Boys to ask for help in the case you are currently working on. How did you think up of this?

HerInteractive: Nancy has friends that she often asks for help from in the books ranging from Bess, George, Ned, Carson Drew, and the Hardy Boys. They’re all a very important part of her world. We needed a hint system for the games, and since Nancy collaborates with the Hardy Boys in the Super Mystery books, we though this would be a great idea. You can actually play as the Hardy Boys in Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon and Nancy Drew: The Creature of Kapu Cave. In Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships (releases summer 2009), you’ll be able to meet Nancy’s best friends, Bess Marvin and George Fayne, as animated characters for the first time!

Iryna: What’s in the future for Her Interactive?

HerInteractive: We had a phenomenal year in 2008 with the release of our first Wii game, Nancy Drew: The White Wolf of Icicle Creek, and two chart topping PC games: Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Venice and Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy. This year, we’ll release two Adventures series titles, the first being Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships releasing this summer and our 21st game in the fall. Recently, our new Nancy Drew Dossier: Lights, Camera, Curses just shipped into retail stores and we’re looking forward to releasing a sequel to the game this summer as well. Also, look for our first entry into the handheld market and Hardy Boys game with The Hardy Boys: Treasure on the Tracks. It’s going to be an exciting year, so make sure you keep checking www.HerInteractive.com for the latest updates!

. . .

Thanks for letting me interview you, HerInteractive!

So, what did you guys think? Do you want more interviews that have to do with books, but don't always have to do with authors or bloggers? Or was this a little too off topic?


zac said...

you blog is so prettyyy

Miss Cindy said...

great interview, i love nancy drew :) It seemed a little off topic though, but still awesome to know.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Iryna, it's "bobby" pin, not "booby" pin!