Donut: Why don’t you start off by telling us about you and the mod.
N. Aaroe: Personally I am not that interesting. What’s interesting is the dev team and its combination, we come from many parts of the world and we coop in such a wonderful pace.
Globalism can work wonders and MISERY is in my opinion a prime example of just that, everyone in the team is really hyped about creating the kind of Stalker that we really love and will be playing for a long time.
Donut: Of course, you have amassed quite the team. Speaking about the kind of Stalker you love, why did you choose the route the mod has taken?
N. Aaroe: Difficulty, sadness, horror and overall ‘misery’ seemed to die out a bit in the Stalker series. SHoC was (IS) such a great game and CoP introduced several interesting aspects, veteran stalker gamers like myself needed to feel that challenging gameplay once again.
However the mentioned aspects of the original game seemed more flat in CoP which generated huge potential for an atmospheric improvement. But ambitions just kept growing and so did the team upon the release of MISERY, a year ago I would never have thought that this mod would have grown into what it is now.
That is only because of a powerful team effort as we all have different skills and ideas.
Donut: So how did the mod begin exactly? By the sounds of it, it was no where near this size not very long ago.
N. Aaroe: It began right after my release of I Work Alone which is now an outdated compilation mod for CoP, I had the idea of making a ‘black version’ of I Work Alone that was to be designed as a hardcore version of I Work Alone.
But as mentioned the ambitions simply kept growing even back then, so it actually made more sense to simply announce a new modding project. That project was given birth as MISERY 1.0 and it is far more quality packed than I Work Alone although it still have its issues, MISERY is a better mod in every sense of the word. And it introduces so much more content that I Work Alone ever did.
The development of MISERY 1.0 was mainly a one man project gathering material from the best modders around the world and combining it into a full concept. MISERY 2.0 is now a team development between me and these modders.
Donut: I remember playing I Work Alone and then MISERY and not realizing they were the same team, interesting. So MISERY 2.0 is coming out, what is the most exciting feature in your mind?
N. Aaroe: Oh man, there are so many! In general we enhanced so many game play elements like having medics charge you money for their work and batteries now serve a purpose, many people ask for screenshots and in game videos but to be honest there is little difference to notice in these things.
The main update from version 1.1 to version 2.0 will be in the depth of it all. When you’ve played an hour you will begin to feel the depth and care that we implemented in almost every aspect, New Ordnance will also take MISERY into the extremes. To be honest I think that we will present the FPS mod that has the greatest weapon diversity ever laid on the table, If everything works out well you are likely to have a full play through without seeing the same weapon twice.
Donut: Very interesting, so after MISERY 2.0 is released, what do you see happening? Where do you want to go after?
N. Aaroe: I really don’t know. To begin with I will start a full play through of MISERY 2.0 when it releases. A play through that involves a lot of role playing. I might decide to take a break from modding afterwards and actually enjoy gaming instead of constantly altering, editing and testing things in an effort to improve things that I don’t like. I will be playing Metro 2034 and see who in the MISERY dev team that is motivated to continue the MISERY concept.
These have been some extremely busy weeks and we all deserve to kick back and actually enjoy the product that we made.
Donut: Well I wish you luck in that, you certainly deserve a break. So earlier you mentioned that players will never see the same weapon twice, would you like to elaborate?
N. Aaroe: Thank you.
Okay, let’s take a Makarov PM. It can be found in a dark corner in a basement. All rusty and corroted but it works and it is free loot/weaponry. This handgun can also be bought in a never before used form for a lot of money. Obviously it rarely jams and it may even have some preinstalled upgrades right from the factory in its modern production line. Later on you might be able to trade a camouflaged version of the Makarov from a Freedomer. Or a lone Stalker that is packing a customized version of a Makarov with enhanced alluminium interiors for light weight. The same gun but in different forms. Most vanilla weapons in MISERY 2.0 will be featured in 3-5 variations.
This gigantic workload has just been implemented and we are now about to test whether this breaks memory consumption in the game or not. It it does we just tone it down a bit. As simple as that.
Donut: Mhmm, sounds good. So one complaint you often got was that the game was too hard or difficult or simply not ‘fun’ enough, how do you respond to these people?
N. Aaroe: This mod is not for everyone. It is not designed for the community, for popularity or any economic gain. It is a product of a Stalker loving team and we just share our mod with the world.
If people hate some challenging aspects of it and it breaks the game for them too bad, but then again, I find myself (and others) time and time again willing to assist on how to edit simple files to shape it more into their personal preferences. A mod will never be perfect. It will never please all of us.
MISERY in particular seems to have its haters as well as its extremely supportive fans.
Donut: A respectable position. Well look at the time, it looks like it’s time to wrap it up. One last question, if you could add one thing to MISERY that you know you won’t get in before the patch comes out, what would it be?
N. Aaroe: Time runs fast when you enjoy a good conversation huh?
I have a long list of those things. If these were to be written in published form I am confident that I would feel the pressure to add them in, but then impatience would arise as the release would have to be prolonged yet again so I think that I will keep these to myself for now. But rest assured that the ideas are there… but is the team for a MISERY 3.0 production (myself included)?
We will have to see about that …
Donut: Thank you for your time and good luck with the mod.
N. Aaroe: I respect people with a mature approach to the world of gaming and the gaming itself, thank you for an interesting interview.
I hope that you find my answers worth your time.
/on behalf of the MISERY dev team
Nicolai Aaroe is the lead developer of the award winning mod: MISERY, for the game Stalker: Call of Pripyat. Misery can be found at http://www.moddb.com/mods/stalker-misery