Gene Mocsy Talks 1954: Alcatraz and Father’s Influential Prison Escape

We were able to sit down with Gene Mocsy, creator and designer of up the upcoming 1954: Alcatraz adventure game, to learn more about his project. Gene was previously employed for EA Redwood Shores (now known as Visceral Games) as a 3D artist before doing work with Autumn Moon Entertainment on A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. This is his first game that he debuted last year and was quickly scooped up by Daedalic Entertainment after seeing potential greatness.

Gamers will be playing Joe Lyons, a prisoner of Alcatraz who, as Gene describes, is a “good guy in a bad situation.” Joe was backstabbed by a friend and left to rot in prison, but he’s not completely on his own. On the other side of the cage is Christine, Joe’s rather elegant wife, who is fighting for her husband in different means. At any time, similar to a game such as Gemini Rue, you are able to switch between the two characters, working out their story at your own pace. Each will encounter drastically different events. Christine may need to patch up a gay couple’s relationship while Joe might have to fight for his life in Jail.

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The story primarily revolves around Christine and Joe’s marriage and whether or not they can work it out in such a poor situation. With this, both their adventures will have them coming across a wide variety of characters. This includes Mickey the gangster who rolls around San Francisco with his gunman Chicago, the historical figure of Robert Stroud (AKA Birdman), and the old timer Hank who is hatching a plan to escape, and you might be able to get in on it if you bribe him. It’s safe to say there are many fascinating individuals to interact with in the world of 1954: Alcatraz; some friendly and some devious.

1954: Alcatraz is described as a traditional point and click adventure that has 3D characters placed within (primarily) 2D backgrounds. The puzzles will be primarily inventory and dialogue based, with events getting so heated that Joe has the potential to die when fighting inmates or just doing the wrong action. They aren’t looking to reinvent the adventure game wheel, but with Daedalic’s involvement, they are trying to streamline some of the gameplay mechanics to be up to date with other properties. An example given is that they went from a three-click system to a two-click system, giving the player the ability to examine or take items. With the project primarily in Daedalic’s hands now, the company is reworking all the backgrounds, adding more animations and even helping Gene with any flaws in his puzzle designs, ultimately adding quality control.

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A large influence to Gene’s decision to create a prison break story directly relates to his father’s past. Ever since he was a child, Gene’s father had told him of his escape from a prison in Yugoslavia, and he used that as an outline to form a dramatized story about a jailbreak at Alcatraz, a setting in his own backyard. Gene has been talking with his father to gain more knowledge and understanding of life in jail, and the different challenges that arise. Other than that, Heavy Rain and L.A. Noire were said to be inspirations to the general plot. Aspects such as crime, observations of the world, human interaction and detective noire themes have motivated him greatly in creating a game such as 1954: Alcatraz.

If the game proves to be successful and Joe achieves his escape, Gene wishes to create a sequel, saying that a story about two lovers on the run could be an interesting set up. We are inclined to agree with him. He also hopes Daedalic’s new Unity-based engine will allow the game to come to multiple platforms, such as Tablets, but then again, the game isn’t even complete yet so the future is still a bit hazy on anything past PC.

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Unfortunately, no official release date has been decided upon, but Daedalic Entertainment stressed that they’re aiming for a late 2013 launch, alongside their already heavy lineup. Regardless, 1954: Alcatraz is shaping up to be a promising adventure, offering a colorful cast of characters in an intriguing timeline.