Since the games announcement I’d been keen to speak with the Bristol based Rumpus Animation team about leading Victorian Explorator, Bertram Fiddle. Episode 1 of his point and click adventures that is coming soon to PC, iOS and Android. I caught up with Joe Wood the Rumpus’ creative director at the recent Eurogamer Expo event to chat about the game and some of the influences.
For those not familiar with the game, can you explain what or who Bertram Fiddle is?
Bertram Fiddle is Victorian London’s second best detective and explorer. He also has a sidekick and manservant called Gavin the Cyclops and in this game they are on the hunt for Geoff the Murderer who’s been up to no good. You follow his moves, solve puzzles and talk to strange people on the way including Sherlock Holmes who is …a bit of knob. It’s a point and click adventure game and we’ve tried to make it, hopefully, funny.
I’ve been looking at some of Rumpus’ other work, especially Julian Sweeney and his Teeny Weeny Genie which is my type of humour. The studio has moved from animation to a game. How did that come about?
With Bertram he was actually originally created by Seb Burnett (creative director and writer/designer on the game). We’ve had the character for a while and written loads of scripts and made little animations but it seemed that the gaming community liked the character a little more than the people on the animation side, so that was the start really. We applied for some funding for the game. We still approached it as we would when making traditional animation, but obviously it’s a lot more work. It’s been really exciting and exciting meeting a whole new community of people.
The game is Victorian set. I’ve spotted on YouTube you’d liked a lot of Hammer films, some of which a little untraditional like Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde. Is horror or Hammer an influence?
Hammer was a big one. With the Victorian scene we put so much into doing it because it has all that weird science going on. You can do or have anything that’s modern but give it that Victorian twist as well.
Humour for Bertram is particular British. The game went to the Tokyo Game Show. How did it translate?
Seb went to Tokyo and apparently it went really well. We hoped that the Japanese gamers like that kind of Britishness. I’m not sure how well all the jokes translated though, I’m not sure the “My Grandfather has a massive clock” translates…
Or Lord Arthwipe…
Yeah, both myself and Seb have worked creating commercials at Ardman Animation in the past. They created Wallace & Gromit, which are really huge in Japan.
Going back to the humour, Bertram has a Cyclops manservant called Gavin. I found that quite humorous in my head. Of all the names you’d find for a Cyclops, Gavin is quite an unusual. I noticed also that his voice has changed from the original trailers I’d seen. Is he now …Peruvian rather than squeaky Yorkshire?
He’s been through a few and he was always meant to be Gavin the Peruvian Cyclops and it was finding someone who was up for a go at the Peruvian accent.
It’s not a particular Peruvian name Gavin though?
No, although I’m not sure it’s a particularly Peruvian accent either!
How has the game evolved from conception? Was it always going to be point and click?
It would always have been point and click as I think that’s what suits Bertram and these sorts of adventures so well. When we started we actually had more animation so we decided to make it all part of the game. We’d also animated cutaways for the game, but instead we thought we’d make it all part of the game.
Episode 1, A Dreadly Business, is coming to PC, iOS and Android. Do you have an overall story for Episode 2? Are we still looking for Geoff the Murderer?
Not to give much away but we are still looking for Geoff.
Episode 2. The Search for Geoff?
Episode 2 could take him anywhere.
I must say I have an iPad, but don’t play many games on it, but Bertram works very well. It’s very intuitive and works well for a point and click game.
It’s quite simple gameplay…
I find some point and click games too tenuous as to what you have to do. Although saying that I imagine judging from the style we’re going to see some quite weird and wonderful puzzles later on.
One more question I’ve been asking everyone at the show today, other than Bertram have you seen or played any other game that’s caught your eye?
Everyone has been saying that!
It’s really nice it being next to us, but it’s also a curse as it’s so popular. I just find it hilarious just to look at. Even the title screen when no one is playing it is just hilarious.
Thank you very much for talking to me and I wish you all the best of luck with the game and Bertram’s adventures.
The Adventure Of Bertram Fiddle is on Steam Greenlight now (please stop by and give it a thumbs up). No official news on a release date for PC, iOS or Android has been given, but Joe mentioned all being well, we should get our magnifying glass out and keep a close eye out around the end of November.