Michael Patrick Rogers - The Lady interviewcomment_here

the lady
The Lady are set for a release In August next year (PC only).

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about an upcoming adventure/horror game called “The Lady”. Because I found the game to be really interesting and neat. Well, guess what?

The mind behind The Lady (Michael Patrick Rogers) contacted us via mail some days ago. And he asked us If we would be interested In doing an interview with him. And of course, we're interested!

So here we are, with a set of questions for Michael Patrick. So let´s begin shall we?

Robin Ek TGG:
I don´t know why, but when I saw the trailer for The Lady. Three games popped up in my mind. “The Cat Lady”, American Mcgee's “Alice”, and the old Cyberpunk game “I have no mouth and I must scream”. Is it just a coincidence, or have you played and been inspired by any of those games?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
I knew of Alice, and had in fact gotten to see “Alice Madness Returns” while it was still in development when I was working in QA  for EA. I discovered The Cat Lady a few months after I started development on “The Lady”, and I downloaded the demo, I was instantly intrigued. I started playing the full version and realized it was much different than my game; it’s a lot more “in depth” in ways.

I’d never heard of “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” until you mentioned it, so I checked it out, instantly bought it on Steam. 1996 was a great year for games.

Robin Ek TGG:
Could you please tell our readers a bit about yourself and The Lady? So that they get a proper introduction, so to speak.

Michael Patrick Rogers:

The Lady is a 2D Surrealist Puzzle Adventure, with elements of Horror. It’s the story of a person going through a fever dream type of hallucination, where she encounters multiple versions of herself throughout the game. There are several tributes to classic gaming placed through ought the game, and the gameplay mechanics are very simple and similar to side scrollers, except without jumping.  It’s meant to be a short “hellride” (shout out to Wesley Willis) that tells a story without the use of text or UI on the screen.

I mainly have a background in music. I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old. I played in a few hardcore and metal bands, recorded several albums on my own, mostly instrumental music.

I started playing video games around 1985’ish when the NES came to America. I had a friend down the street who had an Atari before that. My favorite period of gaming is the Sega Genesis/Super NES era. I became a fan of horror movies at an early age, and art, music, all of which I think contributed to my own style of making art to this day. I really started to discover myself when I found bands like Godflesh, and movies like Eraserhead.

This year I got into doing freelance music for a couple of games and short films, and I decided it was the right time for me to get into making my own games, that were more suitable for my art style.

Robin Ek TGG:
The artwork, design and everything for The Lady, are very dark, twisted and grotesque. It made me think about Buckethead´s music video “Spokes on the wheel of torment”. Which uses a lot of the art from an artist named “Hieronymus Bosch”.

So I thought that “maybe” you’re familiar of Hieronymus Bosch´s art as well? Or maybe The Lady´s artists Saint Yak and Patrick Tsao, know of him?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
I’m only a little familiar with Bosch’s work. Artist that influenced me were people like Jean Michel Basquiat, and presently I am a huge fan of David Choe and his podcast DVDASA.
 I know of Buckethead, but only as the guy in the imposter version of Guns N Roses. Tsao did the glass overlays and some smaller art assets. Saint Yak is the main artist who did the character art. He is from Moscow Russia, and I discovered his work about 5 years ago when I came across his original series “Bat Is Dead” (which can be found here http://saintyak.deviantart.com/gallery/25721868 ). He is an amazing artist with great imagination, he mostly does comic book work, but I will definitely like to use his art in future games because his art is a perfect match for my music.

Saint based The Lady on my original concept drawing, which I used to make Photoshop animations with. This is what the original verion looked like.

the original lady
This Is how the original concept drawing of The Lady looked like.

Robin Ek TGG:
How did you come up with the name “The Lady”? And does the name have some kind ofmeaning? (Metamorphosis)

Michael Patrick Rogers:
I think it just came natural, from looking at the pencil drawing. It was just a simple “Lady”. It has a more “intimate” feeling to it; I even have my next games planned with similar names, “The Grandfather” and “The Dishwasher”.  This is going to be an ongoing theme with my games, maybe even films when I get funds to work on Documentary films I have planned.

Robin Ek TGG:
I don´t know If It´s just me. But The Lady gives me some pretty strong Cyber/Steampunk vibes. But from what I've learned. The Lady takes place In a  surrealistic environment right?

So am I totally off here, or are there some Cyberpunk and Steampunk vibes to The Lady?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
I’ve never been into cyber/steampunk. I do enjoy some anime and other types of animation but never been much of a steampunk fan. I have always been into environment art, things that are more realistic and gritty looking. I made the environments in the game with textures from local buildings, taken on my cell phone. 

I knew it had to look abrasive; I did not want the game to look like everything else that is out there right now. I like pixel art games, but I’m a little burned out on all of these indie games that look exactly the same, like they are all made with the same generic art assets. I wanted The Lady to be more organic.

Robin Ek TGG:
Have The Lady been inspired by any books or movies? If so, which ones?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
I actually hate to read, I do like some comic books though.The story is inspired by a lot of my own personal experiences over the last 2-3 years.

A lot of my music and art style is highly inspired by films made by Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch.

the lady ghost
The Lady ain't exactly your ordinary adventure game If I say so.

Robin Ek TGG:
If I’m not totally wrong now. You are also the person behind the soundtrack for The Lady right? If so, how did you come up with such an abrasive and atmospheric soundtrack? Because the music really sounds like something that would be used for a bad fever dream/nightmare or something like that.

Michael Patrick Rogers:
That’s always been my music style. I’ve been making instrumental/noise music since the mid 90’s. All of my old recordings are perfect examples can be found on my Bandcamp here:


The soundtrack to The Lady is actually not going to have any melodies or recognizable notes/instruments as of right now. It will be very similar to the Eraserhead Soundtrack but more evolved and abrasive, or “noise core”.

Robin Ek TGG:
I actually have an off-topic question for you. I just have to ask this. Because I noticed that you wore a Beavis and Butthead T-shirt on your soundcloud profile picture. So, are you a big fan of the show?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
Yes, huge Beavis and Butthead fan, anything from MTV back from 1988-1994’ish when it was still MTV. I used to love Aeon Flux, Head Bangers Ball, and stuff like that.

Robin Ek TGG:
How does the Steam Greenlight campaign run along for you? And do you have any plans to do a Kickstarter, or Indiegogo campaign for The Lady?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
We are only on Steam Greenlight under the concept category right now, but I will be transferring it to the Game category after we have some alpha builds.

I plan to run an IndieGoGo campaign in early-mid January. It won’t be a typical campaign where we have a huge goal and do a video of us talking. It will be am more realistic goal, limited reward levels, a trailer, and a play through video of the first section of the game to display gameplay. I also plan to have a link for a free download of the soundtrack on the IndieGoGo page if it is done in time.

the lady ghost face
The artwork for The Lady are pretty creepy, but cool. Don't ya think?

Robin Ek TGG:
I can´t help to wonder what the goal for The Lady Is/are. And what will the players be able to do really?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
Her goal/story is something I want to keep under wraps for the ending of the game. What I can say about what players will be doing, is it can be compared to a dungeon crawler or puzzle game, but the character is never seen from the waist down. The user will be exploring and navigating rooms while figuring out which versions of herself to trust as she encounters them.

Robin Ek TGG:
Is there any particular reason behind the fact that The Lady is a lady? I mean, she could have been a girl, man, boy, animal, well, just about anything really. So why did you make her a lady?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
The character already existed, and it just made sense that her appearance fit the story I wanted to tell at the time. It’s not really about a woman, or a man, there are no male characters in the game.For my first game I wanted to keep it simple, and the simplicity of the appearance of the character really works for that.
The next two games I have concepts for both have male main characters, one of which is an elderly man with no legs, only arms.

Robin Ek TGG:
Will the puzzles play a big role In The Lady? In terms of storytelling, and keeping the players engaged?

Michael Patrick Rogers:
The levels are the puzzle in a way, and there’s no way to make it through the game without solving the puzzles. Most of the time the user will be solving a puzzle and not be aware of it. There are decisions to be made, like which versions of The Lady to trust, which ones not to trust, which route to take, etc.

Robin Ek TGG:
It´s now time for my final question. When will The Lady be released, and to what formats? Also I would like to ask you a personal question. What plans do you have for this Christmas?

Me, I just hope to rest some. And spend time with my family.

Michael Patrick Rogers:
The goal for right now is to release The Lady by August 2014, for PC only. Since this is my first indie game I didn’t want to do multiplatform, to help make development run smoother.  I was very interested in making an OUYA game, but maybe for my next game I can go multiplatform. I think The Lady would be beautiful on tablets, but the timing isn’t right just yet.

I actually don’t celebrate Christmas, when I was a kid my family did more holiday things, but most of my family is dead or gone now, so Holidays are usually just another day to me. I’ll probably be working or playing games as usual.

Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=196941858&searchtext=the+lady
Dev Blog: http://www.mprart.net/the-lady-dev-blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MPRart
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLadyGame
Website: http://www.mprart.net/the-lady/
Publisher: http://www.mprart.net/
IndieDB: http://www.indiedb.com/games/the-lady

/Robin E
The Gaming Ground
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