Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta - Episode 1 - Gold Edition

Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta - Episode 1 - Gold Edition

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Semaphore  [developer] Jan 3, 2014 @ 4:34pm
Please read this first: Clarifications from the Developer
Hello Everyone,

Thank you very much for taking the time to check out Unearthed. My name is Ahmad Jadallah and I am the Director of Development at Semaphore and the Writer and Director of Unearthed.

Having looked at the different threads so far I feel I should clarify some important aspects:

- We released Unearthed Episode 1 on PS3 and iOS back in May, 2013. Since then we got a lot of reviews about the game and feedback from actual players. It is no secret that there were a lot of negative opinions about the game, and so we took all that feedback on board and started addressing these issues. The game that we released on Steam today is the Gold Edition of the game which contains over 120 fixes based on the feedback across all gameplay systems. Therefore, all of the gameplay videos, opinions, metacritic scores (which is based on six reviews only by the way and from European press only as the game was not released in the American PSN) are relating to the old form of the game. I would ask you to please give us a chance with this new Gold Edition because it really is more than just an update. We will be providing LOTS of websites with Steam Review codes. If you believe that critic reviews are such a major factor for you then please give us the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what they have to say. We won't disappoint you this time ;)

- Regarding Dania's role and appearance in our game "The hero's sister/sidekick" we are aiming to provide a non-stereotypical portrayal of female characters in games. Dania is a smart dependable woman who plays an active role in the story. Other games strive to deliver this aspect through more revealing clothing rather than actual character traits like it should be. We want to change that, it is not an easy task but we will work on it.

In our opinion, Extremism on both ends for any topic is bad. Islam actually heavily encourages taking the middle approach to any topic despite what a minority of people may portray (Unfortunately, those minorities are often taken by some media outlets and magnified and represented as the norm).

- Episode 1 was created using the Unity Engine, which was a great experience and allowed us to create the first story driven "console/Multi-platform" game from the Middle East since the days of the Atari 2600. Yes, we are over 30 years late and we are playing catch up. Episode 1 was our first step and we intend to take things to the next level with episode 2 which will be using the Unreal Engine and targeting PS4, Xbox One, PC, Mac and Linux (For Steam OS, Yay!). This time we are much wiser and we will be working hard on differentiating the game further from other titles such as Tomb Raider and Uncharted and actually attempt to carve our own unique spin on the genre. I can't reveal much at this point but rest assured that we are die-hard fans of the Uncharted series and we would never allow it to be portrayed in any negative light.

We consider Unearthed to be the ultimate form of Fanboyism where you take something you love and try to adapt it to your own culture. Unearthed features an original story with locations that were never visited in the Uncharted series, has an episodic structure and is on a wide variety of platforms. The aim is not to compete with Uncharted or Tomb Raider, those are multi-million dollar productions with huge experienced teams that date back to the PS1 era. But we want to present a quality episodic, downloadable adventure with good production values.

So what did Unearthed Episode 1 achieve so far?
Obviously the success of any product depends on several factors, some of which are sales and review scores of course, but there are other important indicators that are more on an industry level, for example (please check the links below):

Semaphore is now a licensed developer for PS Vita, PS4, Wii U and others.
There is a great value in establishing relationships with these big players in the industry and the fruition of this will become obvious in our future products (not just Episode 2 of Unearthed but also a brand new game with an original concept that we are working on currently, codenamed #Project_S.

Despite all the setbacks, this is something that has never happened in the region before and we thank everyone who believed in us and voted us through Greenlight.

Once again, thank you for your time and I hope you will find it within your heart to look at the game in a different perspective, the way it was always meant to, which is kickstarting the game development industry in the Middle East.

As always, we welcome all constructive criticism and feedback relating to the game, and believe me we do listen and do our best to implement whenever suitable for the game. But as any company in our situation would do, we will not tolerate foul or racial language of any kind.

Warm regards from Saudi Arabia and keep on gaming :)

Ahmad Jadallah (Twitter:@AhmadJadallah)
Director of Development
Last edited by Semaphore; Jan 22, 2014 @ 6:43am
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Showing 1-15 of 123 comments
iLikeSheep Jan 3, 2014 @ 5:04pm 
Why are you switching engines from Episode 1 to 2?
Overkill Jan 3, 2014 @ 5:18pm 
Here a constructive opinion,if you're going to make something,at least try to be original
solamon77 Jan 3, 2014 @ 5:52pm 
Thank you for coming on here to explain all this. I'll give your game a go once I get a bit more money in my steam account.
General Plastro Jan 3, 2014 @ 6:09pm 
Holy♥♥♥♥♥♥ a developer being honest about the criticism he received, kudos to you, mate.

I havent tried out the game yet, so i cant say your game truly deserves the name of "Uncharted Clone" and all of that. But i will say this: many gamers are very young and inexperienced and think Uncharted invented this genre, when in fact Uncharted itself was considered a Tomb Raider clone when it was first announced (and long before that we had awesome Tomb Raider clones such as Indiana Jones & the Infernal Machine).

Took a quick look at the trailer and it has that awesome "campy" feel, probably gonna get it soon. "Outdated" graphics dont bother me one bit, as long as the narrative is enjoyable i will probably like it :D

Anyway, this post together with the unique setting makes me more interested in this game than Uncharted itself (but i am bias, i always disliked it).

Cheers from brazil.
Last edited by General Plastro; Jan 3, 2014 @ 6:17pm
Zovya Jan 3, 2014 @ 7:49pm 
Don't be afraid to be similar to Tomb Raider or Uncharted. I loved those games and it's why I tried this game.
brdblckthundr Jan 3, 2014 @ 8:44pm 
I honestly don't know why I bother coming in to the forums of a gane before I buy it anymore. The chances of getting an honest review are slim. He||, I would even take a BS review from someone that actually played the game over the hundreds of people that post stuff like "this game is terrible, dont waste your money" and don't even own the game. I was reading through a couple of posts on this board to see the first impressions people have on it, yet all I saw was a bunch of negativity from people that don't even own the game, or owned it on PS3, which is still not the same as owning this game. As they said, whole new features, texture bumps, a crap ton of bug fixes, etc. makes this a very different game than the one that all these people are basing their "reviews" on.
And as for the title, I don't understand why on earth that makes people so upset. It would be like saying that Star Wars was just a blatant ripoff of Star Trek because their names are similar and they are both set in outer space. So I agree with Zovya (who HAS played the game). I don't mind it being compared to Uncharted or Tomb Raider at all, because I love those games. I own every single one of them, which is why I will be adding this title to my collection. If I don't like it, then I don't like it. I have spent far more money on things that are probably much worse than this, so it's really not that big of a deal, all things considered.

Thank you, Ahmad Jadallah. This post really helped my decision on whether or not to buy it. Beyond the fact of whether or not I like it, I hope the game is amazing, just so that all of the haters on the board feel stupid!
Ceige Jan 3, 2014 @ 8:50pm 
Can't say I'll be getting it (this is probably more because I'm not a die hard fan of the genre itself anyway), however, I appreciate the word from the developer and would like to see more games from you in the future. I'll be keeping an eye on future reviews :)
Kerbastrar (Banned) Jan 4, 2014 @ 12:37am 
It's almost like you know what you made is♥♥♥♥♥♥ and that you're using the country of origin as a marketing ploy just to rope in whatever muslim sympathizers are out there.
Last edited by Kerbastrar; Jan 4, 2014 @ 12:39am
JENSURU Jan 4, 2014 @ 2:46am 
yeah yeah it's nice that you are saying this. but please, why the hell unearthed
you could know yourself that that's a giant ripoff and i won't buy your game because it's just bad
to begin with. it's like buying duperman and srek made in china, why would i? give me one reason to buy it
JENSURU Jan 4, 2014 @ 2:52am 
we are so sad, we are from the middle east so we can't do anything -developer of this game

you are actually being a racist to your selve you know that right?
JENSURU Jan 4, 2014 @ 2:53am 
maybe you should hire me to help you for the next game, could bring some differences
Semaphore  [developer] Jan 4, 2014 @ 3:14am 
Originally posted by BANANA!JENS:
we are so sad, we are from the middle east so we can't do anything -developer of this game

you are actually being a racist to your selve you know that right?

I didn't say anything remotely close to this. I am saying, this is our first step, now we are preparing to take the next one and to make a huge improvement on the game.
Ginster Jan 4, 2014 @ 4:32am 
Originally posted by Evil Vyse:
So what do you want, a cookie? To prove that people in theocratic totalitarian states can make games too?

Well good for you. You could at the very least have picked a title that didn't scream that you're trying to confuse people into buying your knockoff game. I'm also not impressed by your manipulation of Greenlight to get this game onto here where I have to acknowledge the fact that it exists at all.

Truly nice start going with "So what do you want, a cookie ?" , no really I was about to take you seriously until you said that , you have outsmartly set the tone .

Its nice to see the dev at least trying to be honest and more social to the fans , I've never seen it before myself and if there was a tim when a dev posted his/her/their own clarafication then sadly my brain doesnt remember it .

But on to your point , hows the title confusing with "Uncharted" ? Comparing them now they don't scream that they are the same , Uncharted =/= Unearthed: Trail of Ibn Battuta - Episode 1.

Unless you are going more deep into that and its not just the name but thats another thing.

Its your own fault that you didn't pay attention to the name of the game before you buy it , I have absolutly no remorse for you if you bought a game only to find out its the wrong one , its those small details that counts .
Last edited by Ginster; Jan 4, 2014 @ 4:56am
Ginster Jan 4, 2014 @ 5:40am 
Originally posted by Evil Vyse:
Originally posted by Ginster:

I stand corrected

I understand where you are coming from with this and even I shouldn't have any sympathy for this kind of talk coming from a developer who is in my home country , at least I give him the benefit of a doubt that its a project that they tried their best at and wanted to take the place of a game that famous in the Middle East , from what I believe maybe they got inspired ... too inspired .

So inspired to the point where they felt that it was the right thing to do to release the game in such state with the tone trying to be a copycat , shame really because if a first project gets big in a studio and it was very unique that no other company or indie devs around the world conjured it then yeah they'd benefit from it .

And about that part that I thought his interaction is unique , well yeah I honestly wasnt thinking while typing this , I own a lot of games and I usually go around a lurker , I could go on and on and name a few so this type of thing is not very "unique "

Take it with a grain of salt , I just wanted to acknowledge these people and so I still am , I do not agree with their actions but at least I'm trying to be specific on some stuff like feedback , they'd benefit from it , they wouldn't benefit of sending an old BBC News 2002 article.

I just wanted to realize their dreams , overall its just sad .
Ginster Jan 4, 2014 @ 5:41am 
Damn the editing D: my text is inside the quotes
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