«Amber heart: Secrets of Cannaregio» is an exotic hidden object journey into the alternate historical universe where visual spoils of the High Renaissance serve as a background for the merciless witch hunt waged against all those suspected of having inborn supernatural abilities. Labeled fearfully as the “cursed blood” by their less advanced kin, people of above standard powers are exiled to the city of Cannaregio. It is closed town to which the main character arrives. Here, he will plunge into the mysteries of his past and decide whether to stay in a familiar world, lying under the sun, or go to the hidden underground catacombs, the depths of which rage with almost tangible foreboding of something momentous. Cannaregio is pretending to be an ordinary human city, but mysteries and dangers lurk at every turn. You'll have to reach the most distant corners of the dungeons and make the most unexpected acquaintances to unravel the tangle of mysteries and get out of confinement.
  • Unique game mechanic allowing a player to draw magic symbols to various effects right on the screen.
  • Searching for hidden items, collecting rare artifacts, solving numerous puzzles and bringing the whole arsenal of magic spells to bear against monsters: this game is packed with action.
  • An opportunity to explore two entirely different dimensions of a single world: the city on the surface and the mysterious catacombs with dozens of breathtaking game scenes.
  • Historical references and pure fantasy interwoven in a single elaborate plotline full of unexpected dramatic turns.
  • 17 unique characters, each one with his or her own goals and motivations can be a player’s friends or foes depending on his or her conduct in words and actions.
  • Unique Mechanism mode provides a thrilling opportunity to resurrect the eldritch mechanisms left by the Ancients.
  • Vibrant atmosphere of Renaissance, sustained by high-quality graphics and authentic sound design.
  • Well-developed social perks: a player can share his or her experience with friends on social networks.
In this world, the wizards called "cursed blood" are no longer burned at the stake, but are banished to a kind of reservation, often built over the abandoned ruins of the ancient civilization. One of such places is the Cannaregio town. Right on the central square there is an excavated entrance to the multi-level catacombs, where science and magic are woven into a bizarre tangle. Only exiles can stay there without harm to their health — ordinary people, who are the inhabitants of Cannaregio and, in retaliation, are called "weak blood", are tabooed from entering the caves. But secret promises of power echoing through the caverns in seductive whispers are too strong and pervasive to push it away, so the Scenters, colleagues to the real historical inquisitors, are in no hurry to make the curse blood completely done with. Now their intention is to utilize the magic-wielding dwellers of Cannaregio as an instrument to discover what is hidden in the ancient catacombs. The game’s main character joins the motley gathering of exiles, each with his or her own unique abilities, goals and personal motives. Some are driven by avarice. Some expect to come across the legendary Wishmaster at the lower levels. Some just do their job in hope of one day deserving an opportunity to retire to an ordinary unadventurous life. And only the main character strives to something greater — to the Amber heart of Cannaregio — and believes that freedom is somewhere near...
Answers by Developers
Ideas to life: the creators of the popular mystery game «The Panic Room: House of Secrets» share first-hand insights into the process of development of their new title «Amber heart: Secrets of Cannaregio».
When did you start to work on «Amber heart»?
The concept of the game was ready for a long time — in fact, in the beginning of 2013. But at the time we had no resources to spare on actually turning the concept into code, for our team was preoccupied with polishing «The Panic Room: House of Secrets». Nevertheless, even as a mere blueprint for the game still to come, «Amber heart» managed to invoke the team’s enthusiasm, by the sheer force of which we were compelled to spend our leisure time on the new project. Who knows, maybe there was some magic at work here? As an outcome of our enthusiastic efforts, all the virtual scenes, half of the user interfaces and the most part of quests and game mechanics had been ready by the winter of 2015, when, at last, we were able to devote more time and resources to «Amber heart».
In which way has your previous experience with «The Panic Room» affected the development of «Amber heart: Secrets of Cannaregio», if at all?
«The Panic Room: House of Secrets» was our debut in hidden object genre and it’s owing to this game that we now can enjoy such undisputable boons as well-coordinated team with perfect understanding of everyone’s responsibilities, tried and tested game mechanics, clearer vision of how HOG must look and work like in order to attract and retain users etc. All this resulted in months of time we would otherwise waste on recognizing latent obstacles peculiar to hidden object genre from the developer’s point of view. With «The Panic Room» we were entering the sea of unknown, but with «Amber heart» we had shallows and riffs already charted on our map.
Why Cannaregio?
Cannaregio is an actual name of the area in contemporary city of Venice, where back in 1516 there was established the first ghetto in history, known as Venetian Ghetto. When we first started to elaborate on the concept of the new game, we agreed upon two “musts”: the player must be introduced to spatially limited environment and the whole action must take place in Renaissance-style setting. So the game fictional city was almost begging to be named after real Cannaregio.
Where and how did you get the ingenious ideas as to the game’s setting and storyline? Were there any competitor conceptions brushed aside in favor of those we can currently recognize in «Amber heart»?
In this case, the game genre itself requires a limited space, reasonable in terms of the plot. For example, like in «The Panic Room». But we really did not want to lock the player in a house again, and we have come up with three options: a space station, a pirate ship, a closed ghetto-town. The last option won during the discussion. Ideas of magic and cursed blood came later, in the process of collective discussions. At first, the world of the new game was planned to be a little more "steampunky" and pseudoscientific, and Cannaregio was just one of many closed towns, but other basic details did not change. In addition, we have introduced an underground city to the game. During this step we were inspired by a mysterious place in the suburbs of Rostov, known as Aksay catacombs. Once we have visited them with colleagues, the experience was just fantastic: a unique underground city, a developed system of passageways and existing legends did their job. When we have returned, we realized that this is the highlight we need for our game, and that it fits perfectly into our mystically-magical conception.
What purposes does drawing of magic signs serve in the game? Do you plan to add more possible applications to this creative game mechanic?
Players can utilize a certain sign to get a hint in searching: all it takes is to draw a pointing arrow. Drawing a star will illuminate a dark game scene. That is basically how the whole sign-thing works. Sign can be instrumental at certain points of the storyline, when you need to mind-read your interlocutor, to drive away a giant rat, to parry your sword fight opponent’s swings or to heal the character’s wounds. Magic sign-drawing is much too interesting and fruitful a feature not to further elaborate upon. As to how exactly we are going to move on with it, let it be one more secret of Cannaregio for now.
New chapters in the storyline, new game modes and features or more entertainment for community? Which path will further development of the game take?
Each one of the areas listed above is important in its own way and none should be ignored. The game plot is barely starting to unfold and the players are yet to find themselves on collision course with the Temple, not to mention that the lower-most levels of catacombs are still unpenetrated by anybody and that we still don’t know an identity of the mysterious figure we met after passing away at the opening part of the game. The work on new rooms, modes and mechanics is already in progress, as well. What pertains the community, it is ingrained in us since the times of «The Panic Room» to pay close attention to what our players have to say.
About us
NIKITA ONLINE was founded in 1991 and became the first game company in Russia. Currently NIKITA ONLINE has offices located in Moscow and Rostov-on-Don and operates more than 25 projects on local and global markets. Through the course of its history the company has released more than 200 titles of different types and genres. Currently NIKITA ONLINE is expanding its presence on the market of games for social networks and mobile applications. The first steps in this direction have already been appreciated by both Russian and foreign users.
The number of people registered in the projects of the company exceeds 24.3 million. All the games are presented on one of the biggest Russian entertainment portals — GameXP social platform, providing convenient services for registration, authorization and communication to its users.
Learn more about the company on the website www.nikitaonline.ru.
Contact us
If «Amber heart: Secrets of Cannaregio» picked your interest but this press kit fell short to provide you with comprehensive information or if you would like to communicate with the men behind the game directly, please don’t hesitate to contact us!