This Volition Documentary Is De(s)cent

By Quintin Smith on April 3rd, 2011 at 6:24 pm.

Willard Christopher Smith, Jr, there. No, really.

Game Informer have put up an hour long documentary on the history of Volition, the US developers that got their start making Descent, and then went on to make Freespace 1 & 2, Red Faction and its sequels, and most recently the Saints Row games. It’s always nice hearing the stories behind big games like those, and Game Informer were smart enough to insert every cringeworthy 90s TV advert for them that they could find. Plus there’s some time spent talking about a cancelled game called Underground, which was going to be a heist game set in London, and you get a Fresh Prince era Will Smith at a games expo talking about how Descent feels just like a movie. Go watch!

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53 Comments »

  1. Miker says:

    In West Philadelphia, born and raised…

    (come on RPS, I have faith!)

    • Navagon says:

      On the playground where I spent most of my days.

    • Nick says:

      Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool

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      Lambchops says:

      Chlling out, maxing, relaxing all cool

    • Daz says:

      Shootin’ some B-ball out behind the school

    • Vague-rant says:

      When a couple of guys, They were up to no good,

    • Navagon says:

      Startin making trouble in my neighborhood.

    • D3xter says:

      I got in one little fight and my mom got scared

    • Dodoman says:

      And she said you’re moving with your aunty and uncle in Bel-Air

    • Memph says:

      I whistled for a cab and when it came near

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      Harlander says:

      The license plate said “Fresh” and it had dice in the mirror

    • BAReFOOt says:

      The driver turned around and said:
      The combo breaker’s here. You mad?

    • Rei Onryou says:

      if anything I could say that BAReFOOt is rare

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      Harlander says:

      but I thought “Man, forget him. Yo, homes, to Bel-Air!”

    • Recidivist says:

      Now this is a story, all about how
      my life got flipped, turned upside-down,
      And I’d like to take a minute,
      So just sit right there,
      I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-Air

      In West Philadelphia, born and raised,
      On the playground is where Ii spent most of my days
      Chillin out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool,
      And all shootin some b-ball outside of the school
      When a couple of guys, who were up to no good,
      Started makin’ trouble in my neighborhood,
      I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
      She said ‘You’re movin with your auntie and uncle in Bel-Air!’

      I begged and pleeded with day after day
      But she packed my suitcase and sent me on my way
      She gave me a kiss
      And then she gave me my ticket
      I put my Walkman on and said ‘Might as well kick it!’

      First class
      Yo this is bad
      Drinkin orange juice out of a champaine glass
      Is this what the people in Bel-Air livin like?
      Hmm…this might be alright

      But wait I hear the prissy,
      Bushwa and all that
      Is this the kind of place that they just send this cool cat?
      i don’t think so
      I’ll see when I get there
      I hope they’re prepared
      for the Prince of Bel-Air!

      Well I,
      The plane landed and when I came out
      There was a dude,looked like a cop,
      standin there with my name out
      I ain’t tryin to get arrested yet
      I just got here
      I sprang with the quickness
      and like lightening dissappeared

      I whistled for a cab and when it came near
      The license plate said ‘Fresh’
      And had dice in the mirror
      If anything I could say that this cab was rare
      But I thought ‘Nah, forget it – Yo, home to Bel-Air!’

      I pulled up to a house about seven or eight,
      I yelled to the cabbie ‘Yo home, smell ya later!’
      I looked at my kingdom,
      I was finally there!
      To sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air!

    • Miker says:

      The cycle is now complete. Handshakes all around.

    • Matt says:

      It’s bourgeois, not “Bushwa.” Get it right, proletarian!

    • cw8 says:

      It will only be complete when Uncle Phil throws Jazz out of the house.

    • MajorManiac says:

      *clears throat*

  2. frenz0rz says:

    Ooh, I’ll give this a watch tonight,

  3. CyberBrent says:

    Kind of convenient that this turns up considering I just recently bought and have been playing Freespace 1 and 2.

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    Lambchops says:

    Also 360 > 0! Who’d have thunk it!

    Watched the little section on Freesapce 1 and 2 as those are the Volition game’s I have fondest memories of (Red Faction was alright, haven’t got round to Guerilla yet despite buying it in a sale).

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Yeah, I like the lengths that advert goes to avoid saying “Better than Doom!” plainly

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      My favourite thing from this whole documentary was the term GROUND POUNDER. And with how much disgust that guy managed to say it. Fantastic.

  5. D3xter says:

    I want another Descent :/

    • Vinraith says:

      Me too. Corridors are so much more fun when I’m flying down them at unreasonable speeds.

    • nullward says:

      Same here. It really is a unique experience, navigating in 3D/zero-g. I always liked that I was one of the few people I knew that could play the game without getting motion sickness.

    • Matt says:

      Plus it had portal-connected zones back in 1995! That blew my mind.

    • Fumarole says:

      This may scratch that itch.

    • Gabe McGrath says:

      The ‘alien mountain’ level of Crysis 1 was very ‘Descent-esque’. :-)

    • killmachine says:

      maybe you should give shattered horizon a try. its not very expensive and updated from time to time. its also full 3d, 0 gravity. eats a lot of hardware though.

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    Henke says:

    Rodney Dangerfield don’t get no respect from those spacealiens. :tsktsk:

  7. vodka and cookies says:

    Watched this when it came out, amazing to think Volition has been around 18 years, god damn that’s a long time in this industry, it’s nice to see Volition get a little recognition. Underground looked way ahead of it’s time almost like Splinter Cell in action.

    They actually said separately before this came out 2-3 weeks ago that they would love to do another Freespace but of course it’s not up to them.

    The dreaded Interplay still hold onto the licenses for Freespace, worse former Titus studio owners are the people running Interplay these days and they are the kind of guys who will hold anything hostage for ridiculous money.

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      Lambchops says:

      i’d also strongly fear that it would end up getting called Fr33space Thr33.

    • Orvidos says:

      No, do-. . .Now that’s on the internet, Lambchops. You realize what you have wrought, yes? I will now go sob into a pillow.

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      Henke says:

      Oh god yes. I wanna play that Underground thing! >:U

  8. Phinor says:

    Freespace 2 was such a good game (in my top 10) especially compared to anything they’ve made in the past 8 or so years. I wish Volition could go back to their roots AND still have good sales from console versions.

    Anyway, thanks for the link to the documentary. Probably would have missed it otherwise.

  9. Rath says:

    That a Fresh Prince reunion show is on the cards pleases me.

    • Matt says:

      In west Hidden Hills, born and raised, in the Scientology center is where I spent most of my days…

    • Quintin Smith says:

      The guy who played Geoffrey (the butler) lives somewhere around here, in West London. He got on the same bus as my girlfriend a couple of months back. No word of a lie.

  10. Jockie says:

    Good watch, reminded me I have an as yet unplayed copy of Freespace 2 sat on my gog account from a sale a while back.

  11. Verb4tim says:

    Freespace 3, Make it happen!

  12. MadMinstrel says:

    Ah, Volition, my favorite developer ever. Descent, Freespace, Red Faction, Saints Row – I love all of them, which is strange considering they are all different genres and I’m not really a fan of shooters. I just wish making another Freespace wasn’t equivalent to signing their closure papers. Oh well. The new Red Faction looks promising.

    • The Army of None says:

      Yea, I’m with you. Weirdly, I never had linked together all of these games to one developer. Now that I know that it was the same chaps behind them all, I sorta thought to my self “oh… Well, yes, yes indeed, Volition IS amazing!”

  13. Juiceman says:

    I think Descent came free on my family’s first computer. I can remember playing that game for hours as a little kid. Likewise with Red Faction. It was always fun to see just how far you could tunnel somewhere, and of course whether or not you could manage to get back out.

  14. cjlr says:

    Sweet Jesus I love Descent.

    You know what’s not fun? Trying to get IPX functionality over a DOS emulator to play Descent at a campus LAN party.

    You know what IS fun? When it finally works. All worth it.

    And obviously Freespace was wonderful. Red Faction and Saint’s Row I’m not nearly as keen on, but of course I still quite like both.

  15. Jason Moyer says:

    The videos on Parallax are awesome. Also, I didn’t realize the company that did the PC port of Red Faction: Guerilla is run by one of Parallax’s co-founders. That’s kind of neat.

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    QuantaCat says:

    He says in one of the videos that “lots of destructing in a corridor shooter doesnt make sense”, meaning there is still hope for red faction 4.

  17. felisc says:

    I wonder if those interviews took place at 7am on a monday, they sure talk at a slow lazy pace. zzzz.