The Very Best Of RPS 2013: Interviews

By RPS on December 30th, 2013 at 1:40 pm.

As 2013 draws to a conclusion, tying up loose ends, saying goodbye to former companions, before dying and regenerating into a whole new year (which will it be? we still don’t know), it seems an apposite time to look back at some of RPS’s highlights over the last 52 weeks. In this first batch of narcissistic nostalgia, we remember some of the best interviews.

One of the earliest interviews of 2013 was Alec’s experimental exploration of the interview process, in speaking to BioShock honcho Ken Levine. Breaking down the situation, and letting his interview paranoia run rampant, it became as much an interview of Alec as it did Levine, and was all the more fascinating for it. Part one is here, and part two is here.

The best interviews plunder the minds of developers and reveal their unique perspectives. Which is why Alec’s interviews with The Castle Doctrine creator Jason Rohrer are the best. In part one they discuss the creepy-deepy nature of the game itself, and in part two they go deeper into the nature of game authorship, and indeed, Far Cry 3.

Oh yes indeed, the Cara Vs 3 Crysis interview. The piece containing one of the greatest lines ever to have appeared on RPS:

“I don’t hate PCs!” he says, and bless him, I really like him, but he has no idea who has the wheel now.

The arc games take is never entirely predictable. Games that get little pre-release attention can stun and delight us, while those we might pounce upon with glee can eventually hugely disappoint. A clear example of the latter would be Space Hulk. By the time it was out you could smell our disappointment from over there, but back in March the prospect of the new game was thrilling. Alec spoke to Thomas Hentschel Lund, boss of the team behind it, about what was supposed to have been.

In March, Cara Ellison spoke to Rhianna Pratchett about the writing of Tomb Raider. And so much else. And most of all, pea soup. This is truly wonderful interview, and we believe the only one that goes deep on what type of tea would best define Lara Croft.

At the beginning of 2013 we were ludicrously excited about the prospect of HARDWARE: Shipbreakers – a Homeworld-style game from the creators of Homeworld. Now we couldn’t care less about stupid old HARDWARE. Because due to the magic of Gearbox, it’s now Homeworld: Shipbreakers, and we’re ludicrously excited about that instead. Before that deal was struck, Jim took a firm hold of Rob Cunningham and demanded he tell him why he should be this excited.

Before Gone Home was a big thing, the project was intriguing us. We’d had our hands on some very early code, where just a couple of rooms were available, and were absolutely dying to play some more. Jim spoke to project lead Steve Gaynor to find out more about the process of its creation, and the inherent weirdness of making a game that wasn’t weird.

The tale of Skulls Of The Shogun and its ill-advised Windows 8/XBLA exclusivity is a sad one. Alec spoke to Borut Pfeifer to hear an incredibly frank account of why it all went so wrong, revealing quite what an internal mess exists at Microsoft Studios. The wing of the multi-billion dollar company that couldn’t even pay an indie studio on time.

Jeff Vogel released his seven billionth game in 2013 – Avadon 2. After some phenomenal success with a Humble Weekly Sale, John caught up with the one-man game-making machine to see how $150,000 was going to change his life, and whether it might change his games.

Those Humble Bundle guys have had a decent enough year, we guess. What with pulling in more money than God. John caught up with them in August to find out what it’s like to be quite so successful. This was in the context of the incredibly successful all-for-charity EA bundle, which had raised $8.5m at the time of writing.

In quite the exclusive, Craig Pearson managed to secure an interview with none other than Craig Pearson, to ask him about why Trespasser’s 1998 demo had such a strong influence on his life. And why he looked down quite so much.

Adventure hero Dave Gilbert decided to do a rather nice thing on Halloween. He thought he’d give away copies of Blackwell Deception via Steam. A free copy to everyone who wanted one! What could go wrong? People. People could go wrong. Speaking to Adam, Gilbert explained how nefarious types began exploiting this generous gesture into something that got rather out of control.

In the early years of RPS, we were accused of perhaps not demonstrating enough knowledge of Britain’s most dreary sport, soccer-to-ball. While Kieron liked to pretend he knew about it, perhaps saying “Yes, but Hoddle would have tucked the ball down deeper,” despite everyone else talking about sandwiches, none of us did. And then along came Adam, from Manchester. Not knowing about football in Manchester is a hanging offence, so desperate to prevent the Inspectors from calling in on him and discovering his baseball paraphernalia, he began mentioning the kicking-based activity on our website. A more recent example of this came in November, when Adam spoke to Sports Interactive about power-point-simulator Football Manager.

Toward the end of the year, as the gaming world stared in delighted confusion at the announcement of No Man’s Sky, questions burst forth from its collective mouth. Fortunately, we already had lots of answers, as Graham had spent the day with Hello Games just a few days earlier.

, , .

64 Comments »

  1. Senethro says:

    It still amazes me how many people didn’t understand why soup was funny.

    Hope the next years interviews are as good.

  2. LionsPhil says:

    which will it be? we still don’t know

    I think it’s going to be 1880. I…I just have a feeling, OK.

    Also that Cara interview is simultaneously terribly unprofessional and yet also quite entertaining when the producer started to play along.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      That would be nice, but what a twist it would be to regenerate into an earlier year than 1873. “PC gaming since 1873 and the dangerous and wrong metacrisis of 1528.” Perhaps a little unwieldy for the site slogan though. And there’d probably just be a big reset in December to make everything normal again anyway.

    • The Random One says:

      “Terribly unprofessional and yet also quite entertaining” is probably what’s written on Cara’s business cards.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      I feel like Craig Pearson’s WAR GLAND interview was just as good if not better, and Brendan Caldwell’s TANKS interview was my favourite ‘unprofessional’ interview. So I’m not the only person who does this silly shenanigan, you know. I am much less of a renegade than you think.

      BY THE WAY, Twitter user @ItsHumanity made me an illustrated version of the Crysis interview: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bcus724CQAAmplV.png

    • Shooop says:

      I’m still amazed at how she went from that abysmal Sim City preview to one of the funniest things anyone has ever said to someone else and then wrote about on a video game website. She made me a believer with that interview.

  3. kwyjibo says:

    My favorite interviews this year have been from Dead End Thrills.

  4. WinTurkey says:

    I liked the interview with the Blizzard MOBA devs the most (Heroes of the Storm?)

    • Premium User Badge

      Dare_Wreck says:

      Yeah, that was a good one. Why were none of Nathan’s myriad of interviews listed here? He had a couple of good ones this past year too. Another good one was the one he did with the Obsidian CEO.

      • John Walker says:

        Most likely because the mop-haired idiot doesn’t remember to add the “interview” tag to his posts.

        • HadToLogin says:

          Guess that just show they aren’t THAT good, since you needed to see them to recall them…

        • Premium User Badge

          Anthile says:

          I also noticed that none of the entries in the advent calendar seem to have tags for their respective games.

          • kyrieee says:

            That’s probably intentional to make you click the article.

          • John Walker says:

            That’s on purpose, or the surprise would be rather given away.

          • iucounu says:

            Please would you add the tags, when you get a minute, now that the presents have all been unwrapped? If it’s not too much trouble.

        • Nathan Grayson says:

          In penance, I have elected to hurl myself into the Shame Pit. On the upside, it’s actually rather comfortable down here, and these floggings absolutely live up to their award-winning reputation.

          • Meat Circus says:

            It’s not acceptable to hurl yourself into the Shame Pit until you have received a For Shame or a What A Shame.

            I don’t make the rules.

          • The Random One says:

            So that’s where you were. Perhaps if you have tagged yourself as shameful I’d have found you earlier.

          • Premium User Badge

            Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            You’re in the wrong Shame Pit. You need to move two Pits over, to the one into which we fling all the spent “What a shame” comments.

      • Orija says:

        Also liked the one he had about Cyberpunk with CD Projekt.

        • Megakoresh says:

          Really? Looked very hazy to me. I mean games this early on aren’t very exciting when it comes to interviews. I have all my best wishes for CDPR with this and by Mitharu’s name, I will probably pre-order it against my own principles, but it’s not really a good idea to read interviews at this early stage. As there probably isnt a good reason to give them so early. I guess I could say it’s good they work with Pondsmith on this, but then, then game is maybe less than 10% done so who knows how large of a role he will really have (is it even positive if his role is large?).

          • Orija says:

            It’s the CDP folks’ replies that I enjoyed, Grayson was of course at this prudish best.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DantronLesotho says:

    I especially liked the Chris Hecker interview where he interviewed himself.

  6. communisthamster says:

    My personal favourite was Robert Yang’s Level With Me interview with Alex Austin, if only because I’m a huge crypticsea fan and there was some new A New Zero information in there.

  7. DanMan says:

    soccer-to-ball? What madness is this?

  8. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    Still not reading an interview by a journalist that has a picture of the intervierwer with “funny paint art” as the title image.

  9. Person of Interest says:

    If you made me pick my favorite genre of RPS content, it would be the interview. On other gaming news sites interviews often read like PR plants, so I appreciate the thoughtful questions your writers ask.

    My very favorite interviews were in the Level With Me and Dead End Thrills series. I hope I get to read more episodic interviews on RPS next year!

  10. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    My favourites this year are Adam’s interview with Failbetter Games and Graham’s with Mark Johnson, the maker of Ultima Ratio Regum.

  11. CookPassBabtridge says:

    That Ken Levine interview was like an early draft of an Alan Partridge episode. All it lacked was Alec lapsing into a shame-induced dissociative fugue state and hallucinating himself lap-dancing in a pointy bra.

    BLUE NUN

  12. Megakoresh says:

    Oh god, Cara vs Crysis 3 dev was the most cruel and hilarious thing I ever saw on this site. Stendarr’s mercy, I felt so bad for that guy.

    Also remember the Hardware interview. That game has me really hooked up ever since I read it. Been too long without an exciting strategy like that.

  13. danijami23 says:

    RPS consistently has a go at people about sexualizing women for no reason.

    posts tits and dinosaurs.

    Brilliant.

  14. InternetNiceGuy says:

    As someone who botched not one but two interviews recently I found Alec’s painful re-visiting of his encounter with Levine splendid. Great stuff!

  15. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    What 70s BBC interview show puppet disaster is that at the top?

  16. Premium User Badge

    lowprices says:

    It’s been too long since I read the Cara vs. Crytek interview. I feel like I should print it out so whenever I feel down I can read it, remember that Cara got a game dev to admit he practices BDSM with his pc, and be immensely cheered up.

  17. RPSRSVP says:

    First image made me do a double take, at first I thought what does David Duchovny have to do with Bioshock

  18. hilltop says:

    I must say the absence of Nathan’s interviews is disappointing, interview tag or not. His pieces were consistently my favourites.

    I think the only ones mentioned that I did not enjoy were the “experimental” Alec / Levine encounters. Would it be possible to feature a plain vanilla interview in parallel with the experimental ramblings in future? I don’t mean to imply it was without value and obviously RPS will do as it pleases but it was a very frustrating read if one was simply after Levine’s answers to RPS’ questions.

    • Dave Tosser says:

      If you want a simple Q&A then you’re on the wrong site.

      • hilltop says:

        You are well named. I know the site very well thank you.

        Would be difficult to find Levine’s answers to RPS’ questions on another site. And RPS does plenty of Q and A. You should stop talking out of your hat.

        • Premium User Badge

          AndrewC says:

          If you want a simple Q&A, you are on the wrong site.

          • hilltop says:

            Bit rude, no? Could I have permission to dislike something RPS posted and make a mildly negative post expressing myself to that effect while still praising them in another sentence?

            EDIT: I should have said “meandering” in place of “rambling”, which has a more negative connotation, I think. And on re-reading Alec’s piece I can see how the usual Q&A style would not have been particularly illuminating given the misunderstandings on the day. Certainly it was an interesting read and re-read. I think the window into how insecure Alec seemed in the exchange was just a little off-putting, colouring the article negatively for me. Mea culpa, perhaps.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Mr Coot says:

    I’m disappointed not to see the interview with Eve’s resident economist among 2013 finest. IMO, it was one of the most clever, subtle and funny expository interviews I have ever read.
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/05/03/eve-fanfest-2013-the-invisible-hand-of-eve-online/
    (Not sure of the interviewers status re: RPS staffing, but it was a top read!)

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Dude hates inflation. I mean, c’mon, it’s not like savings are worth shit these days anyway, what with interest rates being garbage.

  20. bradcwebb says:

    I am making a good salary from home $5500-$7000/week , which is amazing, under a year ago I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone, Here is I started….http://www.dub30.com