Watching Jesse Schell’s DICE2010 presentation about recent trends in game development – which took as its subject matter the unexpected popularity of Facebook’s “social” games and the external reward boom (unlocks, achievements, increased focus on the “score” for gaming generally) – I started to have a think about our Gaming Made Me series. I don’t think there were many mentions in there of “I just got hooked on the points system,” and I wondered if that would be different if we did it again in ten years time, or just with a wider net of people. Moreover, it got me thinking about some of the reasons why some gamers were horrified by the picture Schell painted.
Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Smith’
Gaming archaeology: now there’s an idea. It can only be better than Bonekickers, anyway.
Upon hearing that EA Mythic had received several crateloads full of Origin Systems (the long-dead studio behind the Wing Commander and Ultima games, plus System Shock, and once home to the power duo of Warren Spector and Richard Garriot) archive materials, a group of fans arranged to catalogue the treasure trove. It turned out that EA seems to have hung onto an incredible amount of stuff, making this find perhaps the PC game equivalent of discovering all those fossilised folk in Pompeii. Best of all, there’s a good chance all these historical goodies will be released to the public.
Read the rest of this entry »
Blimey, it’s been a busy day for videogame gossip. And there’s more.
As you probably already heard, Harvey Smith has left Midway a couple of days after his rather ineloquent comments about BlackSite: Area 51. His infamous “so fucked up” speech really did sound like the last thing anyone gets to say when representing a company. And indeed, it was.
After his tribute to Gerald Ratner questions were asked about how likely Smith would be to stay on to develop BlackSite 2. But then the explanation was given that his job had come to an end before the words were uttered.
Not so, say Shacknews, accompanied by an “allegedly”. The site is reporting that he was still on the payroll at the time. According to their source,
A Midway executive allegedly referred to Smith’s talk as “his public resignation.”
Mr Smith, we have a suggestion. We’ve heard rumblings that there’s a new project going on at Eidos Montreal, for a game you might recognise. And come on, Montreal’s far lovelier than Austin. Go on. Goooooo on.
Wired magazine’s blogging wing are running a postmortem of Blacksite: Area 51, which provoked a widespread ‘meh’ response from critics. (Some even went so far as to ‘pff’). The piece is based around a chat with design lead Harvey Smith at the Montreal Games Summit 2007:
The first time Harvey Smith came to Montreal he had just finished his work as lead designer on the acclaimed classic, Deus Ex. On this trip, his last game was Blacksite: Area 51, a game published by Midway which one critic called “a major disappointment.”
“This project was so fucked up,” said Smith, by way of explanation.
[At this point in these postmortem features, I decided to mix it up a little for PC Format. Since they were integrated into the mod-section of the magazine – with the subtext that they were inspirational things for readers thinking about becoming games developers – I thought a look at how a designer got to be a designer could be fun. Luckily, Harvey, who’s previously worked on landmark games including Deus Ex and System Shock, was up for it. The interview was done after the end of Ion Storm Austin, but before he’d joined Midway to work on Blacksite.]
We all look back, in an unholy mix of nostalgia and self-analysis. It’s what this column is all about. This time, however, we’re going to take an alternate route through this terrain. Rather than follow the path of a game, and what went right and wrong, instead we’re going to follow a career. How it started, how it moved on and what was learned at each step. And, indirectly, one of the most common questions that arrive in our inbox: “How do I get into the games industry”. Here’s a case study of how one man did. The man in question? Harvey Smith, who started back in 1993 in Quality Assurance at Origin and continues to this day at Midway.
Read the rest of this entry »
Midway’s Harvey “Deus Ex” Smith has a bit to say about the development of environments and “gameplay ecologies” for his new shooter, Blacksite:
I suspect Blacksite might actually be worth getting moderately excited about. Smith is at the controls, and there’s both Gears Of War jump in/out co-op, Stranglehold’s destructible environments, and some Brothers In Arms squad-control stuff. Area 51 might have been a bit arse, but this looks like it might have some value. Blacksite 2, says Smith, will be even more interesting.