Posts Tagged ‘interview’

How To Remake Dungeon Keeper

War for the Overworld [official site] creative director Josh Bishop uses the word ‘ridiculous’ quite a bit. It’s understandable. The 22-year-old is on the verge of releasing what is intended to be the first faithful follow-up to beloved strategy/management/Imp-slapping title Dungeon Keeper in 16 years. He leads a studio which has reached as many as 20 members, he’s received £200,000 in Kickstarter pledges, he’s had Peter Molyneux’s blessing and an implicit agreement that rightsholder EA would look the other way, he’s got original narrator Richard Ridings onboard and tomorrow, all being well, it all comes to fruition. “It’s ridiculous.”
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Bad Medicine, Good Money: Hands-On With Big Pharma

I’ve never much thought about what goes into the little white tablet I swallow when I’m hungover, have the sniffles or another bout of Geek’s Disease.* It’s just chalky magic, right? Well, no: it’s the result of millions of dollars, aggressive R&D, production facilities of breathtaking size and precision, ruthless marketeering and impossibly sinister downplaying and mitigation of side effects. While medicine-themed management game Big Pharma doesn’t go for pharmaceutical industry’s jugular, Goldacre-style, its pills-as-merciless-industry approach is certainly a welcome change from the bland, smiling, comfortable faces that advertising tells us medicine are all about.
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Interview: David Braben On Fan Anger And Expectations

Actual size.

Elite: Dangerous [official site] is that rare thing: a Kickstarter-funded game that came out when its developers said that it would. Less rare is the response it inspired when it turned out that the planned offline mode had been scrapped, leaving a game that required an internet connection and backers struggling to receive refunds.

Despite this, the game has considerable merits. I spoke to David Braben at GDC 2015 about whether player’s anger is fair, whether the tone of responses has changed over the course of his career, and whether Elite is designed for those who play for five hours or a thousand.

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Interview: Offworld Trading Company

Offworld Trading Company [official site] is a competitive, multiplayer RTS set on Mars, but instead of fighting with lasers, players compete to dominate a fluctuating commodities market. The winner is the person who buys low, sells high and uses their gains to launch hostile takeovers of their opponent’s companies.

At GDC, I spoke to designer Soren Johnson (formerly of Civilization IV) and artist Dorian Newcomb (formerly of Civilization V) about Early Access, how player’s had surprised them in the months since its initial release, why they wish the game was hidden on Steam, and what small companies can do that big .

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Hands-On With Mike Bithell’s Volume

that is not camouflage, sir

“It will probably be the only time in my life when I have no responsibilities, didn’t owe anyone any money, didn’t have staff that I had to worry about. Absolute freedom to do what I want. I wasn’t going to use that to make a sequel to a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer.”

I’ve asked Volume lead Mike Bithell if he’s been worried about over-reaching himself. 2012’s Thomas Was Alone was one of several break-out indie hits around that time – a era of Steam that many of today’s PC developers are increasingly worried they’ve missed the boat on – but it was a simple game.

It was, as the man says, a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer, and it blew up because it was charming and funny, effectively anthropomorphising the textureless, two-dimensional rectangles it starred thanks to well-judged narration and very human writing. Volume, by contrast, is a full-on, 3D stealth game which will ship with around 100 levels, features an array of tricsky sci-fi items, has a full level editor and has hired Andy Serkis to voice its lead villain. Conceptually, it’s a huge leap.

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Gearbox On Remastering Homeworld, Mods & Multiplayer

Just before I got hold of some early code for Gearbox’s upcoming remastering of unbelievably beloved space RTS Homeworld (which I made some stupidly oversized and stupidly pretty screenshots and video of yesterday), I had a chat with the studio’s Chief Creative Officer Brian Martell, plus Community Manager Chris Faylor about the new version of Relic’s game. Why do this rather than make their own space RTS? How was melding Homeworld 1 and Homeworld 2’s multipalyer going to work? What about mod support, past and future? And did they feel having something as respected as Homeworld in their stable would help with Gearbox’s… chequered reputation?
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Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more”

When Peter Molyneux agreed to speak to me, I knew the interview was going to be tense. I knew that an article we’d posted on Monday, asking what was going on with the development of Godus, had kicked up an enormous storm for 22cans and its boss, with the rest of the gaming press picking up and running with it. So I assumed, when he agreed to chat, he knew that it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride. I wanted to get to the root of so much that now seems to form the reputation of the developer, the outlandish promises that so often aren’t kept, the ridiculous time-frames claimed, and the often disappointing or lacklustre results. I especially wanted to do this now that the people funding such things aren’t deep-pocketed publishers, but the players themselves. I wasn’t expecting it to take us in the direction of Molyneux’s declaring that I was “driving him out of the games industry”.

We spoke on the phone on Wednesday evening, Molyneux speaking from the Guildford offices of his studio, 22cans. Sounding stressed, but composed, Molyneux asked how I’d like to begin, whether I had questions, or should I just let him talk. I told him I had questions, many questions, and so we began.

RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?

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Beyond Looking Glass: Underworld Ascendant Interview

Underworld Ascendant [official site] has some big shoes to fill. Big shoes of Nostalgia +8. As a continuation of the Ultima Underworld series, with a team led by Looking Glass veteran Paul Neurath, Ascendant is picking up where the immersive first-person RPG left off a couple of decades ago. The game is currently well on its way to a $600,000 Kickstarter target and I spoke to Neurath about the project, and how it’s possible to move forward while looking to the past.

“This isn’t Looking Glass 2.0,” he says, even though Looking Glass 2.0 seems like a hell of a good thing to be. “We’re not just looking back and trying to recreate something from the past. We’re hoping to be part of the future.”

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Harebrained Schemes On The Future Of Shadowrun

Last week I ran the first half of an interview with three-time Kickstarter winners Harebrained Schemes, in which they fielded my own questions about their upcoming cyberpunk-with-magic RPG sequel Shadowrun: Hong Kong. This time, they’re fielding your questions – including what they’ve got planned for the future of the series, cyberpunk’s Asian influences, how the stories are becoming increasingly less linear, avoiding Eastern stereotypes with the new setting, and improving the game’s pace.

Oh, and at the time writing the Shadowrun Hong Kong Kickstarter has now brought in $750,000. They’d asked for $100,000. They’ve now unlocked 12 stretch goals, and promise an additional mini-campaign if they hit $1 million. There are still 19 days to go. *blinks*.
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Freeware Garden: Sluggish Morss: Ad Infinitum

Sluggish Morss: Ad Infinitum, Jack King Spooner’s latest interactive short story is, as one would expect it to be, a fantastic short collage of sounds, ideas, graphics, clay models, glitches, worlds, little jokes and images all wrapped up in a demented and clever little thing. It’s a vignette I really wouldn’t know how to properly describe without spoiling and so something you really have to play.

Preferably before reading the interview with Jack King Spooner that follows.

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