One of numerous RPS interview victims at GamesCom was Bohemia bossman, Marek Spanel. The smiley Czech was keen to discuss the studio’s success, and to talk his upcoming projects: Arma III, and the Day Z standalone. We also touch on the importance of modding, that Operation Flashpoint was almost something like a post-apocalyptic Carrier Command, and why DirectX 9 can be dispensed with. As for Carrier Command itself, well, I am leaving what he said about that for another article. Read on for the rest.
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Posts Tagged ‘Marek-Spanel’
RPS Feature Arma'd And Dangerous
RPS Feature Bohemia Rhapsody
Last week I had a chance to talk to the Bohemia Interactive bossman, Marek Spanel. As one of the brains behind the original Operation Flashpoint, and then the three Arma games that followed, he is one PC gaming’s most ambitious developers. He’s now embarking on a huge project of developing three games across three studios at the same time: Arma 3, Take On Helicopters, and Carrier Command. I had a chance to talk to him about this bold undertaking.
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I’ve just been transcribing an interview with Marek Spanel, the boss of Bohemia Interactive and one of the most PC-focused developers in Europe, and this came up: “If it were not for digital distribution we would no longer be doing PC games. It’s as simple as this.”
Obvious to us, perhaps, but it’s an interesting measure of where we are now with PC gaming. You might still be able to get a cheap boxed copy from a mail-order outlet, but the chances are you won’t find PC games at all in the shops at all. And as far as PC developers are concerned, digital is all. Retail is over. Which reminds me, I really must write that thing about Steam’s hegemony…
The Spanel interview – containing details about Carrier Command, Arma III, and Take On Helicopters – will appear tomorrow.
And it’s ArmA2. This is fascinating. The situation where a developer keeps the technology and the publisher gets the name is common enough. There’s always obvious competition between the keeper of the flame and the keeper of the name (e.g. Football Manager versus Championship Manager, Far Cry 2 versus Crysis, etc). But Bohemia, in a recent press-release, have made that incredibly explicit. To quote the opening: “Is the upcoming Codemasters game really ‘the much anticipated return of the genre-defining military conflict simulator’ Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis? Is it really ‘the official sequel to the multi-award winning Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis’? Bohemia Interactive says: ‘No! What matters is the game, not the name.'” Seeing Bohemia’s fury at Flashpoint 2 being described by Codemasters as the “return of” or “official sequel to” is without precedent in recent gaming history. Read the whole thing for more. Crikey.
We took the opportunity to chat to Bohemia CEO Marek Spanel about the whole situation…
[Flashpoint has the dual appeal of being simultaneously one of the most realistic takes on the Soldier game the medium has ever seen and the only one where you can engage in the sport of Tractor hunting in an attack chopper. I’ve interviewed Marek and his brother a few times over the years, and they’re one of the more gloriously eccentric and constantly enthusiastic developers I’ve met. Last time I was over there, talking about Armed Assault we had a lengthy discussion about how they were programming Butterflies. They develop incredibly militaristic games and they obsess over butterflies. It’s hard not to love them.]
Before Bohemia released their classic Soldier-Sim, I had a chance to chat to director Marek Spanel about his life growing up as a games devotee in the Czech Republic. He described sneaking their first computer into the country after a trip to Switzerland. And then, realising there was no way to load or save data, jury-rigging cables to perform the task with their tape recorders. And then learning to program games so, finally, they could achieve their objective of playing a game.