Back in August I visited Cologne, for Gamescom 2010. The first big trade show I’ve ever attended, Gamescom was a blur of appointments, ad-hoc interviews, amazing games and lovely people. It was both a massive priviledge and utterly exhausting.

But the real work didn’t start until I got home. I had to write about it all. By the time I was finished I had knocked out 22 previews, 4 big interviews and a whole bunch of news stories. In total it all came to around 30,000 words.

So, because Collect is for collecting, it’s all going up here. But rather do individual posts for each article, I’m consolidating them. Below you’ll find links to all the interviews I conducted for Gaming Union, along with some flavoursome snippets.

I’ve put the Gaming Union previews and the previews up separately.

Fallout: New Vegas

Josh Sawyer: “One, ignore some people. I mean flat out, there are people that are reasonable and people who are unreasonable.”

Marvel vs Capcom 3

Seth Killian: “Do you want him thrown out of here? He’s done in this business!”

Bioshock Infinite

Timothy Gerritsen: “They took scientific approaches to popularise racism.”

Dead Space 2

Steve Papoutsis: “As far as going away from horror, that is absolutely not what we want to do. We wouldn’t want to do that.”


Codemasters’ Paul Jeal and Steven Hood on F1 2010
October 21, 2010, 11:32 am
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , ,

The grid is full, the engines are roaring and it’s almost time for the lights to go green on F1 2010. Representing Codemasters’ first HD attempt at a Formula One game since they pipped Sony to the license a couple of years ago, F1 2010 has a lot riding on it, with a podium finish required to ensure the racer becomes a champagne-drenched yearly franchise. They clearly have high hopes.

So, with just a few short days before release, we sat down with senior producer Paul Jeal and chief game designer Steven Hood to talk about development, DLC and why F1 2010 will sell more copies than Gran Turismo… on the Xbox 360.

So, you are all done now and preparing to ship the game later this week. Was there anything that didn’t quite make the cut? Anything you had to leave out?

Steven Hood: Always…

Paul Jeal: When we came up with the game design, we came up with what we want as F1 fans to be in the ultimate F1 game. So there’s so much more that we want to expand on, to be honest.

We obviously spent most of our development effort on the driver’s side; the weather, the handling, the A.I, the damage – there’s room for improvement with all of them, but I think the biggest room for improvement is in the Live the Life’ aspect. That was, rightly so, the secondary focus of this one, you have to get the on-track stuff right before you can even consider doing this.

The multiplayer options as well. Not just in terms of ideas that were left on paper. We had to leave things out that were taken on fairly well through the development cycle. There was stuff that we tried to introduce too late into the development cycle that just didn’t work, too many bugs.

It’s always difficult when you’re working on a game, because you’re always mindful of the things that just missed it by a week or two. We haven’t deliberately left anything out, we’ve really, really, tried to squeeze in as much as possible.

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August 9, 2010, 8:22 pm
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With just a few short weeks to go before Halo: Reach hits shelves, Bungie are gearing up to wave goodbye to the series they toiled over for the best part of a decade. They plan on going out in style. We sat down with Bungie’s Community Director Brian Jarrard, and Campaign Designer Niles Sankey in a roundtable interview to find out how they are feeling, what to expect from Reach, and future downloadable content.

You guys have been working on this franchise for a long long time, and this is obviously your swan song – what’s the overriding emotion? Sadness, relief? Its a big thing to carry on your shoulders…

Niles Sankey: I’d say bittersweet, it’s an easy answer but it’s actually true. Obviously it’s really sweet to see the response of fans, and we’re really excited right now to release the game to the public, and just see how they react to everything.

The customization for example – what will they come up with? What are they going to build in Forge? What game modes will they invent? But on the other hand we’re sad to part ways with Halo and hand off the series, but we’re also excited to be moving on to other things.

Campaign wise, how much were you affected by Halo: ODST? A lot of people liked the in-depth emotional single-player experience. Will we be seeing more of that?

Niles Sankey: Yeah, I mean to a extent. Obviously ODST was a different story, and a different way of telling a story as you had a squad of ODSTs that tell the story, and inReach it’s fairly similar – you have a squad of Spartans. The way you play the game is more like Halo’s 1 to 3, to say it’s more of a linear progression of missions but certainly with Noble team we could tell more grounded story, get the story of Noble team during the fall of Reach and the loss and tragedy that they feel.

(Read more at Play.TM)

January 27, 2010, 11:49 pm
Filed under: Features, Interviews | Tags: , , , ,

“We’re so concerned about the minutia that we’ve missed the much more interesting question of ‘how does this game make me feel?’”

Kill Screen is the ambitious new magazine from ex-Wall Street Journal reporter Jamin Brophy-Warren. Launching in January, it’s a project that promises a fresh approach to games journalism. Rejecting the established cycle of news, previews and reviews, Kill Screen aims instead to provide literate, thoughtful pieces on the people, culture and meaning of the medium.

In Brophy-Warren’s own words, “We want to be what early Rolling Stone was to rock n’ roll or Wired was to tech. We want to look like the Fader and walk like the Believer.” It’s an enticing prospect.

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December 14, 2009, 6:19 pm
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Making games is a tricky business, regardless of the size of the studio. UK-based indies Beatnik Games know this all too well. They’ve had a rough couple of years creating Plain Sight, their multiplayer robot-ninja-em-up. It’s a title with a fascinating premise, in which you gain points and power by destroying your enemies, but only bank those points when you destroy yourself and return to your original state.

With such intriguing set-up it would have been terrible if the game had never seen the light of day. Thankfully, after a couple of setbacks Plain Sight is back on track, better than ever and gearing up for release. We dragged producer Robin Lacey away from his booth at the Eurogamer Expo to talk development hell, accessibility and shitting rainbows.

That VideoGame Blog (TVGB): You showed the game at the Eurogamer Expo last year. Tell us a little about the game’s journey since then.

Robin Lacey (RL): Well last year was pretty much an Alpha build, it was just the basic gameplay concept. What we were trying to judge whether people thought the idea fun and if they found it visually interesting – it was basically a prototype. The response was fantastic and we were like, ‘This is great!’ So we went and spent about 3 months or so just working away on it and we thought, ‘Great we’re in Beta stage.’

So around Christmas last year we launched our open beta, which we thought would be fine – we thought maybe 10 people would download it and we’d get a bit of forum feedback. But 50,000 people downloaded it and everything burst into flames and went horribly wrong.

We realized that the game mechanics were broken and it was an absolute nightmare. So over the last 12 months what we’ve done is take the feedback and all of the harsh lessons we learned and tried to make the most refined game we possible can. It’s certainly been interesting.

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December 13, 2009, 3:36 am
Filed under: Interviews | Tags: , , ,

Tiny UK development outfit Hello Games couldn’t of wished for a better introduction to the world. They’ve just finished showing their debut game to packed crowds at the Eurogamer Expo and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

It’s easy to see why. Just watching Joe Danger in action is enough to put a smile on your face. A gorgeously colorful racer-cum-platformer that just bursts with character, it’s a throwback to happier times. Oh and it’s fun too. Should have said that before.

We’ll have a proper preview of the game coming up for you soon, but in the meantime here’s our chat with  Sean Murray, Hello Games’ Managing Director and one of the men that brought Joe Danger to life.

That VideoGame Blog (TVGB): First of all, your blog is outstanding, some of the best writing about games we’ve read in a while.

Sean Murray (SM): Oh thanks! I think we were probably too honest in it, about the mistakes we have made and stuff. But people seem to like it.

TVGB: It’s like the Show and Yell event last night (read about it here). It was a bit chaotic and mental, not even approaching slick, but really, really fun. It had character and you could tell that everyone was really in love with what they were doing.

SM: You’ve just summed up indie games, haven’t you? Pretty rough around the edges but fun.

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The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, the time-bending puzzle-platformer from devs The Odd Gentlemen, is set for release on Xbox Live Arcade next year. It’s been on the receiving end of many admiring glances here at TVGB, so we thought a chat with The Odd Gentlemen themselves was well overdue. Read on for the thoughts of Matt Korba (Creative Director, Lead Designer, President) and Paul Bellezza (CEO, Producer, Diet Coke Fetcher) on the indie scene, why they’ll never make an FPS and, inevitably, pies.

That VideoGame Blog (TVGB): Winterbottom began as a student thesis. It then became a fully-fledged indie game, and it now has the support of one of the bigger publishing houses. How much has the game changed over that time?

Matt Korba: Well, the core has very much remained the same. We have smoothed out and refined the mechanics from the student game to make them as clear and fun as possible and added some new time tricks. We basically took a short demo of a game and expanded it to a full game’s worth of content, complete with a narrative, leader boards, achievements, the whole nine. The art has gotten a huge update as is apparent from looking at the screenshots side by side. The tech has also dramatically changed. Unfortunately, there is no magic button to take a flash game to the Xbox. We had to build our tools and engine entirely from scratch to make Winterbottom possible.

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