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Hazard Team HQ interview with Michael Raymond-Judy, Kenn Hoekstra, Joshua Weier, Brian Pelletier and Jeff Dischler
© 2000 Benjamin Boerner.
Now that the game is in stores, I thought it might be interesting to hear what the guys at Raven did during production and after the game went gold. This is not a "super-informing-interview", it's more like a "just for fun" chat. I hope you like it anyways, since it's quite interesting to see what different opinions our friends at Raven have. Enjoy!
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Benjamin Boerner: After all the hard work in the last months / years, what did you guys do after the game went gold? (Drunk all whisky available in the US?)
MRJ: I would love to say I went on a 3-week vacation to the Bahamas and lazed on a beach drinking and ogling women, but in reality I took a few days off and did a bunch of fixing and cleaning around the house that had been piling up for months. I also get to see my wife and daughter for more than a few minutes a day, which is really nice since I was starting to get looks like "who's that weird man who sneaks into the house in the middle of the night and leaves before morning" from both of them... As for drinking all the whiskey in the US (I assume you mean fine single malt scotch) I'm working on it, I'm working on it. Or, as they say in the biz, "when it's done" ;)
KH: I did what is affectionately known at Raven as "the happy dance."
JW: Well, I would do that, but it's not legal (still under 21). I've mostly been playing a lot of Counter-Strike, Chrono Cross, Tony Hawk and waiting for Final Fantasy 9. I'm basically catching up on a lot of games that I didn't have time to play before.
BP: I took a week vacation and spent time with my wife who was forgetting what I looked like.
JD: Hmmm, the first thing I did was to take a day off...heh heh. After that, I started playing lots of different games just to see what I had been missing in the long, long months of development. I'm currently playing System Shock 2 and Scooby-Doo...heh heh.
Benjamin Boerner: You changed Voyager's official intro sequence by putting new music and your names into it. I know most of you guys are huge Star Trek fans, so how does it feel, seeing your own names in such a video?
MRJ: It could only have been better if I had billing as "Guest Starring: MRJ as the Talaxian Love Slave". I even did some promo shots of me in my "outfit", but the reaction here was generally, um, less than positive...
KH: Pretty fantastic! I've been a huge fan of Trek since I was a kid and watched TOS reruns on Channel 3 at Midnight every night. It was a great feeling to be a part of this game...
JW: I'm not a Star Trek fan myself, but I've seen the show, and seeing the reproduction of the opening credits was pretty cool. Making the game feel like a Voyager episode was a major goal, and I think this went a long way to helping us achieve that.
BP: When it was all done with the music added to it, it was a thrill. Although I had been working on the production of it so I had seen it numerous times in different stages but when the whole piece was finished and you played the game and saw the intro come up with the music and then to see the names from Raven it was relief in a way of the culmination of all our hard work.
JD: The first time I saw it, I thought it was amazingly cool and it felt very natural, but it also seemed different in a way that I didn't figure out right away. Of course, I quickly realized that the music was just plain different.
Benjamin Boerner: If you think of other games Raven did in the past, what's the coolest thing for you that is new in EF?
MRJ: I really think this is the best job we have ever done integrating a story into the game, and considering it's primarily an FPS that says a lot.
KH: Developing the game as two executables. That was pretty cool, in my opinion.
JW: I was happy with a few things in particular. ICARUS obviously worked well for us. I was also happy with the NPC teammates as they eventually ended up. Throughout the development process we were concerned with how they would turn out. We knew we could get them to move around okay, but for me at least, it was more of a question of would they add to the gameplay experience. I was concerned that they would take too much of the game away from the player, or become too much of a burden. In the end however, I think they certainly added to the game and didn't detract from it. This, coupled with their personalities and abilities made for a pretty fresh experience in the genre.
BP: There are two big things that stand out to me in EF that no other Raven game had and that was an interactive scripting system and very intellegent teammate NPC's. To have these two things work out as well as they did I felt like Raven was really treading new ground more so than we did with our many other games. Although I am very proud of Heretic II and how highly praised our 3rd person character control was.
JD: The Quake 3 engine allows some new cools things to be done in the visuals department, such as curves and shaders. Actually, of those two things, shaders are probably the most useful since they allow you to do so much more with textures. The other cool thing in EF is the team AI, they are surprisingly able to follow you around, even when you run into areas that you'd think they wouldn't be able to follow.
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