Welcome to Through the Looking GlassOriginally created to follow Looking Glass Studios and their games, these days we are many things to different people. Whether you wish to discuss the games themselves and fan content, enjoy games inspired by the legacy of the game studio or just enjoy chatting about games or life in general - Welcome!
When I say 'I interviewed' I mean I emailed him a bunch of questions other people much more talented that I thought up. On the plus side he did ring me up to introduce himself, which was pretty odd as I'd have thought that, if anything, it would have been the other way around.TTLG Interview Ken Levine - July 2006
Earlier in the year one of Irrational's PR guys contacted me wondering if we'd like to send a few interview questions to Irrational. After emailing back HELL YES the TTLG staff started coming up with some questions. We also solicited questions from our forum readers too. We whittled the submissions down to 13 questions, getting rid of anything that vaguely resembled "ru putting monkies in bioshock lol" as, let's face it, they're a) probably not terribly interesting and b) Irrational won't be giving any specific details about BioShock out for quite a while. The thirteen questions were further slimmed down to six as Irrational are 'super busy'.I'd like to thank Ken and Joe of Irrational and Tom of Evolve, they've been great!
To continue, the job I wanted most in the games industry was a design position on what at that time was called The Dark Project. There was little public data, but Looking Glass had a very evocative teaser website for the project, and System Shock was my all time favorite game. On a list of a hundred potential jobs, I wanted that job so badly that it made me tense. I searched and found the phone number of the project director, Greg LoPicollo, and gave him an unsolicited call where I sold myself to him in 15 seconds before he could hang up on me. I said I’d drive myself down to Cambridge for the interview. Weeks later, after two self-funded interviews and a couple homework assignments with their 3D editor, they offered me a hybrid design/programming job, essentially building levels and scripted behaviors.This very candid interview discusses the bad as well as the good of working on the series.
It turned out my marginal programming skills weren't as valuable as my design abilities, so with lots of coaching and instruction from the legendary Looking Glass guys, I shifted off of programming entirely and became a full time level builder and designer. I contributed to many of the Thief 1 levels, owned a few of them, and created gameplay behaviors for even more of them.
To date, it was the best project of my life, although maybe first projects are always like that. I learned a ton, I connected with an awesome team, and I believe the shared magic of that group led to the success that was Thief: The Dark Project.
Let's talk a bit about Junction Point Studios. The company has been founded about 1.5 years ago, but it's been pretty quiet until now. What have you been doing so far?While I am sure that most of the community is hoping that Warren and crew will be doing a System Shock / Thief / Deus Ex / Underworld clone type game, I am hoping that something new is on the broiler.
JPS currently has about 20 people. We started out working on a pretty epic game with a supportive publisher but, through no fault of our own, the deal got cancelled after about 9 months of work. Since then, we've been working on some stuff with Valve (can't talk much about that), doing concept development for some folks (can't talk at ALL about that, sadly!) and pitching some new game ideas. We're keeping plenty busy!
What's your job there exactly? How deep are you involved into development?
I often ask myself what my job is, exactly! I'm involved in all the creative aspects of concept development and planning. I evaluate and approve all the implementation work (though I don't do any of that anymore...). I spend a lot of time on studio management and deal-making these days, which I hope ends soon!
|Download the Official 7 minute E3 demonstration|
Though you could mistake this game for a first-person shooter based on a cursory glance, it quickly becomes clear that Dark Messiah goes to greater-than-average lengths to make you truly feel like you're an extremely skilled fantasy warrior.
Regardless, the game can't come out soon enough. If half of the things that Ubisoft is promising end up panning out, then this could be one of the best games of this year. It's kind of unseemly to speak about a yet-to-be-released game with such enthusiasm, but if ever a games journalist should be trusted for his earnestness, this is that very case.
The video clips we saw previous to the presentation are actually indicative of the game's style, which favors knives over negotiation. What those brief glimpses can't capture quite as well is how smooth and nuanced the combat system is.
Help Tino save his fruit stand from becoming a parking lot. Lead Rikki, the fruit-gathering monkey, to fill the customers' orders in a market full of fruit. Use Rikki's swing and the many Power-Ups to fill orders faster and with more flair! Earn tips, sell fruit... Save Tino's Fruit Stand!You can download the demo by going to the site, and you can purchase the game from there as well. Support Art and his company -- Good luck selling fruit!
Tino's Fruit Stand is a puzzle game where you work to pay back the loan and upgrade the stand to save the family store. You'll enjoy the 50 arcade levels that complement the story.
There's a great article this month in CGW on Dark Messiah, loads of info many screenshots, some art, really worth a look. After this and last month's Bioshock magazine article, I think things are looking copious indeed.
Also worth a look is the Spector interview at Firing Squad on Junction Point (the studio, not the game) as well as his opinions on this and that. No real news yet, but he promises soon. Soooon.
Starting Junction Point wasn’t hard at all—it was (and remains) great. Inevitably, we’ll grow and feel the pressures of time and budget but we’re still small, and all sharing a one-room office. The team is really tight, really functional, really psyched. JPS feels like “The Good Old Days,” at least right now. And I’m loving it. (Hope the rest of the team is, too! I think they are…)But, in the mean time...
LOS ANGELES – Jan. 27, 2006 – Vivendi Universal Games is pleased to announce that SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate, the expansion pack to SWAT 4 -- one of the highest-rated PC shooters of 2005 -- has gone gold and will ship to retail outlets in North America on February 28.
SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate, developed by Irrational Games, gives SWAT 4 fans more of the single- and multi-player action that made the original game so popular, and continues to challenge PC gamers to bring order to chaos in a variety of missions types. New features in the expansion pack include:
- Seven new missions playable in single and multiplayer mode
- A new story element that ties missions together
- New objective types
- 10 player co-op mode
- New weapons such as the Colt Accurized Rifle and Cobra Stun Gun.
- New multiplayer mode, “Smash and Grab”
- Voice over IP in-game chat
- New equipment, including night vision goggles, ammo pouches and more
- Built in support for Stats and Ladders
SWAT 4: The Stetchkov Syndicate will be ship for personal computer on February 28 for an estimated retail price of $19.99 and an ESRB rating of “M” for Mature.
I, for one, can't wait!
Hot on the heels of the acquisition their acquisition by Take-Two, Irrational Games' General Manager, Ken Levine chats to Gamespot about the Take-Two deal, BioShock and the future.What is a new item without a snippet?
You can read the rest of the interview by following the link at the top of this new item, but as you're all the way down here you might as well follow the one down here.
GS: How will the deal affect Irrational's operations? Will there be any layoffs?
KL: Quite the opposite. Since the acquisition, the team size on BioShock has nearly doubled.
GS: What about Irrational management--will it remain in place?
KL: I hope so, as I'm fond of money and health care. The truth is, the kind of layoffs you're talking about happen when large companies acquire other large companies and they get rid of duplicate marketing, accounting, and other functions. At a small developer, they're hiring the development talent.
GS: Will the Irrational brand remain intact or will it be renamed? Will future games carry the Irrational brand?
KL: I think the brand was one of the things they were interested in. Somebody said it recently: Irrational's games never suck. I like that for a brand identity.
New York, NY – January 9, 2006 – Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO) today announced the acquisition of Irrational Games, the award-winning development studio behind such titles as System Shock 2 and Freedom Force. Irrational Games joins the team of development studios under Take-Two's 2K Games publishing label.
2K Games has multiple titles in development at Irrational's North American and Australian studios. The first title to be published under the 2K Games label will be BioShock, a role-playing shooter for next-generation console systems and PC. Already anticipated by the gaming press as one of the most innovative next-generation titles, BioShock is planned for release in early 2007.
"We saw a rare opportunity with Irrational Games, a development studio that has consistently produced creative and original games," said Christoph Hartmann, Managing Director at 2K Games. Susan Lewis, VP of Business Development at 2K Games, added, "2K Games will provide additional resources and support to the Irrational team so they may continue to deliver cutting-edge games."
"We are excited to be aligned with a publishing label like 2K Games that shares similar development goals and vision," said Ken Levine, co-founder and President of Irrational Games. "Fans will be blown away when they see the next-generation titles we are working on."
Along with this confirmation that Irrational has been acquired by Take-Two, it also shows BioShock as having an early 2007 release. Yay!