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Mercenary's menu Interview

Shadow Watch

(22.08.2000)

[KEVIN] - Kevin Perry (Red Storm)
[YURG] - Yuri Bushin (Freelancer)

[YURG] Kevin, could you please tell about the history of Shadow Watch creation? What was the backgrounds - what games, movies, etc... Why you decided to start developing this game?

[KEVIN] What was the inspiration for Shadow Watch? Every graphic novel and comic book. Every action movie, from Die Hard to Big Trouble in Little China. Every Clancy movie. Every movie or book or comic book that follows the time-honored arc of story, action, story.

But very few games. While Shadow Watch's action sequences are similar to a more tightly focused X-Com, or a more graphically rich Jagged Alliance, no one has tried to marry serious turn-based tactical action with the massive branching storylines that we use.

[YURG] If it is not secret, why you have chosen Alpha space station for the game plot? To be honest, the plot is amazing and very unusual. It is interesting to know how the idea of game based on Alpha construction project appeared.

[KEVIN] Each of the Power Plays series of game involves a central geopolitical what if. For Shadow Watch, I looked for an idea that had not been used before that would plausibly involve several nations and a global scale while still seeming sexy. The International Space Station passed all the tests.

[YURG] Could you say please why you have chosen to use drawn graphics for Shadow Watch?

[KEVIN]Because we wanted Shadow Watch to be different. To look different, to play different, to feel different. It is a stark, gripping game, in dialogue and gameplay. It demanded the brooding look of an excellent graphic novel.

[YURG] Seems there are no other games so overfilled with dialogues, so intensive and complex. Was it hard to develop the dialogue system for Shadow Watch?

[KEVIN] It was a major focus of the development effort and of my personal time as the designer. Originally, I had wanted a more free-flowing system with even more mutability, but practical concerns forced me to limit the web to only 162 possible Campaigns. It was not a difficult process for me, but having to explain the system to the two other writers who provided some dialogue proved more difficult than I had anticipated. I guess it was a very personal system.

[YURG] Kevin, Shadow Watch combat system is unique, it has no analogues among other games. What principles you used for it development?

[KEVIN] Every tactical, man-to-man combat game out there on any medium, from X-COM to Necromunda. Moving little people around through lush environments and having them fight it out hearkens back to little green army men and the bedroom floor. There is a very distinct board game flavor to the game; many fans have compared it to chess with guns.

[YURG] Why multiplayer has never appeared for this game? Or it wasn't planned at all?

[KEVIN] It was never planned. The intense story nature of the game precluded it, as well as the strict character focus.

[YURG] The environment of countries where game is taking place is very detailed and convincing - music, decorations, words used... How you succeeded in it? Have you dealt with consultants from Brasil, Russia, China? E.g. Russian bar signs are very similar to real ones :)

[KEVIN] We do a great deal of research here at Red Storm Entertainment. An amazing amount of information is available on the web, such as photos taken in Russian bars, etc. I will make clear, however, that the Russia, China, and Brazil found in SW are not the 'real' countries, but graphic novel versions of those.

[YURG] It is very unusual that you have not released any patches for Shadow Watch. Have your teem succeed to produce the game without serious bugs?

[KEVIN] SW was created by a very experienced team working with code that had been developed for years prior to this particular game. We were very conservative in our planning, and made no significant changes during the development process.

[YURG] Can you tell about Shadow Watch future? Is Shadow Watch 2 planned to be released some day in not so far future, or maybe multiplayer version of first part will appear?

[KEVIN] Sadly, Red Storm Entertainment does not discuss its future plans. I will say that Shadow Watch is part of a series (Power Plays), and that more Power Plays are on the way.

[YURG] Kevin, what are you doing now? Can you tell about your creative plans?

[KEVIN] Again, I cannot comment specifically. We let you know when we can tell you!

[YURG] Maybe you wish to say something to our readers?

[KEVIN] I hope you all have as much fun playing Shadow Watch as I and the rest of the team did creating it.

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