MediEvil Boards Q&A
October 10, 2013
I had the please to speak with Jason Riley. For those who don't know, he was part of the core development team on MediEvil 1 and 2. He was responsible for the creation of the FMV's for both those games, he designed three levels for MediEvil 1, and also created the marketing art for all three games. I emailed him to ask about his work on MediEvil and what he came to enjoy from the series. I thought to share it, so here's the full response:
I'm always pleased to talk about MediEvil, because to me it was a happy time and it certainly shows with overall output of the game. At the time (1995-1997) there was twelve to sixteen internal staff working on that game. and took two - three years to develop. You have to bear in mind - the first year only had one to three people prototyping the story, design and planning. On the whole for the size of the team, the game was rich with events.
The game was fun, because all twelve core members had a say in what they would like as a game. We made a lot of suggestions, but clearly this was Chris Sorrell's and Jason Wilsons game and they would have the final say in which we respected that fact. I enjoyed it because I had the opportunity to do the Cinematics, in which I had learned so much about 3D animation. I had only one years CG experience before MediEvil.
I often look back at the sequences, Wishing to render them out at a better resolution / framerate. I was restricted to the PlayStation One 's movie playblast. I remember the tools for foot locking on Dan's floppy feet were a nightmare, that is why you will see them slide from time to time.
The game itself had a certain innocence about it - nothing was taken seriously. So whatever quirks, whatever inaccuracies happened, seemed to be forgiven, because it was a good entertaining story. You could have a game or a film with amazing CG and effects, but if the story is poor, then it will flop! What a waste of time, effort and resources!
MediEvil 2 - Yeah I enjoyed it - but not as much! I felt a bit rushed. We had to get it done in one and a half years. We managed it. Even so we didn't do another MediEvil until five years later, at that time I was working on two projects - 24 (Based on the Series) and of course MediEvil Resurrection, so therefore I didn't have the time to do the FMV. I did however do some good marketing / cutscene stuff, which I really enjoyed, probably because I had some good discussions about how they will look. It seems I'm happiest when I work on a project and I get to express ideas. I'm at an all time low when the job is - no discussions just do! Although that is rare, so don't let that put you off. There are ups and downs in every workplace.
It seems that the bigger the title - the less say production staff will have, because Senior Staff will have little time to listen to a thousand people (The amount of people, who worked on GTA 5). If you are in a small indie studio, the discussions are more circulatory. Games are getting bigger quantities of staff, the sad part is - sooooo many companies go down, because risk of budget seems to double every generation. Let's put it into perspective. A PlayStation one game would cost one to several Million to make. Now - cost's 137 Million to make for GTA 5, not forgetting marketing! But look at the return, over a billion and climbing!
I've got to say this Winston. Games are hard and expensive to develop. If they were easy everyone would be doing it. I would like to counter anyone that say's "Is that all you do all day - Play games" cliche. The reward comes when you have produced something that is viewed and appreciated by millions. I'd hate to think how much games will cost to develop in another ten Years! Alternatively you could produce the most amazing original game ever made. Look how much Tetris made. You could go down two routes
A - Join the race of an overly saturated market of AAA development and be the best at it - maybe you'll make money from the final product.
B - Think of the most interesting indie game that has never been thought of before and make loads of money (Farmville). Be the First - be the best!
Good Luck with your venture!