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Biography (MediEvil 2)

Jason Wilson (29) – Lead Artist

Jason is responsible for setting the style, character designs and environments. Progressing the style set by the previous adventure into the exciting possibilities of the Victorian age. With Medievil2 that means turning his twisted and bizarre design ideas into conforming art guides.

Short personal biography: Lots of arcade games!… Pacmania, Space Harrier, loathsome football games, and I designed a number of arcade adventure games in the late 80s. I also worked extensively on the first Medievil game as Concept Artist/Lead Designer. In the past my job roles have ranged from an Arcade conversion slave, to being Lead Designer, Lead Artist and Creative Director.[1][2]

Interviews

The-Dan-Fanclub

October 7, 2006

(JASON) "Hello Eoin" or should i say "Mwrrr brr ra Reoin" (Dan speak),

(ME) I only recently stumbled across your site, and being a massive MediEvil fan, I adored all that concept art!!

(JASON) Glad you enjoyed Medievil and all it's various incarnations!

(ME) To me, its like gold!

(JASON) Happy that you enjoyed the concept art - i put it up there for fans like you.

(ME) ^_^ Anyways, as a thanks for creating such a marvellous game (and a superb voice in Resurrection), I drew a tribute for ya. ;)

(JASON) That's fantastic! I am deeply honoured! I'll print it out and put it next to my other artwork! :) Dan is my favourite character I have ever designed.

(ME) BTW, d'you think there'll be anymore of Dan in the future?

(JASON) Who knows... who knows... you just can't keep a good skeleton down.

(ME) If not games, a film adaption would be awesome! Or perhaps some merchandise!

(JASON) Over the years there has been talk of a movie or an animated TV show (I think originally a French company was interested - Medievil was a big hit in France). A film would be cool indeed! I guess you will have to make do with A nightmare before christmas! As for merchandise - some press stuff was made - badges, a model of the Dan hand (which looks extrememly cool but I would say pretty much impossible to get hold of - I only have one and it sits next to my Bafta). I often think that a Medievil comic book would be very cool!

(ME) Thanks a bunch and seeya. :) P.S. Here's the deviantart Dan Fanclub if you want a check : the-dan-fanclub.deviantart.com…

(JASON) I checked it out - that's a great page, I read all the forums and looked at all the art - it makes me happy, I showed it to Chris who was the director on Med 1 (which is my favourite - the original ;)). I'll check back now and again to see what is on there. I believe there is another Medievil fan site too (but without all the fan art).

All the best,

Jason![3]

Retro Gamer

March 27, 2008

 Retro Gamer - The Making of... MediEvil at The Mean Machines Archive (PDF file). Published March 27, 2008.

MediEvil Boards Q&A

December 25, 2012

1) In the Japanese version of the original MediEvil, Sir Daniel wears a helmet that is absent from the other versions of the game. What was the reason for this?

JW - "The helmet was a stipulation from our Japanese partners. Lots of games have changes made to them when being translated for other countries, especially between Japan and the West and vica versa - this can be due to cultural differences or just things being fixed between versions. For Medievil there was a worry in Japan that Dan's skeletal head might be seen as a bad spirit and not a 'hero.' Japan is still quite a spiritual country and things we simply take at face value (no pun intended) can be interpreted in a very different way in different cultures - a skull being no exception. So for gameplay it was decided to hide Dan's face behind a mask!

2) From some interviews, we've heard that a playable character called Morton the Earthworm was planned but didn't make it into the final game. There is, however, this FMV for the Asylum, taken from the PAL version and shows Sir Dan using Morton to unlock the door.

MediEvil - 7AV00:27

MediEvil - 7AV

Can you please confirm if this was intended to be the introduction to Morton’s level, and could you state what his level was going to be like? Also, was Morton a possible inspiration for the Dan Hand sections in MediEvil 2?

JW - "It is is quite common (like films) that a lot of things get left on the cutting room floor during production. These reasons can be many; lack of time to finish an element, something just not working during playing, or simply deciding it gets in the way of pacing. There was to be a playable level with Morton the worm, I illustrated and mocked up a level that featured Morton in a side scrolling level set inside the Asylum. We left the FMV sequence in the game as it got us out of a plot hole as to how Dan gets into the Asylum, plus it was funny to see Dan pluck a worm from his eye socket. Morton was not really an inspiration for the Dan Hand but I would say we all like the idea of 'Russian doll' type characters - you know, character living inside another or a change in scale for gameplay. We always wanted to add funny cute gameplay elements and so changing the scale of an environment around a character certainly shared a similarity between Morton and Dan Hand."

3) In the FMV introduction to the Ghost Ship, Sir Daniel is featured attempting to escape from a Jabberwocky creature, and footage shown during the making of video briefly reveals a gameplay portion of this scenario. Was this intended to completely be a chase-styled level, and if so, how far did it get before being removed?

JW - "Yes it was glimpsed in that making of video. We simply were starting to run out of time so we made the decision to drop the level. We had the level running with some gameplay but the animation requirements were looking unlikely due to animating the Jabberwocky monsters as it ran and smashed its way through the level."

4) In the ST files from MediEvil 1, there is a track that is not used in the game at all. This is the music;

MediEvil - IG401:54

MediEvil - IG4

What was this track to be used for?

JW - "Not sure, it was probably for one of the cut levels. Again it is not unusual for a musician to write more tracks than required so the game director can choose a track they like."

5) I've heard a rumor that there was intended to be a whole level aboard Zarok’s train and it was intended to be a type of on-rails shooter. Can you please confirm whether this is true or not?

JW - "This was never discussed as an idea and must be a complete rumour. The train was almost cut from the game as it was quite hard to have it run along the track as it kept falling off! But I really wanted the train kept in the game so I managed to convince the coders to keep it. I'm glad we did."

6) This is a question I have had for some time; it’s about the voice-over for Sir Daniel Fortesque. I have read from some sites that you were the one who provided the English voice-over for Sir Dan in all three of the MediEvil games, but other sites claim that actor Stéphane Cornicard provided the voice for Sir Dan in the original MediEvil. Can you please clarify this matter?

JW - "Yeah the original and the PSP version was my voice. We tried getting actors to do it but we were never happy so I stepped in and did it - my finest hour! Never heard of Mr Cornicard, I have no idea who he is? The voice in Playstation Allstars is not my voice, he sounds a little too much like the Swedish Chef for my liking. What a lot of people may not realise is that I wrote a script for what Dan actually says and then just read the lines through gritted teeth with a bucket over my head! One point I would make is that on most online wiki sites anyone can actually change information on them, so don't always believe all the credits or facts you read on a wiki!"

7) I'm not sure if you're able to answer this question, but what was the specific date (days and month) that MediEvil 2 took place in?

JW - "Honestly cannot remember! But it is not really our world or history - it is an alternative history."

8) Just for fun, what was the story behind the “Mr. Apple” that’s stated toward the end of the credits in MediEvil 1?

JW - "Mr Apple was a mascot created by the games programmer James Busby. I think Matt Johnson or Katie Sorrell drew a face on it but then one of the team put Mr Apple in the microwave and cooked him! He was radiated after that point and never decayed! He was a super Mr Apple! He lived in the office for many years and even made it into the game's credits. He should have appeared as a character!"


JW - "There you go. Happy Christmas"[4]

February 10, 2013

1) Dan's voice in MediEvil 2 sounds very different from his voice in the first game and Resurrection. Did you also provide his voice-over in that game or was it a different person?

JW - I did the voice for Medievil 1 and the PSP remake but not for Medievil 2 or the Allstars game.

2) The ending that players receive for collecting all the chalices feature Dan and Kiya using the Time Machine to travel back to Zarok's arena in Gallowmere where they are then attacked by the dragon creature that Zarok transformed into in the first game, except that it has Palthorn's head in this scenario. Can you please explain what this ending meant? Were there any ideas to make a sequel continuing from this scenario?

JW - The original idea for Med 2 had Zarok being kept prisoner in the Tower of London and Dan had to free him. The two of them then had to work together in an easy alliance. In the final game it was just his spell book. The ending was really only meant as a bit of fun, that Palethorn had used the spell book to travel back and rewrite time - Dan had not only travelled back in time but also to an alternative time line. But most of all it was just a silly B-movie twist ending for fun.[5]

February 17, 2013

1) There is an elaborate image underneath the center section of a room in the Asylum level. This is the image;

HeadMonk

What is this meant to be? Is it a kind of easter egg?

JW - If memory serves me correctly that is the head monk of the Asylum. Some may think it is a young Zarok, but it is not.

2) I've heard a rumor that the Anubis Stone sub-plot from the PSP remake was originally intended for the first game but never made it in because of time constraints. Is this true?

JW - There was no Anubis stone sub plot that I can remember from the original Medievil. None of the original designers of Medievil was directly involved with the remake.

3) Was the Jabberwocky chase level still intact when the demo of the first MediEvil was released? If so, could hacking the demo files possibly turn-up the level?

JW - The Jabberwocky chase level only ever got to a rough stage of development before it was dropped. Some remnants may exist in the code base but I'm not sure.

4) A member on the forum discovered a message located within the memory files of the original MediEvil stating; "Buzby sucks eggs, and Eastwood smells!" Would you happen to know the purpose of this message? I assume it was for humorous intentions.

JW - Ha - 'that' message! Buzby refers to the game coder - James Busby, I think it was an affectionate joke. The 'Eastwood' thing is a private joke known by only a few members of the original team and I couldn't possibly explain it! :)

JW - Glad you guys are still enjoying the game after all these years! It is a happy thought to know that a bunch of people still enjoy the work that went into that game!

Be sure to check out Chris Sorrel's new spaceman game (coming soon) and my sci-fi/fantasy graphic novel - Surface Tension (coming in Sept). Both projects have a certain quirkiness that Medievil fans might appreciate.[6]

February 20, 2013

1) During the level, would the camera have been positioned behind Dan as he ran from the creature or would it have been more Crash Bandicoot style, with Dan running towards the screen as the Jabberwocky chased him?

JW - We were trying both approaches, into and away from the camera. It was abandoned due to time constraints. Another reason for abandoning it was when we played Crash Bandicoot, we realised that the level didn't add that much value to the gameplay.

I have the original scans for the level layout knocking around somewhere.[7]

March 1, 2013

1) In the games trailer and concept art, the ride aboard Zarok's train seems like it was meant to take Dan completely around the exterior of Zarok's Lair. Was the ride aboard the train originally intended to be longer?

JW - Yes the train journey had a stopping off point at Zarok's Lair. The train journey was not much longer but there was a level based around Dan climbing Zarok's Lair.

2) Another thing about Zarok's Lair; by using a teleport cheat, it has been discovered that parts of the exterior of the lair were built to be solid, and concept art seems to imply that Dan was meant to ascend the Lair's exterior. Was the Lair in-fact intended to be climbed, similar with Cathedral Spires from MediEvil 2?

JW - And yes, there was a level designed around traversing the exterior of Zarok's Lair. You see the castle in the FMV sequence and in the train journey. It was dropped due to pacing and time issues.

3) There was a kind-of newspaper that was released with MediEvil 2

Do you know anything about this newspaper? Is it canonical to the game?

JW - The newspaper was only used in the Press Kit boxed edition of Med' 2. Most of the Cambridge Studio Press kits (Med 1, 2 and Ghosthunter and Primal) were released to the Press in nice swanky Press boxed editions.[8]

November 3, 2013

Q: I'd like to ask if it would be alright if I could ask you about a concept for MediEvil 2 which wound up not being used: You mentioned that the original idea for MediEvil 2 involved Zarok being kept prisoner in the Tower of London and Dan had to free him, after which they would then work together in an uneasy alliance. 

I'd like to ask if there is anything more that you can describe about this concept and, if alright, why it wasn't used. About how different was this vision from the way the game actually turned out?

Jason Wilson:   Chris came up with the original wonderful idea of setting Med' 2 in Victorian London. I believe at this point that the hero wasn't even Dan Fortisque but an ascendant of Dan's - a rather dapper skeleton in a top and tails (I forget his name). This revision might have been too similar to Jack Skellington but we ran with the idea for a while. The final design of this character did end up in Med' 2 as the Victorian outfit that Dan gets to wear.

Chris was busy ramping up the pre-production on Primal and was looking into technology for an engine to run on the then unreleased PS2. I was left with Med' 2 on my own for a while so I went away and knocked around a few ideas to embellish Chris's overall brief (which was how we had worked on Med' 1). I came up with the British Museum and the exhibits coming to life as well as the Vampires in London amongst other things. At that point we had Zarok imprisoned in the Tower of London. His spell book which is held in a secure location was stolen and used by an evil cult to resurrect the dead. At some point in this early design spec the player had to team up with Zarok, who was an untrustworthy ally to save the day.

There was an idea that Dan could take out his eye ball and pop into area he had no access to so that he could spy. This was later replaced by Chris with the fabulous Dan-hand idea. Chris also had the idea of Queen Victoria being possessed and turned into a giant monster version of Queen Victoria and stomping about London like Godzilla. After I worked on this design spec a new project director became involved with Med' 2 - James Shepherd. James kept some of the ideas that Chris and I had specced up but also replaced some ideas with his own, such as replacing Zarok with the Palethorn gangster character and the boxing section. In terms of art design, I decided that if Zarok was thin and fey then Palethorn would be wide, square and gruff. I liked the contrast between the two villains.

I liked a lot of James' ideas and approved of the main character still being Dan Fortesque. He also added the romantic sub plot which was a great idea. The only mis-steps was that I felt that the boxing match section was misplaced and the level designs were rather flat after the joyous undulations of the original (after a lot of level design work on Med' 1 I had little to do with level design on Med 2 as I was dealing 100% of my time on art direction and concepts). I would have loved to have seen the monstrous Queen Victoria in the final game.

I still have the original design doc for Med' 2 before James came on board. It would be interesting to look back at it and see how it evolved. All in all, MediEvil 2 was a polished game that was a good mix of ideas from Chris, James and myself, that took the game in a fresh new direction.

I went on to enjoy working with James on Ghosthunter where we continued some of the themes of MediEvil 2. Sadly I never worked on another game with Chris again. I have a good deal of respect for both chaps.

Hope that helps.

J

PS - if any of you chaps want a preview of my current project then you can 'like' my Jay Gunn Facebook page. Jay Gunn is my graphic novel writing pseudonym. I'm working on a 'science fiction fantasy horror' comic book series - "Surface Tension." There are some crazy ideas in the story and art and if you liked the art or the games that the Cambridge Studio developed then you'll probably like this story too! :) It'll be released in 2014 by Titan Books.[9]

November 3, 2013 - additional Q&A

Q: Actually, if it's still alright, there's one other question I have regarding a cut level in MediEvil 2: someone on the MediEvil Boards found mention of a file called "Parliament" and I've heard that this was intended to be a level in the game. Is this true? If so, what would it have been like?

Jason Wilson:  "Parliament" was the level intended as the battle ground for fighting the Queen Victoria monster. It got changed to a different level design when the Queen was dropped for the big demon that replaced her. I do not think that much work was done on the parliament level.[10]

Videos

Gallery

References

  1. Memory Card 2 Biography at MediEvil 2 Official Website (archived version at Wayback Machine Internet Archive).
  2. Memory Card 2 Biography, page 2 at MediEvil 2 Official Website (archived version at Wayback Machine Internet Archive).
  3. Devart Jason's Email at The-Dan-Fanclub on deviantART.
  4. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published December 25, 2012.
  5. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published February 10, 2012.
  6. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published February 17, 2013.
  7. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published February 20, 2013.
  8. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published March 1, 2013.
  9. Proboards Interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published November 3, 2013.
  10. Proboards Another interview with Jason Wilson at MediEvil Boards. Published November 3, 2013.

External links

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