1. The Bot
    The Bot  
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    Riportiamo in originale una lunga intervista concessa da uno dei fondatori di casa Core Design : Eh si LUI può dire sul serio ...


    Core Design co-founder Jeremy Heath-Smith speaks exclusively to us on the hugely anticipated return of Lara Croft in Angel of Darkness on PS2 and PC

    Though the delays themselves could be turned into a hilarious comedy series all of their own , the long-awaited, massively anticipated return of gaming's greatest icon is finally upon us. And with Angel of Darkness hitting store shelves in the US as we type, with Europe to follow by the end of the month, fingers crossed, Lara-mania is all set for its glorious return.
    The weight of expectation is astonishing, and it's difficult to underestimate the importance of this title both to publisher Eidos and developer Core, with four years having passed since the last instalment.

    Has all the hard work paid off? The game certainly looks the part, and Core co-founder Jeremy Heath-Smith meant it when he said: "I defy anyone to find a better looking game on PlayStation 2," at yesterday's presentation to selected press in London.

    But after much talk of "mature" this and "edgy" that, Core has returned to what it knows best, and to what it believes Lara does best. Angel of Darkness is a beautiful-looking action-adventure that remains true to the spirit of previous incarnations, while refining and adding new dimensions to the experience in all areas.

    And now the wait is pretty much over (we trust) all that remains is to see whether Lara can capture the hearts of the people all over again. Jeremy Heath-Smith certainly believes she will, and gave a remarkably frank and fascinating insight into Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, when we spoke with him at the London event.

    And if yu still hungry for more Lara goodness after this, be sure to check back on Monday for exclusive details on what Core has in store for the next title in the series - you might just be very surprised...

    To deal with the latest delay again, the way we understand it is the game simply had to be out by the end of June to make Eidos's fourth fiscal quarter...

    Heath-Smith: Yes.

    But could you really use even more time?

    Heath-Smith: You know what? We could've spent another year on it. But you can do that with any big game, so we had to draw a line in the sand, which we did some time ago, and say: "That's it guys - let's lock down content and just get this bloody thing finished.

    The game is finished - we're happy with it; we love it.

    And you've had enough time to iron out all major bugs before it went Gold?

    Heath-Smith: There's fifty hours of gameplay - we're not going to get every bug out of it. How can I emulate two million people playing it differently in a day? I can tell you this: we can't find any crash bugs. Are there times when things may go a bit weird? Yeah, course there are, but you show me a game that doesn't do that. So yes, I'm very, very happy with the quality.

    When you first unveiled the game, it was build as "adult" and "edgy" and you used arty references to tie-in with it. Does Angel of Darkness remain true to this vision?

    Heath-Smith: No, I think we've softened it as we've gone on, and as the market's softened. I think the storyline is still very adult and edgy; anything involving a religious cult and a guy that's been around for 1,000 years, who are in this sect and murder people and use them for experiments - yeah, that's pretty dark.

    The great thing is that Lara shines through as a kind of bright candle in all of this. On one side it's hard and edgy, and on the other Lara comes along and brightens it all up. We toyed with the idea of darkening Lara as well, but we stopped that in the early stages and brought her back up a bit - and I'm very pleased we did.

    I think the way that the PlayStation player plays games now... they like the adultness of a story, but also wants to be entertained rather than horrified.

    What were you doing with Lara that was so dark and that you decided to change?

    Heath-Smith: It's more in terms of what we were planning on doing with her in the storyline. We were looking at adding things to her body that would, well, change her! To see Lara smoking would be a bit weird, because she's pretty clean living. She might smoke - we haven't told you she doesn't, but...

    So the changes you made were as a result of a general shift in the market rather than any titles in particular...

    Heath-Smith: No, it was actually market shift. There are enough dark and dingy games out there. But look at Vice City: is that a dark and dingy game? No, it's a fun game. Why is it a fun game? Because you can do loads of different stuff. Does it cross a line? Yeah, absolutely, but that's what makes it a fun game.

    Why is it a great game? The game itself isn't actually that good; what makes it great is the whole experience. That's why I've played it for hours and hours. Do I get my head around doing all these missions? No, that's pants, I don't care about that. Ask any GTA player and they'll tell you that.

    So how has Lara evolved?

    Heath-Smith: I feel she's evolved in the way we've matured the story; the way we've improved the way she looks, the way we've used physics, the way we've introduced Kurtis into the story, the way the environments are bigger, the RPG elements, the power-ups, the bigger and better puzzles...

    You know what's terrifying? For the last few months we've played the other Tomb Raider games... You got back and play the original - and people have hugely fond memories of Tomb Raider 1 - and take a look at it. You'll die. It's just unbelievably bad [laughs].

    Staying with Tomb Raider on PSone, the general perception is the series got progressively worse from the original. Do you see this as a return to form?

    Heath-Smith: I would say it's a return to form. But I'd also say put on Tomb Raider 4 next to Tomb Raider 1 and you'll see the quality quadrupled. What originally happened was that Tomb Raider was a breakthrough product - it was a new genre, 3D, new character - just incredible. People tend to remember snapshots throughout their lives of things that affected them and Tomb Raider certainly touched a lot of people.

    As the series went on and we exploited the licence, hardcore gamers maybe thought we'd turned our back on them. And in reality, we probably did, because we had to broaden the gameplay to appeal to a broader audience. With this game, we think we'll get a lot of Tomb Raider 1 players back, and I think what we've done is give the hardcore gamer enough to get their teeth in while making it accessible to the mass market.

    The real gamers are going to play this and think: "This is a big game." But if you're one of these casual gamers who like to play a game for a few hours here and there and be rewarded, we feel we've nailed that as well.

    As you've said, the first Tomb Raider was revolutionary at the time. Do you still feel the series is as relevant and full of impact now?

    Heath-Smith: No; how can it? All we want to do is ensure we've created a great game on what is already a big licence. People having given it scores of 8/10 so far and I'm asked if I'm upset. Well no: I wouldn't expect any more, if I'm complete honest with you. How can people give this 10/10? It's not a revolutionary game; it's a Tomb Raider game. It's just a bigger, better, more gorgeous Tomb Raider game - that's the truth.

    Anybody whose job it is to review games, if they give it less than 8/10 I'd think: why? That's really unfair. If they gave it 10/10, I'd say good for them, I think it's worth a ten, but I do understand. A game like Splinter Cell comes along and it is revolutionary. It's a new genre, nice game and deserved to score massively.

    Since you've been working on this for so long, and games like Splinter Cell have released in the interim, do you feel you've been left behind?

    Heath-Smith: No, because I think we kind of covered that when we did the focus testing and changed the control system. Changing the controls was a big thing for us, huge. There was a lot of debate and a lot of disagreement within the company.

    Splinter Cell was one of the key games that had an impact on these discussions. It wasn't because it has the best animation in the business - because it hasn't - it's just a great, rounded package.

    With the controls, we'd imagine, for example, the Nintendo way of doing things would be to make sure the character controls perfectly, then build the game around that. But by changing the controls so late in the day, that must have caused major problems?

    Heath-Smith: Huge. We had to do map changes, we had to do design changes, we had to change the camera, we had slow down issues - oh God: huge. And our number one target for this product was that it would run in a frame [run at 60fps] and it does. Very few PS2 games do that - most opt for 30 frames per second. There was a discussion over whether that would happen, but I said: over my dead body; you've got to make this work.

    We said at the start, this will be bigger, better, bolder, everything... And it's going to run in a frame. We told you that three years ago. But it's been tough...

    So has it been harder than you expected to get to grips with next-gen hardware? Is this one of the reasons it's been so delayed?

    Heath-Smith: Yeah, I think the truth of it is, yes it has. We've rewritten everything; we took the engine, threw it away and started again. If you look at the big franchise games, there's only one other title that's done that, and that's Metal Gear Solid. And that took 100 people five years to make. We've done it in about three with 35.

    None of the other big franchises have changed their technology and I know why now [laughs]. But we've done it now, and we're in great shape now for the next 10 years, because we knew we were working on a massive licence that would have to go the distance. And we thought about PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 - wherever it goes, we've built it in modular form so we can take it wherever.

    But it's taken us three years to do that and it's been a complete git!

    As you've said, Angel of Darkness isn't attempting to be revolutionary - it's just Tomb Raider. But so many years since the last one, do people still care? Why should people care?

    Heath-Smith: Of course we were worried about that and I think that, when you consider, since the last Tomb Raider game, the movie's come out, there've been another two campaigns with Lucozade... Do you know why that is?

    Smithkline and Beecham [the parent company of Lucozade] went onto the street and did market research, and polled 5,000 people: is Lara Croft still cool? Two years ago, the result was: yes! Last year it was yes, and there's another Lucoazade campaign this year.

    Lara is the longest established character ever to be associated with Lucozade...

    Indeed, they actually changed the name from Lucozade to Larazade for the first time in the company's history...

    Heath-Smith: You know that went to the main board? That was a main board decision. The Chairman of the parent company was involved in that. So is it going to be successful? People still love Lara, people are intrigued by Lara. Providing we give them what they want... and the movie was a massive hit, and we all know it wasn't a great movie, but it grossed half a billion dollars in revenue. Which is huge.

    There's a massive love affair between Lara and the gaming world out there and we just can't disappoint them.

    But what sets the title apart from everything else on the market?

    Heath-Smith: I don't think it needs to be set apart, and you know why? It's a Tomb Raider game. But what sets it apart? It looks awesome - no-one can deny that. The animation is incredible: it's silky smooth, and it's a Tomb Raider game.

    If that's your sort of game, you'll buy it; if you'd rather play Gran Turismo, you won't buy it. For me it hits the sweet spot of the third-person action-adventure genre that we virtually created six years ago. That's all we set out to achieve.

    The camera system you've employed is innovative - can you tell us a little more about how that works?

    Heath-Smith: The camera now is a complete free-roaming camera: we call it camera relative. When you move off screen, if you move Lara to the right and you're facing behind her, you push right on the analogue. If she's facing you and you want to move it to the right, again you have to push it to the right: wherever you are is relative to the camera; however you move is relative to the camera.

    It can be very confusing; it can be massively confusing. But we did extensive focus group testing, and people liked the freedom of this camera. Mario 64 started it, and everyone tried it and couldn't get it to work.

    Because Lara was the only other massive third-person 3D game around, we did this thing called 'camera on a stick ', which was a camera that followed the back of Lara's head. We looked at Mario 64 and thought: nah, it'll never catch on, but they [Nintendo] were right...

    But very wrong with Mario Sunshine...

    Heath-Smith: Massively wrong. You know what? That wasn't the camera, that was bad level design. We now realise this is the way forward with cameras because people do want that freedom. There's full 360 degree movement, which gives huge freedom - that's what's cool.

    The leap of faith traditionally associated with Lara has been taken away. It's all about flow.

    What's the single biggest hurdle you feel you've overcome, your biggest achievement?

    Heath-Smith: Keeping it running at 60fps. That's been monumental for us. To be sitting here today, duplicating it as we speak is... we can't believe it. Up until a month ago I was thinking: "Guys, guys! What's going on?"

    We guess it must have been fairly hectic of late...

    Heath-Smith: It's been non-stop. Non-stop. Since the decision was taken to delay it at Christmas, we've been working all hours, but that's gaming.

    I remember coming up to Core just before Chronicles was finished, and everyone had huge bags under their eyes and there were beds by desks...

    Heath-Smith: There are people who've been living there. On Monday night I didn't go home; Tuesday I was at home at 10pm.

    Are you planning to take a vacation, then?

    Heath-Smith: I am going away. I've personally had to cancel four holidays [laughs] - next month I'll be in Portugal having some sun! And for once I feel I can justify it! [laughs]

    Do you still enjoy working with Lara? You referred to yourself as her 'father' in the presentation.

    Heath-Smith: I'm very fortunate: I could stop working tomorrow if I wanted to. I do this because I love it. Some people might think I'm mad but I'm very passionate about what I do. I love playing games - Lara's my life. I'm more excited now than I ever have been, and this is six years on.

    You seemed especially excited about the "great tit physics"!

    Heath-Smith: [laughs] How cool is that? And they do work as well! [laughs]

    To sum up, why should the world be excited about the return of Tomb Raider?

    Heath-Smith: It's so hard to sum up. It's bigger, bolder and brasher than any other Tomb Raider game. It offers to me everything a gamer wants from a game - you know, pace, passion, great looks, animation. I play all sorts of games and for me it hits so many sweet spots.

    We've got people in the company working on other projects who are going to go out and buy this game. They won't be taking a disc from upstairs; they want to go into a shop, buy it and experience the whole thing - they know it's going to hit that sweet spot. How mad is that? That's passion. We're very passionate about what we do.

    Johnny Minkley

    Thanks Dave J Eidos Forum Member for the find

    Source : pczone.co.uk
  2. The Bot
    The Bot  
        Mi trovi su: Homepage #3785084
    si... si... "LARA MY LIFE" sarà meglio che parli dell'uscita del gioco (nn capisco l'inglese però nn ho visto date) altrimenti i fan di Tomb R ci penseranno loro a rendere la vita del signor Smith breve.

    :D :D :D

    <small>[ 24.06.2003, 23:19: Message edited by: rogan_black ]</small>
  3. The Bot
    The Bot  
        Mi trovi su: Homepage #3785085
    Ok Rogan..ma vedi su questo Forum almeno NOI Mod e Amm vari , cerchiamo di dare agli utenti delle certezze derivanti da comunicati ufficiali EIDOS o CORE DESIGN o LEADER . Appena questi usciranno saremo lieti di commentarli insieme a VOI . Il gioco c'è questo è sicurissimo...altre dichiarazioni ufficiali non ce ne sono .

    Da più parti si dice che è in atto una nuova masterizzazione priva di piccoli bug..
    meglio per NOI lariani non ti pare ?
    E se ciò è vero ...non si fanno centinaia di migliaia di copie in un giorno wink

    Ciò non toglie che si possa discutere di tutto ..aspettative e date di uscita comprese :D

  Lunga intervista a Jeremy Heath-Smith della CORE


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