On Fallout: We had a time travel [setting] with dinosaurs for a while
June 4, 2011 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Matt Barton's Matt Chat started as a series of discussions on classic video games from Elite to System Shock 2. It now features interviews with the likes of Chris Avellone (Planescape Torment), Tim Cain (Fallout pt.1, pt.2); Arcanum, Brian Fargo (The Fall of Interplay, Waste land and Fallout, Bard's Tale and Wizardry), John Romero (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake and the infamous Daikatana) and Al Lowe (Leasure Suite Larry pt.1 and pt.2).

Max Payne with Scott Miller.
Duke Nukem 3D with a side dose of Carmack, Romero and thoughts on Duke Nukem Forever with Scott Miller.
Nancy Drew with Jessica Chiang.
Ralph Baer, inventor of Magnavox Odyssey.
History of Cinemaware (Defender of the Crown etc.) with Bob Jacob.
Syndicate with Sean Cooper.
Rebecca Heineman, a fourt-part interview.

There are also some interviews on the early days of these creators, as well as discussions of gaming classics.
posted by ersatz (12 comments total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
I am COMPLETELY geeking out over the Fallout/Wasteland stuff. I still remember beating Wasteland and dancing around with joy. Great post!
posted by hecho de la basura at 7:50 AM on June 4, 2011

I was debating whether to hold out and do an ultra-analytical Fallout post (which I adore), but there was more interesting stuff here, so I decided to release it to the wild.
posted by ersatz at 7:55 AM on June 4, 2011

"People have compared us to the Beatles, and they weren't really very far off."

I'll give you one guess which interview that was from.
posted by empath at 8:52 AM on June 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

I would have LOVED to see the Fallout post. I, too, adore Fallout, I think mainly because it has so many echoes of Wasteland!
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:54 AM on June 4, 2011

Romero on what made Wolf3D so big: "The sound, and the violence, and the speed."
posted by TheKM at 1:13 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

System Shock 2 - great game, or GREATEST game?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:07 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Ersatz: I'd love to see that Fallout post
posted by Canageek at 6:01 PM on June 4, 2011

This is all pretty great. I wish, for the System Shock 2 episode, that he had been able to interview Ken Levine. Man, SS2 was a great game. I remember playing that late into the night in the middle of winter in my mom's house and my mouse hand getting stiff. I also remember dying over and over again and having to wait maybe 90 seconds for the game to reload.

The interview with Scott Miller is so...I don't know. He's obviously so bitter and disappointed about how everything turned out with Duke Nukem Forever, and Max Payne and Prey to a lesser extent. It's a shame, but 3D Realms wasn't able to scale up their games to modern sizes. It sounds like a massive project management failure.

I wonder what George Broussard and Scott Miller are going to do with Apogee now?
posted by boghead at 6:33 PM on June 4, 2011

There was one perfect summer in my childhood when I would wake up every morning, watch Enter the Dragon, and beat Defender of the Crown. Looking back, I guess that was kind of a bizarre ritual, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 9:44 PM on June 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

These are so great, thanks for posting, I never would have run across these but wow! I'm totally into video game history but for instance I'm probably never going to find and install Elite. I've always heard about it and felt like I wanted to know more. Now I can watch a few minutes of video and not only can I clearly see and understand Elite's influence of games like Eve and Mass Effect, I also get a capsule history of the studio and its relationships with publishers, etc. Super cool.

Plus the interviews? Chris Avellone on the origin of Planescape:Torment? I hope you'll pardon me as I quote a big chunk at length, just for my own reference . . . this game is a huge touchstone for me (and is playable on gog.com, so I hear), and game studio inside baseball is fascinating, so.

"When I first came to interview at Interplay, Mark O'Green, the division director at the time, he said 'So, if you were doing a game set in the Planescape universe, how would you start it?' and I'm like 'oh, I would start at the death screen, and then just tell the story about what happens after that.' And he goes, 'Oh, that sounds interesting, do you want a job?' I was like 'Sure.' . . .

. . . we had the Planescape license, we weren't doing much with it, and then Fergus(?) came to me one day, 'Hey, we're doing Baldur's Gate, we can license the engine from BioWare, we have the Planescape license, can you do a Planescape campaign setting with the Infinity engine?' I'm like, 'Sure' . . .

And so, otherwise, that was really the only parameter to it, and I was allowed to sort of just, you know, like, grab the reins and go, so like, just wrote a cool story in the Planescape universe, tried to think of some really cool characters that compliment the license, and then uh, I had a really strong lead programmer and lead artist, and just a bunch of just really dedicated people, I don't know, it was just a lot of fun . . .

It was kind of under the radar for a while at Interplay, like Fergus had input, some other producers had input, but overall that small team understood what the game was supposed to be really well, and we just went from there, and the fact that there wasn't a lot of, sort of, switchbacks, back and forth, in terms of where the game should go, that definitely helped a lot. And I'll argue too that that had a lot to do with how Fallout 1 turned out . . .

I think because Tim and Leonard and Jason, uh . . no one at Interplay really felt that Fallout would be more than a B product, and this isn't a big revelation, this has been said before, because people weren't expecting great things from Fallout, they didn't pay as much attention to it and they didn't interfere with it that much, so I think that has a lot to do with the final product that came out, and I think Planescape was in a similar situation, although I think Fallout 1 definitely turned out better."

posted by chaff at 12:13 AM on June 5, 2011

SS2 was a great game and SHODAN remains one of the best villains around.

and then Fergus(?) came to me one day

That was Feargus Urquhart.
posted by ersatz at 3:57 AM on June 5, 2011

Heh this is a way late comment, but I'm watching a bunch of the MattChat videos and it's funny and frustrating . .
"OK, we don't have a lot of time left, so let's get right to the game!"
:: shows intro screens for three minutes ::

Seriously though I love this guy.
posted by chaff at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2011

« Older I hope this lives with him for the rest of his...   |   "If you're not part of the solution, you're part... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments