16 June 2012

How much work is still to be done in the game - a statement’s been made [by Mike Fisher - President & CEO for Square Enix US] that it could be released at this point and it would be a perfectly satisfactory game – obviously you’re going for a bit higher than satisfactory – what bits will you be focusing on between now and the release?
(Asked by Karen)

So one of the things which we’ve tried to communicate, hopefully it’s come across pretty well, is that we don’t treat this lightly, we take this very seriously, that we’ve had the opportunity to take a fifteen year old franchise and bring it back to life in a way in which very few media have had the opportunity to do so and for the guys and the team who have worked on it, this is the game of their careers, right? How many people get the opportunity to do this?

And we have to be very careful that we don’t, after spending all this time, rush it and put it out in a window or at a time when we just don’t feel like it’s going to live up to the expectations that we want to set, you know, we’ve talked a lot over the last year about the work that’s gone into it, so really for us it was a case of –in times gone by we probably would have looked at the game right now – let’s polish it, put it in a box and ship it, right?

And it’s great, it’s playable from start to finish, but we made a promise, before we ever announced Tomb Raider we made a promise that Crystal Dynamics would be about quality over quantity, we didn’t want to rush things, we wanted to make sure it was done right and, you know, despite it being used a lot, it would be ready when it’s ready that’s really where we looked at it, it’s that, you know, we wanted to make sure that we delivered the best experience and the time that we’ve got between now and March next year, really the focus is to look at story, look at the way in which we can bring certain things in that get to shore up, maybe, some of the holes that we feel - after we’ve played it over and over and over again – need to be fixed, you know, that we, you know, have an opportunity to do something that we really very rarely, ever get to do and that’s play our game, a thousand times, and actually question some of our questions, some of the decisions that we’ve made and make sure that shore them up and put a great amount of polish in and deliver a great experience.

Regarding the more vulnerable Lara, coming from a point where she doesn’t have any special skills or even a deliberate aim to get into a situation like this – how do you go about creating a vulnerable female protagonist that doesn’t fall into stereotype? I know that in the demos we’ve seen - obviously early in the game - the men are very predatory and I know that there has been some concern that this is putting her in the role of a victim and that she’s going to be stronger because she’s been victimised...
(Asked by Karen, this was also a concern at the TRF)

So I think there’s two sides to that, one is - taking away the victimisation side for a second - we want you to go on a journey to see her grow, we want you to see her become something which is going to stand the test of time throughout the franchise.

In regards to the sort of victimisation, that will play out in the story as to why you feel that way and there’s going to be “eureka” moments that make you go, okay, now I understand, it all comes together, and without getting into spoilers, we don’t do things for the sake of saying victimisation is going to be a great way to get people to go “oh my god, let me talk about it”, there’s a reason for everything we do, right, so we’re going to have to - so in some sense some of the negativity that we’ve read – and it’s very, very little that we’ve read, over the last couple of days, I think that when people see the demo and they talk to us they quickly realise what our intentions are.

I think that’s always going to be there when you show a very small portion of your game, a snippit, but I think after people play the game they’ll quickly realise that we have built a game that has been mapped out from minute to minute and there’s reason behind every decision that we’ve made.

And I think it would be fair to say, I wouldn’t want to put words in your mouth, but that the decisions that have been made have been made with thought and consideration rather than just a shortcut to – we want this emotional reaction--

Oh yeah, yeah, we’ve spent, you know, I can’t say how many times we’ve laboured over scenes, we’ve gone back to the motion capture studio more times with this game than I think we have on three games put together, because I think it’s about making sure that the scenes are played out correctly and the story has gone through many iterations to make sure that we deliver the start, middle and end to a scene, not just one particular emotion to one particular scene but there has to be a build up, you know – you watched that demo yesterday and what you saw was a side to a character like Whitman bringing you on this journey where you feel, okay, now I don’t trust him, he’s a little bit strange, a little bit cagey, and eventually you get to a point where you think ‘ah, now it’s starting to come together, but look at me, now I’m captured, thank you very much Whitman, you shouldn’t have done that’ – so everything feels like it’s got a start, middle and end and that it’s not just done for the sake of shock factor.

And on the game on the whole you’re confident that will be validated?

Yeah, yeah, exactly.

One question left – and can I just ask what question you would like to be asked in interview that you haven’t been asked ... and please answer!
(Asked by Karen)

(Laughs) What’s awesome is that question! That’s the question that...

Can I get a slightly fuller answer?? (Jokingly)

Well, yeah, slightly fuller answer, I’ll give you my perspective actually – interviews like this are the interviews that I love doing because we can talk a little more in depth, you know the game very well because you’ve been following what we’ve been saying and how we’ve been saying it and it’s great to be able to put meat on the bones and not say the same thing over and over again – I wish, and this is just an unfortunate – I get asked the same question so many times that sometimes I go, you’ve got me for the next fifteen minutes – ask me an awesome question that nobody else has asked!

You’ve read everything, right? You’ve obviously studied it really hard, and you know - it’s things like that that I feel not enough people pick, you know, look for the meat on the bones of what we’re saying and we’ve spent so much time passionately building this game, that I wish that sometimes people would ask the harder, harder, questions and get a little bit more deeper, but I think it’s opportunities like this where I can do that.

So I think this is very unique, this, you know, your line of questions and the rest of the team’s line of questions are things that we don’t always get asked because people are looking for the high moments, they want to kind of [clicks fingers] get it onto a website, get readers and this is more about the passion of what goes into making this.

I did have a question about dual pistols and whether they’ll come back if you’d wanted questions that had already been answered! 
(Asked by Tiernan)

Never say never! Never say never ...

(Thank you to Karl for answering our questions, they were very informative! And it was a real pleasure interviewing you. And thank you also to Meagan for setting up the interview and for inviting the ambassadors to the event! You're wonderful.)


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