Drew Markham


Februari 21, 1999 on gangland.org/interviews/dminterview.shtml
A = Drew Markham (Original Concept, Design and Direction)
Q = Slade

Q: Kingpin is based heavily on a mobster theme with a modern touch, what mob related movies do you and the guys around the office love to watch. Also what if any movies have had some sort of influence with the game (any references in the game).

A: Tons of movies, some mob-themed, some not. All the favorites, of course, the first two Godfathers, Scarface (Pacino and Paul Muni from the original), Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Angels with Dirty Faces (Cagney and Bogart), Midnight Run (Dennis Farina still rocks), Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Casino, etc. And, for non-mob movies we like Twelve Monkeys, Blade Runner, City of the Lost Children and Dark City, all for their ambience.

All of these movies have had a huge influence on the game, as we can't really distinguish between "just watching" and "being influenced". (It's all a blur!)

Q: Does the game live up to everything that you thought it would when you first started on development.

A: That's an interesting question. When I start pre-production on a game I usually go pretty overboard in a design sense. I don't generate huge design docs (Kingpin's are about 10 pages), but there are strong gameplay themes that I usually want to explore, as well as technological innovations. I've done this enough to know that you never get everything that you want, so as the process evolves the best stuff sticks and the weaker stuff is weeded out.

At this point, the game is actually beyond what I had anticipated we would be able to do. Working in all of the RPG and Adventure game elements into an FPS is no trivial matter, but I think that the balance is really cool right now. And, on the technology side we were able to accomplish alot of the original ideas, including the 15 segment characters (for wounding individual areas), true gourard lighting for that cool "film noir" effect, plus tons of other little things.

Ultimately, with time and money being major considerations, I think that the game will definitely live up to my original "abstract" expectations.

Q: Although I know the game isn't finished and stuff may still be changed is there anything that was cut out of the game that you would have really loved to be in it.

A: I think that everything that's been cut up to this point was done so because it just didn't work in the game as a whole. There hasn't been any real painful surgery yet.

Q: Recently a lot of game companies have been taking heat for releasing games that have had a lot of bugs, and in some cases a patch was needed to finish the game. What steps if any are you taking to ensure this doesn't happen with Kingpin.

A: I know that this won't be an answer that most people want to hear, but this situation isn't going to get any better with time, for us or any other developer. Every title that we start is much more difficult than the one that preceeded it. There's the new technology curve, the fact that somebody else's game will do some cool little thing that everyone expects you to have in yours, models get more complex, textures have to approach photo-realism, on and on. The only real way to put out a bug-free title is to make it, finish it, test the crap out of it and fix all of the mistakes. That, or just doing a "cookie-cutter" game that essentially rips-off a proven title with cosmetic changes. Unfortunately, there are very few developers in the biz right now who can afford to take former approach. The economics of this business are brutal, and the meter is running from production day one.

Its a tough balancing act between getting in all of the cool stuff you want and doing it in a timely fashion. That's why we're so thankful for the guys at id software, paving the way with new technology and getting it out in a timely manner. If we didn't have that jumping off point it would be virtually impossible to create an innovative product and the technology required to run it without it costing an astronomical amount of money. Also, by the time you'd get it finished, it would probably be so stale that few people would want to play it. There are exceptions, of course, but its a dangerous risk.

As for KP, we're just testing constantly, looking for every little leak that we can find. I have personally played the maps in the first episode at least a thousand times, if not more, and I'll probably play them another thousands times before its all done. Of course, we'll have a ton of QA guys and beta testers banging on it as well, so we'll do our best to spot as many problems as we can. But, with the level of complexity that gamers demand today, there are going to be bugs. Our job is to keep them to an absolute minimum.

Q: Any specific mods out there that you would like to see versions done for Kingpin when its released.

A: I'd love to see a lot of cool DM mods. I still think that there's some great innovations out there for DM that haven't been done yet. We're talking to a group right now who's interested in doing KP mods, and they have some cool ideas. I really love the idea of the community taking the game and making it there own. If Kingpin strikes the right chord with people I think that it will have a chance to generate some good community feedback and modification.

Q: Whats the favorite snack food around the office, any particular food or beverage you get a craving for when working late into the night.

A: Well, we do tend to keep a lot serious junk food around here, but I try to avoid it if at all possible. (Too much sitting on my ass staring at a monitor all day!) Of course, there's one snack food that no one can resist here at Xatrix; Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts. We gather around those boxes like apes around a monolith.

At night the biggest cravings are for Sushi and/or Japanese noodles. We're really lucky to have a killer noodle house right around the corner from the office.

Q: One of the things that has been pretty clearly stated is that Kingpin will have a lot of violence and some heavy language, what is your take on the UK and other European countries basically censoring games.

A: I think that censoring any entertainment product is crap. Obviously there will be a large contingent of people who think that this game is too violent, too harsh, too whatever, but that's fine. They don't have to buy it. They also don't have to go see any movies that they think might be potentially offensive. Fine, just don't tell me what I can and can't see, or what I can and can't play.

Of course, I don't advocate kids getting their hands on inappropriate entertainment product of any type. But, its ultimately up the parents to determine what their kids are or are not exposed to.

Q: When do you think a decision will be made regarding mac and linux client ports of Kingpin, and what is basically going into that decision as to whether to do it or not.

A: Those issues are under discussion right now, and we're looking into the viability of both ports. I think that the mac port will wind up happening without too much of a snag, linux bears a bit more investigation.

Q: Seems that more companies are doing more after the game is released, like valve working on TFC as a free addon, are you planning anything like that to follow up the release to maybe round out the DeathMatch features.

A: Well, Valve has a unique situation in that they went out and got the guys who originated TFC. I think that if Kingpin takes off and gets good consumer support, we will certainly want to see its on-line presence evolve. There are so many options for that right now that we'll have to wait and see what happens once the game is released. Of course, we're doing everything we can to make a cool DM experience "out of the box".

Q: Any luck finding a voice guy to do the lead character I know it was mentioned you were having some trouble because of some of the things he was required to say.

A: Heh...Yeah, the language is pretty brutal. But, it definitely fits in the world that we've created. We're looking around right now and have some pretty interesting candidates for the main character voice. I'll be sure to keep you guys posted once a decision is made.


FREDZ | Saturday 12 December 2020 - 22:44
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