Monday, 18 February 2008

Biohazard 2 romero ad 'making of' documentary

Credits to kotaku for finding this. i don't normally put stuff up on here you can easily find on other well known sites but this ones worth it i think. I'm a big fan of the works of George Romero, from the crazies to land, Ive enjoyed them all.
Ive also enjoyed the bio hazard, or resident evil series (anyone else think they should have stuck with bio hazard as the name?) and in a documentary for that on BBC2 about 3 years ago they interviewed the series' creator who stated he was heavily influenced by George Romero's living dead trilogy, and when making the ad's for the superb bio hazard 2 (one of my all time favourites and unbiasedly i can say its one of the best games in the genre) they got Romero in to direct one of the ad's.
Unfortunately they were never released over here and saw some trouble in japan as well, but now thanks to the Internet just Google em and there up there to find with ease.
This is something new however, again kudos to kotaku for this. its a documentary about the making of the commercials. interesting stuff if your a Romero or resi fan, I'm both so it was doubly as good.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

D: The Review

Now this is an obscure one for you tonight folks.
released in 1997 on the Saturn, the PlayStation and the PC. D was a game i have only ever heard of on chris' survival horror quest and so when i found a pristine ,'as new', copy in a bargain bin at game station i snapped it up for 99p and gave it a go.
my thoughts then?
D is... interesting lets open with that. You play a woman named Laura who begins the game entering a hospital, only to find all the residents of said hospital dead in puddles of there own blood. She is then approached by what i can only describe as a fluid membrane floating on air like a rippling window which envelopes her and changes the hospital into some sort of medieval castle.
and it just gets weirder from there.
D is a game in the same vein as the likes of Myst, a first person point and click adventure. which might be alluring for some but for me seemed quite a tedious idea, however it has to be said WARP (the games developers) pulled it off in a rather interesting way here.
though by interesting i also mean the way an ed wood film is considered a "cult classic". Good but only for a niche value rather than as a serious project as intended.
the booklet gives barely any information other than the controls and the fact that the game is 2 hours long. I'm not kidding your given a 2 hour time limit to finish it. imagine my surprise when 10 minutes in I'm asked to please switch to disc 2 of 3 all ready.

The plot is as surreal as the locale', very little info is given as you play. you press start and are then forced to figure everything out on your own with no help nor hint given from the game except for a 'hint mirror' which can be used 3 times, once for each disc i imagine.
the basic feel of D is surreal, random dead bodies spiked into the back of doors, glowing bugs triggering visions of murder, talking water bubble's in the air and mirrors that try to grab your are only some of the bizarre spectacles on offer.
and finally a shenmue style real time event does occur with no margin for error, now that really bugged me.

The puzzles range from mind bogglingly simple to completely random, like finding a statue with 8 coloured buttons in front and absolutely no guidelines on what your supposed to do. this was really vexing given the time limit since you could breeze through all the puzzles till one final one on disc 3 stumps you for 30 minutes, and god forbid they could put a pause button in. granted that might be because they wanted you to feel the stress of it to complete the experience but in my opinion most gamers don't like being out and out forced into a corner gaming wise and this lack of freedom comes off as quite restrictive.
though its not all bad. for the time the graphics are very impressive. the opening camerawork and music throughout are enjoyable, not unlike a cheap, albeit entertaining, indie horror flick.
Basically i would give a most fitting analogy to this by comparing it to one of those interactive rides at a theme park like the haunting or something. it genuinely feels ,at 2 hours in length, like an interactive short film. it can be played in one sitting, which to some might be a gripe, to others it means getting a story without putting dozens of hours in.
personally i enjoyed it for its uniqueness but as a stand alone horror game theres many better options out there. but if your a collector this is a neat little obscurity that i can at least say is worth a look just to experience it once.

id give D reasonable [3/10]

Friday, 8 February 2008

Danny Interviews Patrick J. doody, one of the writers of silent hill 5

Just on a spur of the moment impulse on learning that he co-wrote silent hill 5. i sent a message to patrick asking if it was cool to do a mini interview about sh5 for the racoon city times blog, and surprisingly he said yes.
Some questions have been unanswered, for good reason, i know i for one wouldnt like the story to be given away before i played it. Imagine being told the ending to silent hill 2 after only 20 minutes play.

yeah, that'd pretty much suck wouldnt it?.

So ,on to the Q&A.

Whats been your role in 5's creation?
- My writing partner, Chris Valenziano and I were hired as the game's writers. Now, that term "writer" has a different meaning in electronic gaming than it does in television or film. On a game, the entire design team has a large hand in doing much of the writing. Even before we knew that there was a Silent Hill 5 happening, The Collective had broken story and compiled a summary of the game's events - all of which were written by the lead designer, the lead artist and the lead level designer. So, when Chris and I came on to the game, our first task was to look at that summary — which is several pages long and very detailed — and start to poke holes where needed. Now, this process began almost two years ago. Since then, the story has changed in several places, which is due to the collaborative efforts of the whole team. As you start to produce the game, you realize that certain story elements don't really gel with game play or you might discover that we can't really make more than a dozen separate heads for characters, so you start to whittle down the NPCs in the game. It's a very delicate balancing act between your narrative and all of the elements that go into production.
Unlike writing a movie script, a process in which the writers generally work on their own to produce a 100-page screenplay, writing Silent Hill 5 was written over a series of months, working with the whole team to make sure that the house of cards wasn't going to fall down! Now, on top of all that work, we had to be very conscious of the entire Silent Hill mythology, so everything we worked on as a team, would then go to Konami to make sure that any references to previous characters or any rules regarding the Otherworld shifts fit in the overall lore of Silent Hill. And believe me when I tell you that rules do exist and you can't break them.
On top of working on the story, we had to write all the cinematics, environmental signage, hundreds of dialogue slugs, journal entries and the game manual. All in all, it was the most writing we’ve ever done for a project (and we've written a 300-page novel).

Have you played the games and if so whats your favourite?
I think one of the reasons Konami hired us was because I was such a huge fan of the series, was very knowledgeable of the game's lore and wanted the game to have continued success. I played the original Silent Hill the WEEK it came out and it was the scariest game I had ever experienced. When I started playing that game, I knew I was seeing the future of horror gaming and I couldn't get enough. It's actually an amazing experience to now be a part of the series after having been a fan for so long.
Now, regarding my favorite, I know the fans love Silent Hill 2, and Silent Hill 2 certainly elevated the game to the direction that the series has gone. However, I'm a big fan of Silent Hill 3. I love all the characters - Heather, Cartland, Vincent - they are all so colorful and have great motivations. I also like that installment for its expanding history of The Order. Overall, Silent Hill 3 really feels like a complete experience for me - from great game play to fantastic story.

Since its a survival horror game would you say Silent Hill 5 is the scariest narrative in the series so far?
I think when we talk about Silent Hill and a "scary" story we are talking about two different things. Overall, the game's scares will be the biggest we've had, and that's not just jump scares - the eerie feeling of dread will be heightened because the designers can really immerse you emotionally through amazing environments and wild-looking demons. However, story wise, Silent Hill hasn't typically been “scary,” as it's more about the depths of madness and terror it takes the player. Clearly I can't talk about the story of the game, but I can say that we have worked very hard on making it the most disturbing drama of the entire series. My hope is that players will be affected by the game's end.

without giving away any spoilers will we learn anything more about the history of silent hill?
Hmm...tough question because I would love to spill the beans on some of the story, but that would ruin the fun! Here's what I can say about Silent Hill and this installment - you will discover some new secrets about Silent Hill by way of how its history has influenced a much larger society than you may have previously thought. And that's almost saying too much!

how would you describe the protagonist of silent hill?
Alex Shepherd feels very new to the series. He's less a victim of circumstance and more a man of action. Now, I know people are worried that having a soldier as the star of the game means he is somehow Rambo, let me assure you that he is not. However, he does take a much more proactive approach to the world around him. We tried to make him more aware of the strange events that unfold in the story, so if you believe in the theory that the player is the character, then I think he's going to feel more relatable to someone who would make rational decisions based on what he sees in front of him.

Thanks for the questions! I'm sure I haven't really explained much more than what is out there, but I was happy to throw in my thoughts. Good luck with your blog! I believe in horror gaming and hope that continued success of games like Silent Hill can keep horror fans entertained and terrorized at the same time.

Patrick J. Doody

So there you have it, whilst origins wasnt exactly on par with the rest of the series im eagerly looking forward to the next instillation in the silent hill series. So come on konami we cant wait much longer!