I’ve known for a while that Jonathan Chey was working on an unannounced project with a virtual team that included Dorian Hart (both Irrational Games and LookingGlass alumni that I’ve kept in touch with, though the latter far more than the former). But somehow I missed it last month when that became the announced project Card Hunter. A free-to-play virtual collectible card game with an old-school dungeon crawl framework? With Richard Garfield consulting? Sign me up, please.
And now I see that RPG author and award-winning Dungeon Master (no, really, there is such a thing) Kevin Kulp is also involved. I used to play in Kevin’s group, and with him doing story development, that base is well and truly covered.
On a personal level, I have to say that it’s great seeing Jonathan going for it with this venture. I know that PC-based strategy gaming is near and dear to his heart. Card Hunter is due some time next year, and has jumped high on my list of anticipated games.
In a quirk of memory, I discovered a glaring omission when I went back and listened to that GAMBIT podcast. Matthew asks about the origins of the Thief mission “Undercover,” where you infiltrate an enemy space using false credentials. During the interview, I couldn’t remember where that idea had come from. Listening to the question afterwards, I immediately recalled the answer I should have given.
You see, back in Terra Nova, we had this code for easily swapping among various stats and graphics for different suits of powered battle armor, because you had a choice of mission load-out. But, military uniforms being what they are, they all used much the same art style. To showcase the ability to swap suits, then, we came up with the idea of a mission where you’d wear space pirate armor to infiltrate an enemy base. Later, during Thief development, we went back to the well of that stealth mission when we picked the concept for “Undercover.”
If you’ve listened to the podcast, you’ll remember how part of the discussion has to do with the extent to which the game concept influences the feature set, and the extent to which the opposite is sometimes the case. The pirate mission in Terra Nova was definitely a good example of the latter.
It’s been just over 10 years since LookingGlass Studios went out of business, and I lost my first job in the game industry. My coworker Mike Chrzanowski (two-time coworker, actually, since he’s now at Vicarious Visions) videotaped the last day of business, and has just put it up on YouTube.
I can’t help but have a mixture of reactions, of course. I thought at the time that it was odd (and Mike is very often odd, usually in a good way), but I sure am glad now that he did it. Memory is such a hazy thing, and it’s good to see all of this again.
I don’t even remember helping to come up with that puzzle that Marc Leblanc mentions, the one where you have to take the severed head to the retina scanner. I always thought that puzzle was awfully clever, and now I know why!
I’m pretty sure that’s me in the background audio of Steve Pearsall’s shot, talking about how the then-unreleased Deus Ex was going. I’d just recently taken a week’s vacation down in Austin, and had spent some time visiting Ion Storm and giving them comments on the game. Hence my “Special Thanks” appearance in the game credits.
I was so damn young! I was so happy, even with what was going on, just to have shared it with people I liked and respected so well.