EDGE MAGAZINE  #1

REPLIES TO Q & A FROM EDGE MAGAZINE 2007.

To Mark Walbank at Edge:


Hi there Mark – I received your questions ok and I want to say thanks for taking an interest in my work on Tomb Raider VI.


Angel Of Darkness was a great opportunity for me to stretch myself creatively at that time and I have used much of what I learned and have built on it ever since. These days I don’t spend much time thinking about that part of my past. My entire focus is on current projects, mainly a six volume series of novels: The Shadow Histories, but I can spare some time to chew over old memories. There were many good times at the start of AOD, very good times indeed, creatively speaking. Even as I type this I’m looking at framed images on my wall, poses of the main CG characters signed by the voice talent that brought them to life: Eric Loren as Kurtis, Jonell Elliot as Lara and Joss Ackland as the irredeemable Eckhardt. They were all wonderful to work with.


It’s a great surprise to me that the Angel Of Darkness still evokes so much interest four years after its release. I get enquiries all the time about the history of the story’s development, the underlying themes, what the main/supporting characters would have done next and so on. Sadly, and with the greatest respect to the fans, I simply don’t have time to reply. The fact is, I only became aware that the game had fans at all about fourteen months ago when members of the KTEB [Kurtis Trent Estrogen Brigade] contacted me through Eric Loren. He and I had kept in touch after I worked with him and the rest of the cast directing the voice recordings in London, sometime in 2001. Until I heard of the KTEB from Eric the game seemed to have sunk completely into a, possibly, well deserved obscurity, Core having lost the franchise and fragmenting as it did with many people going their own disparate ways in various states of disillusion and dismay. AOD played like a dog and did not get good reviews and as far as I was concerned that was the end of it. Finis. I moved onto other things, a good deal scarred and wiser, determined to follow my own path.


So, it was a wonderful surprise to hear that large numbers of fans worldwide appreciated the detailed research and clues I had laboured to put into the AOD storyline. Clearly the majority of what I incorporated into the plotting and background went over the heads of most people at Core at the time. In fairness we were all under tremendous pressure focussing on our own areas of expertise as the insane games industry circus careered along. It was also obvious that no one understood what a phenomenal amount of labour went into constructing narrative groundwork on which a game of that scale depended. Cohesive story with internal consistent logic – who cares! It’s the game play that matters! I heard that sentiment more than a few times over three years.


Regardless, I was determined to make the most of this opportunity to pack in as much of my own thematic obsessions as I could get away with and still have it work effectively in a gaming situation. Obscure references were dropped in everywhere, in names, as locations, as clues. Background histories of characters were chronicled to depths that gave me intense satisfaction as a writer even though I knew only the tip of these biographical icebergs would ever show in the game. I was also highly excited by the possibility of writing the novelisation of the game at some point and even suggested it to the powers-that-woz. Came to nothing of course but at least I knew the details were locked into the game for anyone motivated enough to ferret them out. Which, of course, is exactly what is happening now, four years later.