EDGE MAGAZINE #2

 I derive a deep satisfaction from that. There was no satisfaction to be got at the time of the game’s completion in ’03 however. Everyone was wrung out with exhaustion from continuous panic attack patch-ups and disaster management and we knew in our heart of hearts that is wasn’t going to fly. Too many of the original ideas had been left uncompleted. Too much of the innovative vision had been compromised.


YOUR QUESTIONS:

I have many strongly held opinions on the way things worked, or didn’t, at Core but I want to limit myself to facts - as much as I’m able.


Q- How did you get involved with Core Design and the Tomb Raider games?

A- I had been working in the games industry as a CG artist for about six years when a good buddy got in touch to ask me if I was available to churn out a bit of dialogue for Fighting Force II for Core where he worked. He was calling on behalf of the management and knew I had just completed my first novel The Cappadocian Aengelus (175,000 words) in my own time and was looking to get paid work as a writer. Well, I did the gig, got paid, Fighting Force II came out and I heard nothing more for a while. That was in 1998 or ’99 I think.


Then in late May 2000 my buddy got in touch again saying the management at Core needed some writing chores doing. Could I come over to Derby. When I arrived in Derby, at the impressive building with so many cool posters of previous games and life sized Lara models in the foyer, I knew this was a once in a life time’s chance laid out in front of me begging to be scooped up and run with. As it turned out I was told, in that first meeting, that they were looking for some new directions for Lara. The TR games were in a rut and needed fresh thought and direction. A small team had been trying to bash ideas out for six months and had got nowhere. What could I do for them? I was asked for ideas and I improvised, generating concepts off the top of my head as the meeting progressed. They wanted something groundbreaking and breathtakingly new…and yet…and yet spookily similar, so as not to jettison the identifying hallmarks of one of the most successful worldwide franchises. Oh, and could I come up with at least one character capable of supporting a spin off franchise? Did I have any suggestions how a story could be strong enough to span three massive, self contained games? I did. Coming up with ideas has never been a problem for me. I had a wealth of thematic possibilities that could work; many had been my personal obsessions for decades. Now, given the freedom of this big playground to run around in they could finally see the light of day. All I saw ahead was golden opportunity and a massive playground full of wild rides. I tore into this opportunity like someone asked to personally redesign Disneyland and being paid good money to do so.


When I left several hours later I had been offered the gig. When could I start? How about 1st July? Sure, see you then. And that’s what happened. I worked on Tomb Raider VI - Angel Of Darkness for nearly three years and it was a roller coaster ride - with a crash ending.


Q- What considerations do you have to take into account when writing for a videogame as opposed to a novel?

A- This is a huge question needing an entire series of lectures…but…OK, let’s just say that, as already explained, the story would have to be capable of carrying three strong, stand-alone games, over a possible 6-8 years’ development time. The launch of this trilogy would be an epic, used to establish the themes and through-characters that would power the series.