akelatal's forum posts
Second of all, we would shoot full-motion video of all of our in-game characters, a la Mortal Kombat. This would mean casting, travel down to LA to shoot against a blue screen (this was before the industry standardized on green screens -- I know, the history of it all!), and constant reshoots. Agonizing detail to come.
Third of all, we'd devised a rather ingenious (as we thought) idea for in-game advertising: billboards within the virtual space of the game. Players, traversing the city, would walk, drive, or fly past advertising emblazoned across and above buildings, just like in real life. No other game had done this by that time, and we thought we'd invented a particularly crafty addition to the standard marketing model. Who knew that it was an idea ahead of its time?
BIWN was going to be packed with references, in-jokes, and pop culture to the nth degree. We were psyched to start, we had the green light, and everything seemed as rosy as the light from a pixelated explosion. If only we knew exactly how apt that metaphor would prove to be in the months to come.
Excelsior, O Readers! As promised, here begins a behind-the-scenes look at life at Atari, back in The Day. The Day of the Jaguar, that ill-fated console of shattered hopes and dreams that wasn't the Dreamcast.
How did this begin? I moved to California from Hawai'i by following a friend.
BJ West (http://www.bjwest.net/ ), formerly of San Jose, CA, migrated to Honolulu to work at Ditto's, the copy shop (which is actually the Hawai'i branch of Kinko's, but by a coincidence that proves that the universe is a goofy place, there already was a copy shop named Kinko's in Hawai'i, so the mainland Kinko's had to change its name -- which has nothing to do with this story, *ahem*). I was on staff, we became friends, and he and his girlfriend lived there for about a year before deciding they were going back to Cali, Cali, Cali (yo, I don't think so). I flew the coop alongside them, and ended up in San Jose, living semi-on my own for the first time in my life.
BJ landed a job at Atari due to his credentials and talent as an artist, and eventually hired me on to work with him (based on quasi-nepotism and a smidgen of talent on my part) as a junior artist. After putting in the hours on titles like AvP, Hoverstrike, and the like, we were awarded the opportunity to create our own IP. Needless to say, we jumped on this like a trampoline made of taffy. Our eyes were bright, our spirits were high, and our future was dim. If we'd known then what we know now, we'd have hightailed it for the horizon. Instead, we pushed on and developed what we'd later call Black ICE\White Noise... a "cyberpunk adventure".
And it's here that our story truly begins.
I live in fear of the day this comes out on Mac. The Civilization series is an albatross upon my soul. I've been able to break free of its dark gravity at times, but the recidivism rate is HIGH.
For those of you wondering what it was like to work for Atari in the days of the Jaguar, I'm going to lay it all out for you. You'll wish you had been there, if only for the business meetings we used to conduct at The Brass Rail... and if you can't figure out what that was, you wouldn't have enjoyed it.
I hope this is the game that brings Tim the commercial success he's always deserved. I also hope that the game will give us more of a color palette than just browns and reds -- that sort of thing gets tiring on the eyes after awhile.