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Still Alive: Kim Swift And Erik Wolpaw Talk Portal
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Still Alive: Kim Swift And Erik Wolpaw Talk Portal


March 25, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 8 of 8
 

I wanted to ask what other games you found good or interesting, either from a design or writing standpoint in recent times.

KS: It's been awhile, but Katamari Damacy I thought was a really, really interesting design. Portal sort of has a similar feel to it. We've got one game mechanic, and one way of interacting with the world. You just get practice at it and get more and more abilities as time progresses with the one game mechanic.

EW: Writing? Well, no. Plus, I'm totally obsessed over the last week with Patapon. Have you played that?

I have not.

EW: It's for PSP. It's amazing.

KS: It's fun to watch you play, actually.

EW: It's incredibly charming, and it's a super-clever hybrid of a rhythm game and an RPG and a strategy game. I can't stop thinking about it.

KS: And the art style is really cool.

EW: Yeah, the art style is really neat, and it just all completely works together in this little package. It's cute, but really, really deep. That's my big game of the moment.

I'll definitely play it. I've been looking at it and thinking about it.

EW: You should make the plunge, because it's awesome.

KS: I'm actually considering buying a PSP because of the game.

I do own a PSP. I don't own a PS3.

EW: Yeah, I don't own a PS3 either.

I only know one person who has one.

EW: A PS3? Yeah, we have a few people at work, but for the most part... although there are games coming out now that I'd like to play. I would like to play Drake's Fortune. So it's like if there are one or two more games that come out and I really want to play at home on the PS3, I think that's going to drive me over the edge.

KS: Ratchet & Clank, maybe.

EW: Yeah, I want to play Ratchet & Clank. I really love Ratchet & Clank games, but...

It's not necessarily worth buying a PS3 over.

EW: I just haven't finished... I've got a backlog of Ratchet & Clank games on the PS2 and the PSP, and there's a new PSP Ratchet & Clank coming out soonish, I think. I need to finish those before I buy a PS3 for it.

Narrative-wise?

EW: Dialogue-wise, any game Planet Moon has made, those guys are incredibly funny writers. They have a really good... they're the only team I know who brings the actors in all together in the studio, so they play off each other.

I think it helps a lot of their comedy. And Tim's games. I had a chance to see Brutal Legend about a month ago. They're working on that, and it's awesome. That's going to be great.

Concept art for Tim Schafer's upcoming Brutal Legend

They actually do that in Japan more. They bring all the voice actors in the same place. I think it's a really good idea, but obviously it's hard to schedule.

EW: It's hard to schedule, and I think there's some practical problems with it, too. I'd still like to try it someday.

You should. What do you think of the narrative in Call of Duty 4? I think in terms of myself, personally, in terms of the big-budget blockbuster-type game, I never felt like it was stupid or fake.

EW: No, Call of Duty 4, actually... I don't know why it wasn't nominated for best writing at the GDC. Yeah, Call of Duty 4 has set the bar on military-themed shooters, because I've never been interested in the story in a military-themed shooter. A lot of the Splinter Cell games, I can't button through the talky parts fast enough.

But Call of Duty 4 had arguably -- since Half-Life 1 -- it had the most awesome...the opening train ride scene was just great. And I don't want to spoil things, but all the twists in general... it was really great. And it didn't overstay its welcome, and even its gimmicky levels, like the...

The Ghillie Suit?

EW: The Ghillie Suit level is awesome. The one where you're doing the bombing run through the... I don't even know what they call that vision. Spy cam vision, or something? It's super-duper realistic, and in a way I had never really experienced before in a game. And it's a great game.


Article Start Previous Page 8 of 8

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