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Interview: High Impact's Lesley Matheson On New Studios, Tech, And More
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Interview: High Impact's Lesley Matheson On New Studios, Tech, And More

May 16, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

So when you fake physics, do you do it with animation?

LM: Yeah, you do it with -- well, it's in the code, right? It's the way that they make things fall, and that sort of thing. There isn't a whole physics system controlling it; they just know how to fall at that rate, and bounce, and break.

It's basically a set of parameters, and the possible variations give it the illusion of a more robust physics engine.

LM: Yeah, if you're not making a game that has an important -- if you're not making Half-Life 2... I mean, Half-Life 2 has been a few years now -- you know, you want an amazing physics engine.

But if you're making something like Ratchet & Clank, why would you put in some really deep physics engine? I just don't see the point of that.

Yeah, and it's funny; when you play some of these games where they put in Havok, and really all it does is that guys fall over, and chairs fall over...

LM: I think that, well, this is the thing: people get very excited about features, in any industry, and I think that games is no exception. I think that people need to really sit, and look at their game, and really think about what it really needs.

What's going to make the game the best, right? Not what's going to be a bullet point to their publisher, but what's really going to improve the game they're working on.

Do you get a lot of that freedom, do you think? Especially since you're working with established property, and, you know, a first party publisher? Do you get the freedom to go in the direction that you want?

LM: I think so, because one of the things that's really great about working with first-party publishers, is they are really more concerned with the quality of the game than they are with the bottom line. I mean, what they're looking for is something that really shows off the power of their machine, right?

So at that point, if you're making something that's a great game, and you can show them: "Hey, look! This is going to make my game look better!" Or play better, or whatever, they're really accommodating about that.


Working with Insomniac, do they have some oversight into your products? Is there any sort of official oversight process?

LM: There is no official oversight process. I mean, we try to be accommodating with them -- it's based on their scripts, and we send them our scripts, so they know what's going on, and we're not killing off Qwark in one scene, and suddenly they're not writing Qwark into the next.

But beyond that, we do our own independent games, and make sure they don't conflict, and in some cases -- like with Secret Agent Clank, and Tools of Destruction -- we have some codes you can exchange, and stuff, but that's about the extent of it.

And is that because it's a trust relationship? Because of the history of some people at High Impact? Do you think that it facilitates that?

LM: That certainly does facilitate that; I imagine Insomniac would be more concerned if no-one at High Impact had previously worked on the Ratchet series. And part of it, too, is just the talent of the team.

I think that our team is talented enough to have shown that there isn't a lot of worry about checking on the property. There's no fear that we're suddenly going to destroy Ratchet, make him maneuver like a Mack truck, you know.

And they could always drive down the highway and storm the offices if they're unhappy with it.

LM: Well it's true, because we are only about five minutes from each other...


LM: So we probably could conduct raids on each other's offices if we wanted to. But that could just only end in sadness and Nerf weapons.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

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