When Comics Met Videogames • Page 3

Cecil and Gibbons reunite beneath a steel sky.

Charles Cecil: I agree with Dave - I think it's rather nice to be considered sort of irreverent, particularly amongst people who one doesn't hold in high regard, not to mention any particular politicians or newspapers... At the same time it's absolutely vital that we are responsible, of course, but to be viewed with suspicion by a large proportion of the population who don't get it is perversely pleasing

Dave Gibbons: What it comes down to is that there is good entertainment and there's bad entertainment. There are some comics that I read when I was a kid that do look kind of trashy now. But there are some that I read that actually stand up very very well. I like to think that, in a very convenient way, this brings us back to Beneath a Steel Sky, as it seems to be one of those games. You know it was state of the art 15 years ago but it still looks really good today and is just as good a game as it ever was.

Eurogamer: So you are both confident of Beneath a Steel Sky's contemporary appeal to gamers?

Charles Cecil: Very much so. There's so much excitement about the game, obviously partly from people who played it the first time around and loved it, but also a real groundswell from people who didn't play it 15 years ago. As a result I am confident of its appeal. One of the things that players will very quickly realise is that this is absolutely not just a quick port. We spent an awfully long time honing the game and adjusting it to fit well within the context of this particular platform. Part of the reason we've been able to do that is we don't have publisher who has funded us: we've been able to self-fund and through that control the development and timing of the release. It's been extraordinarily liberating.

Eurogamer: What videogames did you both enjoy when you were growing up?

Dave Gibbons: They didn't exist yet! Actually, I used to like the obvious classics: Pong, Space Invaders and so on. But the game I was particularly fond of was Harrier Attack, a little L-Shaped set of pixels flying over some other little pixels, that was supposed to be a harrier jump jet taking on the Argies in the Falklands War. I completely believed that. Even before we owned the Amstrad CPC my son had a wooden-effect Atari where, in a similar feat of suspense and disbelief, three little red pixels and two blue pixels represented Superman flying over Metropolis. I look over my son's shoulders when he's playing things on Xbox today, and I'm blown away by where games have progressed to.

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Charles Cecil: I played an awful lot of Galaxians growing up. Then I discovered R-Type, which is just such a great game, isn't it? To me that's the pinnacle of the side-scrolling shooter genre; everything about it's just brilliant,. I remember when I was at Arctic Computing in the early eighties when we saw Impossible Mission come out, and that looked so beautiful and fabulous. I don't know, there were so many games I got hooked on. I nearly broke up my marriage over Warcraft 2.

Dave Gibbons: You're obviously not a serious gamer, Charles, or the marriage would have had to go...

Charles Cecil: Ha! More recently I thought the first GTAIII was just extraordinary in every way. The thing about having been in the industry for 30 years is the pleasure of being astounded again and again as new things come through: new gameplay ideas, amazing visuals, astonishing audio. I feel sorry for younger people because they take it all for granted. They don't realise quite how extraordinary it all is, because they haven't been through the evolution we witnessed.

Dave Gibbons: I think technological evolution is a wonderful thing - just as in comics we've had better printing methods, computer colouring and higher-grade paper, things that really do make a difference to the experience. But even so, I still feel that the quality of the story and the narrative is what actually sells comics, so it's really interesting for me to see that parallels between the two media that started off rough and ready, but are really becoming more sophisticated in appearance, but have the same heart beating at their cores.

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