Videogame Lifer • Page 2

Lara Croft legend Ian Livingstone on a very varied career.

Eurogamer: Looking back, how do you feel about your career?

Ian Livingstone: I've been privileged and lucky to have built an exciting, rewarding career out of turning my hobby of games into a business.

Eurogamer: What's a day in the life of Ian Livingstone like?

Ian Livingstone: Varied. Eidos, as you know, was acquired by Square Enix recently. The reason they bought Eidos was not to take all our amazing IP like Hitman, Thief, Tomb Raider and Champ Manager and take it back to Tokyo to develop. Far from it.

They were buying the IP but also the expertise of our studios, the ability to make games in our great studios for a global audience. So rather than just being a Japanese-facing entity with Square Enix products, apart from Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, which reached a global audience, they now had a big portfolio of games that addressed a global market.

Getting back to me, as Life President, within the company I sit on our green light committee, which gives a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to all games being considered, and also whether games in development meet the milestone.

I visit our studios occasionally to give them the benefit of my wisdom of my ancient frame. I do special projects. I act as an ambassador on a global basis. I do a lot of public speaking around the world. I lobby government on issues like production tax credits and skills agenda.

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Ian Livingstone. On the right, obviously.

Right now I'm involved with the Livingstone Hope Skills Review. The Culture Minister Ed Vaizey asked me in the summer to look at the whole talent pipeline of the computer games industry.

Quite clearly there's a skills issue in the UK, and we want to make sure UK studios have access to great UK talent. All the studios are saying they can't get the right talent over here. We don't want more production moving overseas. We don't want to encourage even more studios having to employ overseas talent. We want to make sure we grow the right talent in the UK. That's taking up time.

I'm also one the GamesAid trustees, and the vice chair of the BAFTA Games Committee, chair of the Computer Games Council for Skillset, and do some advisory roles. I also tinker around with a few investments in the social games space.

Eurogamer: Not much then.

Ian Livingstone: I'm just a young kid having fun.

Eurogamer: Eidos' next big game is Deus Ex: Human Revolution from Eidos Montreal. Will it live up to the hype?

Ian Livingstone: It's been quite a long time in development but it's been well worth the wait.

Eurogamer: What is Eidos' expectation for it?

Ian Livingstone: It's a legacy product. Warren Spector of Ion Storm put out two amazing games over 10 years ago. PC Zone voted Deus Ex as the best PC game of all time. Being a legacy product with a huge amount of heritage, you've got to live up to the expectations of the consumers.

I can safely say enough time is being given to realise the potential of the game so not to disappoint the audience.

Eurogamer: Commercially, do you see it being a monster hit?

Ian Livingstone: I would hope so. At the end of the day it's a niche product, of course. Augmentation in the far future, the battle between warring factions – it's a tough subject matter for some people, but it's going to be of such amazing visual quality that people who have not been drawn into science-fiction before might give it a go. I would hope so.

Eurogamer: Were you surprised by the success of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light?

Ian Livingstone: No. I was hoping it was going to do fantastic. It was brilliant for several reasons. One, the camera was pulled back and there was an isometric view, and you could see a lot more of the game area in which Lara was playing.

More importantly, the fact you could play single-player or two-player cooperatively gave a whole new dimension to the Tomb Raider experience. We had our concerns as to whether anybody would want to play anybody other than Lara, but everyone seems perfectly happy to play as her companion.

Eurogamer: As the first downloadable Tomb Raider game, was it an experiment?

Ian Livingstone: Yeah. There was a lot more action and jumping around and instant, fast action – as you would expect on a download title.

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.

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