Jon Hare's Sensible resurrection • Page 2

"FPS gameplay hasn't evolved substantially for 20 years!"

Eurogamer: What did it cost to make Speedball 2: Evolution?

Jon Hare: It's hard to evaluate. Let's forget licence fees and stick to development. It would be somewhere in the region of Ł120,000. And that's a lot higher than most people spend on these games.

It happens to be a retro licence, but it looks like a very new, fresh game. I don't really want it to get stuck purely as a retro game, because if you look at what FIFA is - FIFA is just a conversion of a retro game, it's just in its nth iteration. If you look at what most first-person shooters are nowadays, they're just conversions of old games with new labels on them.

It's called Speedball 2: Evolution because it is an evolution of Speedball. It's not just simply a port. This is made from scratch with access to the source code by the Bitmaps, under my direction, so you'll see lots of elements of Sensible Soccer in the game: the competitions you've got, the underlying engine bits...

For now we're releasing it on iPhone and iPad and iPod Touch, and then we're developing it on PlayStation minis and we're looking at Android and Samsung Bada and Steam and Mac and Windows Phone 7. All these things are open. We take it platform by platform.

2

Eurogamer: Will we ever see a Speedball 3?

Jon Hare: I don't own the rights to Speedball. The rights to Speedball are owned by The Bitmap Brothers, which is Mike Montgomer's company. However, Mike and I are extremely close friends. I work with Mike representing and pushing out those Bitmap brands into the market. Yes there's every chance that if this is successful you'll see Speedball 3. Ultimately that's up to Mike, but I would have thought Mike would be very happy to do Speedball 3 if we're successful.

Eurogamer: Why are The Bitmap Brothers not a part of Tower Studios any more?

Jon Hare: Mike and I set up Tower Studios with a guy called John Phillips in 2004. A couple of years ago, because John and Mike were both busy, I bought them out of Tower, effectively. So now Tower is 100 per cent my company. But I still work very closely with Mike.

We are effectively developing a series of Bitmap games of which Speedball [2: Evolution] is the first.

Eurogamer: What are the other Bitmap games you're making?

Jon Hare: Well all the obvious Bitmap games are kicking around. We're pretty sure what we're going to do next but not 100 per cent convinced. The candidates out there for the next game will be from Gods, Xenon 2, Magic Pockets, Chaos Engine. That's about it. Maybe Cadaver.

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Eurogamer: Chaos Engine! Our readers will go bonkers for that!

Jon Hare: It's one of the frontrunners for what we're going to do next. I'm also looking at other games. I want to do a football game soon.

Eurogamer: A football game like Sensible Soccer?

Jon Hare: Something like that. That's something that's in the running. I'm talking to Codemasters about maybe doing some of our old games. The door's open to do those if we want.

Eurogamer: Can you say definitively whether it is Sensible Soccer you're making?

Jon Hare: No, I can't. It's something that's only at very early planning stages at the moment. We've not started the development of it yet. It's an idea at the moment. But it's something I want to do - it's the right thing to do for these platforms.

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About the author

Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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