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View Full Version : Podcast 1 - "Wait... WHAT?!" The History and Concept of LCGoL



Keir
23rd Jul 2010, 23:22
Ladies and Jellyspoons,

I present to you the very first Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light podcast! (non-Xbox Exclusive).




'"Wait.... WHAT?!" - The History and Concept of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light'



In this episode, I speak to the lovely Forest Large (producer of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light) about the history and concept of the game. Forest covers topics including the origin of the game, how the team worked together to produce something so new and different and she also answers a ton of questions from the forum. (We received loads of questions, we're sorry if we didn't answer yours).




http://forums.eidosgames.com/LCGoLpodcasts/Forest.jpg
The lovely Forest Large (LCGoL Producer)



This is the first in a series. Keep an eye on the forums, I'll start another thread shortly inviting questions for the next podcast. Enjoy!




LISTEN NOW! (http://forums.eidosgames.com/LCGoLpodcasts/Podcast_1_Forest.mp3)
If you're experiencing trouble streamingit try
right clicking and selecting 'Save Target As' or 'Save Link As'.

Portal Croft
23rd Jul 2010, 23:49
Very good, I'll try to translate for my website and
understand better, why not get some things right XD :)

RoombelinaUK
24th Jul 2010, 00:27
Awww, ty so much for picking my question, keir! <3 :D
8 hours is a lot from a downloadable game, I'll definitely be taking breaks though... I don't wanna finish it in one sitting! :(

Keir
24th Jul 2010, 03:37
Awww, ty so much for picking my question, keir! <3 :D
8 hours is a lot from a downloadable game, I'll definitely be taking breaks though... I don't wanna finish it in one sitting! :(

Don't forget that it's worth playing in single player and co-op. The puzzles are slightly different, it's definitely worth doing both. And also, it'll take you longer to get all the achievements and do all the puzzles that are not on the critical path. Plus playing co-op with different people is tons of fun. There's lots of replay value there.

beretta
24th Jul 2010, 09:38
Hello Keir
i can no have the view is a pity it sounds interresting ?

chriss_99
24th Jul 2010, 09:50
"Chompyee!" :D Love it! Forest is so nice and has a lovely voice.
It was so funny to hear myself in the podcast but I'm glad I recorded it. So much fun!
Keir, I have to say that you're a fantastic podcast host. Seriously! :D

_Love2Raid_
24th Jul 2010, 19:14
Awesome podcast, thanks everyone who contributed and Keir and Forest! :D:thumb:

Raider126
24th Jul 2010, 20:52
I do love that big zombie fish :D
Thanks for the podcast :) You guys are awesome.

lilhanhan
24th Jul 2010, 21:46
Oh cool, I almost forgot about this! Downloading now. :D

Danielsun_
24th Jul 2010, 21:58
yay just heard my question! :D thank you :D

SE_Cath
25th Jul 2010, 11:38
Is there really going to be a contest if we get the first location right ? :D

chriss_99
25th Jul 2010, 12:31
Is there really going to be a contest if we get the first location right ? :D

I doubt it but, as Keir said, there will be a competition connected with "CHOMPEH"! :D

dark7angel
25th Jul 2010, 14:08
AWESOME!!!!!!!

Thanks Keir!!! :D (By the way, I love your voice! ^.^)

_Love2Raid_
25th Jul 2010, 17:34
Don't we already know the first location? A lot of people were talking about New Orleans on TRF...:confused:

chriss_99
25th Jul 2010, 17:48
New Orleans was one of the location they were considering, but the location they were working on during the first two weeks of the production is a secret.

M.A.
26th Jul 2010, 19:11
Hello. I'm M.A. from tombraiderforums.com. I've doubt I've been active in Eidos forum. Just a passive observer,I'm afraid. :D Anyway, I made the transcript for this podcast, if anyone is interested. Posted it in TRF and thought I would share it here. So here you go, enjoy:

_____________________________

Finally. The transcript is DONE!

I just need help for these few names here in terms of their spellings. Please let me know if I get them wrong and I'll amend them asap.


Dog Seven Angels - third question (EidosForums)

Silver (sylvia?) Raider - fourth question (trforums)

Jesse - fourteenth question - cross platform (trforums)And so, ladies and gentleman. Here is the very long, transcript. (Thank you Keir and Forest for the lovely podcast. I look forward to transcribing future ones.)

____________________

[Music]

Keir : Hello there and welcome to the first Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light podcast. I’m Keir, the Community Manager from Crystal Dynamics. And with me today I have Forest Large, or the lovely Forrest Large. Let’s give her the correct title. Who is the producer on Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Say hello Forest.

Forrest : Hello.

Keir : Er, we were going to be joined by Daniel Neuburger, the Creative Director. And, but he can’t make it cos’ his wife’s currently in labor. Err… giving birth so, although this podcast is very important, there are some things that are a little bit more important. But, hopefully when he’s back, we will be able to, to, to get and to do some podcasts.

What we gonna do, we’re gonna talk about this podcast, err… which called “Wait, what? The History and Concepts of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light”. So just a general overview of the concept behind the project and how it came about and the processes that went into, to producing the game. Um… but if we can start with a little bit of, err… history about yourself. How long have you been working at Crystal?

Forest : I’ve been at Crystal for about three years now.

Keir: Okay. And you’ve worked on Underworld to some people may remember. What did you worked on first?

Forest: I was the Cinematics Producer on Tomb Raider: Underworld. Um, and I managed and produced the, uh, effects, concept art, UI, and audio team.

Keir: Okay. Um. So now you’re… producer. How is that… differ… the two roles?

Forest: Ah! So... um… before I… I was producer. I’ve always been producer at Crystal but the difference is that… with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, I was given the opportunity um… to become game producer. So, rather than… um… owning certain areas of a very large game, I got to be the producer for… this title.

Keir: And so you’ve been on… er… LCGoL since day one, essentially.

Forest: Yes.

Keir: And what were your first thoughts when… er… when they said, “Hey, we’re gonna do a digital download title” or…?

Forest: I think… um… my... my… I felt like my mind was gonna explode… (Laughter) Um… it was really exciting. And… um… it was exciting and daunting.

Keir: Right. I know… I know the… mind explosion feeling cos’ the first time… it was presented to me back in… London office… I was, “Wait, what?” (Forest laughed) And… and that’s why this podcast is called what it is. (Forest giggled) Um… What’s been the most satisfying part working on the… project… so far?

Forest: Ah! Um… I think…. you know when we started the project… um… the team… was tight. And… I didn’t know that we could actually… get tighter and… and improve on our… sort of ability to… to effectively collaborate with each other. But I think that… the thing that I enjoyed the most is actually seeing the team… grow. Seeing, um… you know this team that worked really well together. That, like… we could actually get better at it. (Keir: Mhmm) As… as we went through the process. And… you know it…it was a lot of firsts for a lot of us. (Forest laughed) And just the fact that it’s co-op in a… in a Lara Croft game was definitely a big first for all of us. So, I think… you know… the process has been amazing and then just the fact that… we have actually been able to pull it off.

Keir: Right.

Forest: Yes.

Keir: And… and produce the game that is now at four nominations for Best of Show E3. It’s getting really great write-ups from people that have… got their hands on the game. So, that must be lovely for you to see… each time something pops up and then someone saying, “It’s a really cool game.” How it… how it feels of... you’ve put… so much work and hours into the game?

Forest: well, it just makes me so proud of the team because I… I know the amount of work that the team has put into this. They have put their heart and soul into this title. (Keir: Mhmm) And they deserved every accolade… We deserved every accolade we get.

Keir: So the, the… and past year will be good.

Forest: (Laughter) I hope so. It’s just that we worked so hard and… and we’ve… we really tried to make a pure game and a pure game experience.

Keir: Cool. And a… so I mentioned E3. Err… you were busy at E3 that’s fair to say.

Forest: I was busy! I’d… I met with err… I did over seventy interviews in three days.

Keir: Well… um… cos’ it was my first time at E3 and I… it was just so hectic… showing the game to people. I mean its brilliant cos’ you get to meet those different people and seeing their reactions when they start playing the game and… it was like unanimously positive. I didn’t have anyone that didn’t enjoy it. But how was it… err… giving like seventy interviews in a space like… two or three days?

Forest: You know, I…. before E3, I… actually thought that um…the… the PR part of my job was the easy part, you know? “Game development is hard. Interviews…. easy.” And… I had to really… re-evaluate that. (laughter) Um… not only was it seventy interviews in three days, but it was on the show floors so I was shouting the whole time and… (Keir: Mhmm) Keir, we’re… we hung out and so… so you… you heard me. I was loosing my voice and (Keir: Yup, yup.) kind of err…

Keir: We had the massive… err… screen.. Square-Enix had a huge screen. And… um… but the really loud soundtrack showcasing all the Square-Enix games. So it’s kinda like competing with that. And the Space Invaders… game… had it like… techno soundtrack or something, so you had to really shout your head over that. I remember. But it was cool. So lot of fun.

Forest: It was tremendous fun. I loved every second of it.

Keir: Err… so we got some questions from the forums. Err… we got loads of questions from the forums. Err… the first one is from Danielsun from the Eidos Forum. Er… And he wants to know who made the initial decision to make two teams, one working with games like Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and one working with the pillar release? And how the people selected?

Forest: So, um… much of the… the team… actually, yeah… basically the team is, um… all individuals who worked on Tomb Raider: Underworld… Um… there was a team continued on with DLC on Tomb Raider: Underworld. And… after that, um… we said, “You know what? This team works really well together. We want to do something exciting with this team.” So… the team is comprised of… um… a lot of senior individuals so we have a handful of the really seasoned leads from, um…. Tomb Raider: Underworld. For example Patrick Sirk who is… a major industry veteran… um… I think he’s been in the industry for like… seventeen or twenty years or something like that.

Keir: Wow.

Forest: He’s our Environment Art Director. And then we have Rob Pavey, who is, gosh… been… in the industry for… decades. So, um… we have some… some real heavy hitters, some… real experience. Um… but then, also we wanted to make sure that um… we develop this team where… we allowed um… more junior talent to develop. And um… it’s… it’s harder to develop talent on a bigger team, I think because… um… you know, that it’s… it’s a variety of reasons of why… why it’s challenging but… it’s a lot easier to shine when you’re on a smaller team than when you’re on a bigger team.

Keir: Mhmm.

Forest: So, um… the goals of the project were… innovate… take risks…um… check out being, you know… this… this team size and see how that is…um… and… I guess in terms of this selection process, it was… it was partly, you know… people working behind the scenes and thinking about, um… the individuals skill sets within the studio and who... who worked really well together. And also… it’s just kinda naturally… happen out of Underworld where, um… we were a group of individuals who really… respected each other and really enjoyed working together. So it seems like a natural progression to… to continue on as a team.

Keir: Err… Aussie500 from tombraiderforums.com asked was it just the GOL team that had a chance to put forward ideas for the new game, or was everyone at Crystal Dynamics able to… to come up with something? Err… and how long did everyone have to come up with their ideas? Um… whether in teams, or could individuals put something forward? And who actually decided that Guardian of Light was the best idea?

Forest: Hah… So, um… we really stressed team ownership… and, individual… contributions to this project. So… it was… um… gosh! It was very fast… (laugh) in terms of how quickly the ideas came together. Um… but it was… it was about speed we broke up into small teams. We… prototyped different ideas and concepts. I think we gave everyone a week. And then we came back together at the end of the week, um…to pitch. And… from that, um… we… wanted to… to really lock down…um… camera. Um… we were looking at doing a 2D side scroller… and co-op. Or we were looking at doing an isometric.

Keir: Mhmm.

Forest: And honestly we didn’t think… or the majority of people did not think that we would go with the isometric… But um… we had given everyone another week. And… we play tested isometric and the side scroller with everyone in the studio and… err… the team decided and… it’s just, it was far in a way… the most fun. (Keir: Mhmm) And it seem like it had the most potential. And it was really just the most exciting. So, who decided? The team decided.

Keir: Okay. And so that’s the theme… that runs through… the development of the game?

Forrest: Mmm.

Keir: And the next question is err… from NightWish from tombraiderforums.com. But she recorded the question which I think is awesome. Um… and so… here it is.

NightWish: Why did you pick Central America again? Were there other locations that you considered?

Keir: And… here it is again cos’ I think she got the cutest voice, ever. So we gonna hear it twice. (Forest giggled)

NightWish: Why did you pick Central America again? Were there other locations that you considered?

Forest: Um… there were actually other locations that we considered. Um… I mentioned New Orleans… um… We… we knocked about a bunch of different locations. And actually for the first two weeks of the project, we were… in a different location. And I’m not gonna say where it was (Keir stifled laughter) because that’s our team secret (Keir stifled giggle). Um… but we were somewhere and it wasn’t Central America. So… um…

Keir: You realized people not gonna stop asking (Forest laughed) “Right, where was that?” (Forest giggled) But that’s fine.

Forest: Well, maybe… they can guess. And maybe the winner gets a prize. (Keir: Well maybe…) Or something like that. Um, but… so basically what happen was… we knew that we had a very short production cycle. And we also know that… one of the areas in which we delivered as a studio and as a team is in… amazing looking environments. So, we just realized two weeks into the project, that um… although our… new location idea was really cool, and we were actually very much attached to it… we didn’t feel like would be able to deliver the quality that, you know… we’re… committed to… (Keir: Mhmm)in the time frame. So, err…we pulled back and err…we looked at… where we felt like we could locate our story and… and deliver on quality and we decided on… Central America. Part of that is because we had um…a suite of textures… that (Keir: Mhmm, mhmm) we had before so… um…. there is a little bit like, um… the plants might be familiar to… to some of the players, for example. Um, so we did borrow from past games. Um, a few of the assets but, err… for the most part it was taking… what we had and modifying it.

Keir: Okay. And the next question is from Dog Seven Angels from the Eidos Forums. Er… who wants to know if the idea of, the… (cough) co-op game is something that you had from the start or was it… did it… come off with your…

Forest: It actually…um… So, yea… I don’t know. I know that it was a... err… err… very high level goal that was um…presented to the team from Darrell. And… you know, when we were in production on Tomb Raider Underworld, we had the doppelganger and we had Lara. And so… I do remember discussions where we thought… you know… how…how interesting, this idea of… of… and.. and in cutscenes! (Keir: Mhmm) You know, you have Lara confronting the doppelganger in a very interesting way. So, um… and Lara has always had very interesting relationships with all the people in her life. So, um… we just thought… you know… how interesting… (Keir: Take it another step…) Yea! (Keir: Another step forward.) How interesting…

Keir: Okay. Um… and Silver Raider… I believe I pronounced that correctly… from tombraiderfroums.com, err…has recorded a question… which is awesome. So here we go.

Silver Raider: What stories were considered for the game apart from the Mirror of Smoke?

Forest: So… honestly… um… it really was the Mirror of Smoke story. (Forest laughed) We didn’t… we did not have time to knock around…a bunch of different stories lines. (Keir: Mhmm) Um… story… takes a long time to produce, um… for a game and… it was basically, “Okay! This… this idea of the Mirror of Smoke artifact is really interesting to us. Let’s build a story around it. Go!”

Keir: That really works and… (Forest: Mhmm) Was it…did you modify it slightly as you went along or was it kinda like… Bam! Just said “Here… here’s the idea” and then… kind of build from that?

Forest: We really… we really… based the story around Dan’s idea of this Mirror of Smoke. Um… and from there we had various iterations on the script. (Keir: Mhmm) Um…But… but there really was no... no other story than… than… the Mirror of Smoke.

Keir: Cool. And so Zebra… er… from Tomb Raider Forums asked, “What was the original, initial thought behind releasing downloadable spin-off titles in between the pillar releases? Er… was it that you wanted to have more time to develop the pillar releases and needed something to keep the fans busy in the meantime? Or was it that you wanted to try new stuff… er… that…with Lara Croft that would have been too risky to do in an actual Tomb Raider game?”

Forest: So, we are really excited about the digital space and we think… as a studio, that this is a very important space that is growing. And so… um… yes, we wanted to take risks in the digital space. (Keir: Mhmm) And… um… frankly part of it is that… um… when you have a smaller team, you can take bigger risks. For example we have… the zombie fish… Chompy. (Forest laughed. Keir: Yea.) I honestly don’t know if we ever would have done that…. (Keir: And Chompy’s a legend.) in a Tomb Raider game.

Keir: Sure. (Forest: Yeah.) And I think it’s fair to say that, in the game since you know… development of trick lay titles.. whatever it may be…is becoming such a complex processes. It does take longer so it’s nice for Crystals to be have something to give to the fans… um… while they kinda waiting. Is that… is that fair comment?

Forest: I… I … I would definitely agree with that. Um… and… honestly I… I follow the forums very closely. And I know that… that the other… dev teams members do as well. And, um… there does seem to be… sort of an underlying beat… here and there where I’m hearing that the fans are interested in something new. (Keir: Mhmm) So… you know we… I… I know… I can’t speak for Daniel, but I know that this is something that is very near and dear to his heart that… as a Tomb Raider fan himself, it was very important to him that we offer something slightly different.

Keir: Cool. And that kind of connect onto larafan25’s question… which is er… “Out of all the crazy ideas for the future of Tomb Raider series, how does Guardian of Light compares to the… rest of the ideas? (Forest stifled laugh) And… is it closer and related to the core of Tomb Raider or is it one of the ideas that was out there and vastly different?

Forest: Well, without… really giving insight into just how crazy the ideas have been, we had some really, really crazy ideas.

Keir: On the scale of one to ten, with ten being crazy… how crazy? (Forest laughed) Eleven?

Forest: Ten! (Keir: Okay.) Or eleven, or tweleve. (Keir: Alright.) Really crazy. So… you know, it’s… when you have a character like Lara Croft… you can’t just go to Crazy Town. (Keir: Sure.) And… you know, there’s so many people who…loved Lara. And…so you have to be very thoughtful. You can’t just say… “Lara is gonna go on a space ship to the moon!” (Laughter) So…not to say that was one of our crazy ideas but… um…

Keir: So it’s… it’s a balance between find something new and different… um… and then but also keeping is so…it fits Lara… fits into the world… (Forest: Exactly.) and it’s appropriate for her.

Forest: Exactly.

Keir: Cool. Err… so MyRaider4Lifeum… asked, “Was this a hard game to deliver to the fans and do you think you’ve ticked every box for what we, the fans want in the game?”

Forest: Well… um… that is a good question. I really hope that we have… um… As a team… what we cared about in…in a Lara Croft experience is exploration, puzzles, platforming, and some amount of combat. So, what we’ve done in this title is we… we really feel like we have preserved exploration, puzzles… um…. are… a big thread throughout the game. They’re bite sized… They’re not… quite to the same scale that they have in the past games… Um… we do have platforming and…we have actually… um… We feel like...um... done some exciting things with combat. I’m... I’m interested to see what the fans have to say about story. (Keir: Mhmm). Because, the story is very light in this game. And story has been a big thread um… in the past, about what the fans care about… What the fans are critical of… What the fans are excited about…? So…um… we do have story in this game but it is story-light compared to the other games.

Keir: Okay. And I’d… I… from where I’m seeing it’s kinda like… you’ve drawn some new boxes and ticked those as well. So it’s not just like the… the boxes that you’d…to be ticked... that you’d expect from a… (Forest: Yea!) a typical Tomb Raider. Some… some new elements in there, like… the puzzles, um… for me… that… there’s a new dimension cos’ it’s the co-op aspect… which is a lot of fun. As a Community Manager I think that’s awesome cos’ it means a lot of the fans are gonna get to talk to each other for the first time... which is something, you know… they’ve never had to do before. So… there’s some new stuff in there as well, I think that you’ve achieved that people don’t necessarily realized they want it but I think… when… when people get their hands on the game like Melonie Tomb Raider did, then they realizes… it’s a lot of fun and that there’s a lot of…new boxes that have been ticked (Forest: Yea.) So, well done on that.

Forest: Aww… thanks!

Keir: (Laughed) Err… the next question’s from tranniversary119. And… and the question is, “Lara has never had a partner before in-game. Err… when you were coming out with the concept, did it cross your mind how fan might react to such a change in the series? I knew you guys were scared, right?” (Forest laughed) With a… sticking out tongue emote.

Forest: Um… there definitely… you know… was a question of… of what would the fans think of this.

Keir: I was scared.

Forest: Yea! It’s… it’s really different because for some people… you know… Lara Croft is a very solitary experience and it’s… it’s about… exploration and it’s about…um… a journey, right? And… what… really was heartening to me is that um…. the fan community is… from…from where I sit…and… and… my observations of following the community and my three years at Crystal, is that… um… it is a community that has a lot of communication… and… a lot of… interaction among community members. So, if there’s so much discussion about different areas of the game, well… wouldn’t it be interesting for these community members to play with each other? So, I think… you know… it… (Keir: I can’t wait.) it was a little scary, thinking… about introducing a new character. But we also… made sure to… to be… um… really true to the single player… experience as well. (Keir: Mhmm) So that if there are players out there who are not interested, at all… in playing with another game… um… we have deliver a single player experience. Um… but… I think that… err… you know, I mean for example there’s a thread about… let’s play together. I think there’re two threads! (Keir: Yeah.) About lets… lets join each other. So, I am excited to see, you know… what … yeah… (Keir: And you…) what happens…

Keir: And you’ve touched from the… the single player experience, it’s almost like there’s two games… because the puzzles have been… changed slightly and Lara has the spear and stuff. So… the puzzles are a bit different in… in one player mode. So it’s slightly… it’s… it’s worth playing through… in co-op and in single player.

Forest: Exactly! It is a… it is a… the… the players progress through the same levels, but the puzzles, um… like you’ve mentioned, entirely different. Um… and also the combat feels different. (Keir: Mhmm) And… the platforming… feels entirely different.

Keir. Err… cool. Err… the next question’s from mudkip25. Err…and… it… it’s Chompy. “Where did the idea of Chompy come from?”

Forest: Hah…. So… Chompy… Chompy! (Laughter) So… the idea of Chompy… I’ll… maybe I… I’m gonna go ahead and give the long winded answer. Chompy started out as… um… a… medium size level. Chompy started out… err… actually without even Chompy. (Keir: Right) The idea of Chompy was…um… err… the idea of… fighting upriver. Where err… so, the designers had an idea… of… um… an exterior space… where…so we…we had done the courtyard in the first part of our development and… there was something that was really appealing about the river. And as well there’s water and… um… the first T-Rex boss fight. And there’s… just something that so appealing about being in the wa... I don’t know if it’s like… a womb thing… I don’t know! (Keir stifled laugh) Personally, I love being in the water. I love fighting in the water. I love running around in the water. I think it looks… amazing… and it feels great. So… we had this idea… that we wanted to, rather than…um… just having water be a part of a level… (Keir: Mhmm) where you kinda cross it to get to the other side, you actually…play… along… or, you know… up a river. So… the idea started that it would be an exterior level. You would… err… play… up a river or move up a river. And… then the idea… you know…like… game dev… changed... over time… People input um… we looked it at the levels that was before and after… and…um… I think I cried because I was very attached to the idea of… of a… of… going up a river. But we decided… that um… what we wanted to do was...um… the previous level…um… which we actually called err… um… Lake Tomb… that’s our dev team name for it. (Keir: Mhmm) I probably shouldn’t say this but… (Keir: Nah, that’s cool.) um… our… our dev team name for the… the level before Chompy is… Lake Tomb… and… um… we felt like… that space was so interesting… that we… were interested in bringing the experience of pushing the players up screen… to… be… at the end of that level. So… I hope I’m not giving anything away! But anyway, it… it did become its own level, after a while… But… um…it feels like an extension of that level and… we decided to remove the river even though err… I was a bit proponent to it (Keir stifled laugh) and cried… um…But we removed the river. We brought the level inside… and… the big challenge was that we really wanted this level to be so exciting. And we wanted to really motivate the players, up screen. And we wanted it to be fast paced because we felt like… at that part of the game, we really wanted to ramp action and we really wanted the players to feel pressured… (Keir: Mhmm) At that point… the co-op player should have established a good relationship… So that’s really where we test, you know… like, “There’s… giant monster!” and… (Keir laughed) and you have to trust each other and you have to catch each other and… time your jumps right. So, anyway… the… the design challenge was how do we…motivate the players to move up screen and how do we create this… this… intense…pressure. So… one of our designers… just threw it out there. “What about… a big, zombie fish?” (Forest laughed) (Keir: I heard, which…) It actually might have been our Character Art… I’m not sure. (Keir: Okay.) You should have asked Kam actually. (Keir: Yeah, yeah. I know.) It’s a good… good question for Kam. Maybe…I mean, we… we probably all have slightly different memories of it. But… someone… said “How about a big, giant zombie fish?” “Oh my god! That’s a great idea! Yes!” Because we wanted um… some kind of enemy or some kind of force to basically fill the bottom of the screen and push the players up.

Keir: Mhmm. And he’s so gross…and scary that you…you want to… he’s…you want to run away when you… (Forest: Yea!) when he’s pursuing you.

Forest:I mean he’s like the best enemy, ever! So, yea. So that was the thing. We… we wanted to push players up screen. The…whatever it was that push players up the screen have to fill… to, from… you know… (Keir: Mhmm) the two sides of the screen. And… we ended up with Chompy and he’s so gross and (Keir stifled laugh) slobbery and… yeesh… he’s like a piranha and… yeah…

Keir: I got um… some of Kam’s… who’s the…Senior Artist on the… Guardian of Light. I got some of his sketches… (Forest: Mmm) initially that were… of Chompy and then err… I got a render as well…. to give out to the community scenes… That’s cool… but I love Chompy. He’s a legend.

Forest: He is a legend and… and… maybe we will be able to do that… exterior river (Keir: Another time.) level another time.

Keir: Fingers crossed. (Forest laughed). Um… err…the next question from ajrich17901. Err… and he… has also recorded a question… which is cool. So, over to you, ajrich.

ajrich17901: In terms of putting the game together, was it more fun working on the spin-off…. rather than the normal Tomb Raider game?

Forest: Um…. the difference between the Tomb Raider: Underworld team and…um…what we called the Digital Team, the… Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light team… is… is… mainly game size. Or team size, rather. So… on the Underworld team… um… it was…much… more hierarchical? It just… there was no way that we could get everyone in a room. And… actually take turns talking and listening to each other, for example. (Keir: Mhmm) So, um… Underworld… was really fun. Just to… because the scale was so big and so challenging and so, you know… I… I… a lot of my days on Underworld was just running around and chasing people down and… (Keir: Mhmm) and… um… sort of doing the like… run from desk to desk thing…which is… fun. On…um… Digital…because we were smaller team, we’re actually able to…do a morning meeting…where we… actually stand in a circle and we take turns talking, and listening to each other and giving feedback. So… just in terms of… um… cross disciplinary feedback… um… I think… that we really benefited from the team size. And then also… ensuring…err… team ownership. Um… we were really able to do that…um…with this project.

Keir: Cool. Um… RoombelinaUK from the Eidos Forums… err… says, “We all senn how awesome… err…LCGOL can be. Nothing can stop us from buying it.” Which is brilliant. Err…and, “How many hours of playtime should fans expect from the gun-toter’s latest downloadable adventure?”

Forest: Hah! Good question! Um… I… I believe… that it is eight hours minimum per… so eight hours for single player (Keir: Mhmm) and at least eight hours for co-op. If you are…like me… and... you (Keir stifled laugh) want to run around… and check out plants… if you…want to collect everything.. or… if you’re just… you know… (Keir: You’re a gem addict.) poking…(Keir cont: Is that what you’re trying to say?) I am a gem addict! (Keir laughed) But I also I’m just kind of… slow in general and just like to kind of… poke around… and… poke around corners… um…

Keir: There’s a lot of stuff (Forest: I…) to collect too… (Forest: Oh, yeah.) The… the skulls and everything… so it’s…

Forest: I…uh… twenty hours? I don’t know! I mean, it’s… it really depends on the kind of player that you want to be… but if you’re the kind of player that’s just, “I’m just gonna run… run to the end!” (Keir: Mhmm) and not explore… at all…then… probably six to eight hours. (Keir: Okay) And… you know… yeah. I would say eight plus hours.

Keir: Cool. Um… chris99… err… from the Eidos Forum is awesome cos’ he also recorded a question which we liked. Err… take it away chris.

chris99: Is…whether Totec is able to speak English? So, thank you very much. And… I’m looking forward to the game.

Forest: I look forward to you playing the game! Um… we did actually chew on that for a while… Should Totec, an ancient Aztec warrior be able to speak English? That’s crazy! (Keir: Mhmm) Um… but… err… honestly um… I think if I’m right, Totec would have spoken Nahuatl… which is a language that… very few people in the world are able to speak. It would have been very challenging… (Forest laughed) to… get the script translated… um… and… ensure that we actually… you know, understood the dialog that was being recorded. So…um… we… decided that uh… it would be like… video game magic and… (Keir:Mhmm) Totec just speaks English. Or… maybe Totec is speaking Nahuatl and… we are hearing Totec through Lara’s ears and Lara understands Nahuatl.

Keir: That’s good answer (Forest laughed) Um… and aj… ajrich has recorded another question for us and… so, here we go.

ajrich17901: Once the trailer was finally revealed and we get to see the new Lara model, she resembled her classic self. For example, the longer ponytail, the classic colors…Was this intentional as a nod towards the classics?

Forest: Yes.

Keir: Cool.

Forest: We’re all fans. We… we love every… every incarnation of Lara. (Keir: That’s a…) Especially her original one.

Keir: That’s a good answer. Um… tsk… another question comes from Jesse from tombraiderforums.com. Err… and… they want to know if cross platform will be available? So, if someone has a PC, can they play on the PS3, for example.

Forest: I wish. I would love it. Um… unfortunately um… it was something we could not tackle for this project. (Keir: Mhmm) So… no cross platform. I’m sorry.

Keir: Never mind. Never mind. (Forest laughed) Um… we got a question from KIKO from tombraiderforums.com. Hello KIKO. Um… and he…is sure there’s going to be a feature that makes us able to put the camera behind Lara. Is that right?

Forest: Ah, yes. Yes! The age old question… This is actually a question that um… we were… um… asked a lot when we were play-testing… (Keir: Mhmm) um… this game. Err… so the iso-camera is… definitely new… err… to Lara Croft and… um… I can understand that it would be challenging. But, honestly… um… we… love the iso-camera for this game so much… um… that we…decided err…that we would not…have that kind of feature for the camera. We did actually… um… play-test some level of player control over the camera and… what we decided was that in… co-op mode… um… the… the players can control the distance of the camera by running far apart and staying close together. Um… but… honestly we decided to…. err… honor… the new isometric camera for this game and err… not allow players to put the camera behind Lara. Also, we built the environments for the camera… for this camera perspective. (Keir: Mhmm) So... you know… how… how much pride we take in our environments, I think… it… yeah… we just… we just… design wise… art wise….

Keir: So it makes sense to commit to…to the… isometric camera.

Forest: Yeah! And it’s just… and it’s a really fun camera! It’s… (Keir: Yeah, it is…) we have a great time playing it. Um…so…

Keir: And… and also you get to see… Lara in the cutscenes.

Forest: Yes… yes! Thank you. That is the other piece, is that… um… so… we did get feedback that, “Gosh! The camera is really far away and we love seeing Lara.” And… and especially, you know… I think this… this Lara model looks…fantastic. (Keir: Mhmm) So, what we did… um… was we made sure that in…. the in-game cutscenes that we got really close to Lara. So, actually we get…close to Lara from behind in the cutscenes and from the front and from the side, in the cutscenes. (Keir: Cool.) So, through the cutscenes, you… you can really get closer to Lara.

Keir: Um… and here’s a question from Keir… from Crystal Dynamics. Cos’ you’ve mentioned (Forest stifled laugh) the… err… play-testing…quite a lot. And so I’ve been here for a couple of months. But from what I’ve heard sounds like there… there was a lot… of play-testing that went on… on the fly and that was like a key… part of the project for you guys.

Forest: Yes… so, um…. there were actually a lot of different levels of play-testing. Um… the first… level of play-testing was…um… in-game… err… not, sorry, not in-game. Was… in-team… play-testing. So… every morning…. we had…. a play-test topic… that might be a designer, sending out an e-mail to the whole team… saying, “Hey, check out… um… this new platforming setup in this new specific area… Play it… in single player and co-op and… and…give me feedback…”

Keir: So that’s how as designers kinda making it. He’s getting feedback and then changing stuff a little bit to make it more fun and…

Forest: Exactly. Um… it could be… the animators, saying… you know, “Check out um… this new cutscene…” or “Check out um… this new move set.” It could be the programmers saying, “Hey! I’ve implemented this feature and… and what do you think and… err… what… what needs improvement?” So I mentioned… that we would actually stand up every morning, and that’s what we would talk about. We would stand in a big circle… (Keir: Mhmm) and… after we had played… um… the… the topic… we would actually… give feedback to whoever it was… that was looking for feedback. And then, as well… it was an opportunity if… um… someone was just really concerned about something, they could also bring it up or if they were… stuck on something or blocked… um… by a different department they could… So, that was one level of feedback. Um… and then as well…you know, everyone on the team… because we were… um… so close knit and… and… just a smaller team… people were grabbing each other constantly. “Hey, come look at my stuff.” “Hey, come do this.” Um… what we also did is I mentioned earlier um… we play-tested with the rest of the studio. So… the developers… We also… um… grabbed like, finance people… and… (Keir: Mhmm) people from IT… We grabbed our receptionist down more than one occasion. Um…and then after that um… when we… were happy with… um… what we had created, and… and even when we knew there was more work, we brought in people from outside. (Keir: Mhmm) So, lots of… layers of play-testing… um… In the beginning we did actually leverage some family and friends… but… we decided… you know… for…for play-testing purposes it’s actually best to use people who…um… are not… friends… or connected to the people (Keir: Sure.) on the team because there not necess… they’re gonna be nice you know… like if you bring your mom in, to say, (Keir laughed) “Hey, look at what I did!” She’s not gonna say, “Hey, that’s… not good at all.”(Forest laughed) (Keir: Yes.) She’s gonna be like, “Good job!” (Laughter)

Keir: Um… well that’s cool. And I… from… I’ve been here for a couple of months but I’ve been pulled over to play-test… certain bits and it… it’s awesome to see you guys like, changing stuff and then they’d… they… we do something they won’t expect to.. they… they kind of…. really built it…just to ensure that it’s funneling us… seems like a great way that… well it’s great that you guys can do that… (Forest: Yeah.) Crazy.

Forest: And… particular actually… it’s… it’s been really helpful for… um… combat…um… areas… in terms of gauging difficulty and gauging fun. (Keir: Mhmm) And for puzzles as well… Actually this happened earlier today…where… or was it… was it yesterday, Keir?

Keir: Yesterday. Yeah.

Forest: Okay, yesterday. Um… so, Keir and I were play-testing um…. one of the designers setups and… err… we… came up with a solve that he didn’t even realize was a solve. (Keir: Mhmm) So… um… I mean, just… the designers love being able to see how… basically how other people brains work. (Forest laughed) and what they’re thinking about. And then that same... and then… from yesterday, he… he tweaked….um… what he was designing and then I’d play-tested it again… with someone else… (Keir:Mhmm) and… and it was… it was different.

Keir: Awesome. Err… and… we’re coming up to last few questions. Um…NRO from tombraiderforums.com… asks, “Will this game make references… references to previous games?”

Forest: This game makes no references to previous games. It… entirely um… stands alone… errr… in its own world. Um… we are… extremely vague about… um… the timeline…on… (Keir: Mhmm) purpose… because….um… we feel… err… that this is… a really just different experience.

Keir: And so…God Horus from tombraiderforums.com asked a similar question but it’s very much like Lara’s been on… loads of different adventures in her time… and so this is one of them that’s stored in her journal. And it’s kinda… it’s in the universe but it’s not connected.

Forest: Exactly. Exactly. It could be… Lara could be a university student. She could be… you know… later… past university… (Keir: Mhmm) Um… but yeah… the… exactly. The idea that this is… this is one of her many adventures.

Keir: Cool. Um… and Poke Warrior from tombraiderforums.com asked “Would we be expecting to see a sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light?” We’ll answer that one first.

Forest: I hope so. It… really depends on… how this game does… in term of…um… err… fan and community reception, public reception… (Keir: Mhmm) Um….

Keir: So it’s not a no?

Forest: It’s not… it’s… no! We’re… we’re really open to it and…and we would be very much love… love to be able to… you know, do it again because we had so much fun. Um… but… we really need to see… you know… what happens with this one and what the feed back is. (Keir: Mhmm) And… and we really need to be able to respond to that… (Keir: Okay.) so…

Keir: Um… and the second part of the question from Poke Warrior and MattTR. Hello, MattTR. Err… asked, “If there will be any add-ons or DLC?”

Forest: Ah… err… we’re very much open to it… and… we’ll see… we’ll see what… what the public is err… pushing for.

Keir: So, maybe. Maybe not. We’re not saying anything.

Forest: Exactly. We’re not… we’re not saying anthing.

Keir: Cool. Um… well, Forest. That’s all the questions we have. Thank you very much for your time.

Forest: Thank you Keiirrr…

Keir: And um… there will be another podcast coming up soon. [Music starts] Err… I’ll start another thread err… in the forums to invite more questions but thanks very much for listening. Err… and until next time… see you later.

Forest: Thank you so much!

[Music]

[End]

beretta
26th Jul 2010, 19:42
good evening!
thank you very much it was very interresting :)

dark7angel
26th Jul 2010, 20:30
I just need help for these few names here in terms of their spellings. Please let me know if I get them wrong and I'll amend them asap.

Dog Seven Angels - third question (EidosForums)

Hi, M.A.!

That would be dark7angel! :p

Thanks for the transcript!!! ;)

Max 28
27th Jul 2010, 11:48
That was really cool. And thanks M.A. for the transcript. :)

I actually would love to see an up river level, what do you guys think?

chriss_99
27th Jul 2010, 18:14
That was really cool. And thanks M.A. for the transcript. :)

I actually would love to see an up river level, what do you guys think?

I'm sure that would be a really exciting level. Hopefully, we'll see something similar in the next Lara Croft game. I can already sense that this game is going to be a success. :thumb: