Thread: TPM Q & A
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Old 05-01-2001, 07:16 PM   #21
Join Date: May 1999
Posts: 296

Originally posted by Dave Maul:
This is fun; don't think I've seen as many posts in such little time before

What if...: Big Ape is hired by LEC to make another game for Episode 2. Would you use the same engine, or go for something completely different? Are there any ideas that you wanted in TPM that you would add in an Ep. 2 game?

We've already re-written our tool from scratch so that it doesn't rely on cubes for our world building, so in terms of engines, we'd use a new one. Whether we would use the same TYPE of game, meaning a third-person view instead of first-person, quite probably another third, but definitely with a 'look forward' feature to let you see what was coming.

Also a lot of cleaning up of the AI system and waypoints systems, also do something more interesting with the in-game cutscenes and dialogue.

But trust me, it ain't gonna happen. LEC will probably put out an Ep2 game, perhaps even one going for the same casual gamers that TPM went after, but my guess is that they'll do a better job of marketing it. One of TPM's great blunders was with its marketing, where first it was given a working title of 'Ep1: Adventure', making the adventure game nuts excited, then it wasn't made clear at ALL that the game was geared towards the casual gamer, so the hardcore people who thought they were getting another JK were pissed, not to mention anyone who doesn't like console-game jumping puzzles were in for a rude surprise.

When TPM was first announced by LEC, the game magazines asked "Is it like JK, or like Grim?"

A (Right answer): "It's neither! It stands on its own, it doesn't compare to either genre. It's not adventure like Grim, it's not FPS-ish like JK. It's a scrolling top-down game!"

B (Wrong answer): "Well, it has aspects of both, but if we had to choose one, it's more like Grim." (presumably because it's third-person, but who knows.)

Of course, LEC chose answer B, and by not being specific of what it was and wasn't, there were all kinds of expectations from different gaming communities. You'll notice that LEC learned its lesson from TPM, and starting with JPB's announcements, they were VERY careful to correlate JPB with Super Star Wars, and also to who the audience was supposed to be.

And, I know I've said this before, but there's a very important distinction that quite simply did not occur to us while we were making TPM. Yes, we included a little bit of everything - action, adventure, shooting, puzzle-solving, jumping - in an effort to make the game interesting to gamers of all genres. There's a REALLY IMPORTANT corollary to that thinking, something we NEVER realized until we read the reviews: IF YOU LIKE ONE kind of gaming genre, you are more likely to NOT LIKE other genres. Like, JK fans like FPS's, so they got frustrated and bored with the adventure parts. Or, adventure fans like thinking puzzles, and so got overwhelmed by the umpteen thousand Battle Droids firing at them. And just about NOBODY likes jumping puzzles except folks who like Mario games. Live and learn, I suppose.
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