Tuesday 14 August 2007

Live blog - Ian Livingstone

When I started off writing this, I was going to have this quite light-hearted. Since its nearly beer o'clock, I think I'll keep it that way.

Its hard to have a great character in a crap game. Clearly you can go for the ultra realistic characters or you can go the Nintendo route of the stylised characters. At the end of the day they are very important. I remember rolling up my very first character in 1975 and I had a lot of affection for him.

Film has taught us a lot about characters and dialog and we can start to talk about Hollywood. I'm not talking about 1st person shooters in this context.

From this rich pool of characters (And the UK is particularly fine at creating characters) (Aside: he's talking way too fast to get anything).

There is no guaranteed path from drawing board to fame. At the end of the day, if you're expecting a player to keep playing a role, you'll have to have a character who is interesting, easy to identify and likable.

[Plays video of characters over the years. He includes Elite, Gran Tourismo, Wipeout etc which I don't think particularly have great characters in. There's a typo on the release of Tomb Raider - listed as 1995]

Why are these easy to remember? [Shows shots from Hollywood. Daniel Craig as Bond, Snow White, ET, Superman, Wallace & Gromit, Spiderman, Thomas the Tank Engine, Kong, Yoda, Bart, Harry Potter etc. I think he's made his point. Nearly 40 characters shown.]

[Then games characters, Lara Croft, Gordon Freeman, Link, Mario, Sonic, Lemming, Pacman, Solid Snake, Space Invader, Duke]

What makes all these character resonant? If you get this right, huge financial revenues await you. Appearance, personality, name, background, dialog, voice, humour, facial expression, moves, story. For real people, the coolness factor.

[More bullet points: Different, memorable, cool, concept].

[Concept art: lots of choice, face / body / concept. Lock it down early. Target audience. Focus test.]

[What's in a name? Descriptive or whimsical? Target audience? Name + trademark = franchise.]

Lara Croft started life as Lara Cruz.

[Character background: personality, habits, beliefs, trademark moves]

[Kane & Lynch]

Kane started out a lot better looking and younger, but he was supposed to have had a tough life and been through a few war zones. Lynch looked good right from the start.

[Dialog: script writers, serious / humorous, emotion, film]

Looking to Hollywood again, we need to hire script writers. The concept of the dialog, and the emotion. Hollywood realises the importance of dialog and clearly its scripted and makes an impact on the audience. We should learn from them.

[Shows the clip a Few Good G-men]

[Voice: Matching, use professionals, catchphrases, people like people]

[Clip from Io technical demo]

[Mood: light or dark / backstory / sets the scene / film]

I think its interesting that Hollywood are looking more and more to our industry for content.

[Robert Mckee quote about true character]

[2 Kane & Lynch trailers - I think its a NiN soundtrack behind it]

[Intellectual property: sequels, franchise, valuable brand, leveraging]

[Lucozade Lara clip]

Lara Croft is such a big character she is able to survive parody.

[Kane & Lynch gameplay clip]

[We're running late, so only 1 question for Ian Livingstone]

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