How long have/did you work in the videogames industry?
I started working in the industry back in 1988, so this is my 26 year! GULP!
Which companies did you work with? Any titles we'd know?
Here's a list ...
Oddworld: New n Tasty PS4/PS3/VITA/PC/Mac/Xbox One 2014 Gravity Crash Ultra VITA - 2014 Oddworld: Munchs Oddysee HD PS3/VITA 2012/2014 Oddworld: Strangers Wrath HD PS3/VITA/PC 2011/2012 Gravity Crash PS3/PSP 2009 Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure PS2/Wii/DS 2008 Arctic Tale Wii/DS 2008 Pinball Challenge Deluxe GBA 2003 Soldier of Fortune Dreamcast - 2002 Spec Ops: Ranger Elite PS1 2001 Dragon Riders: Chronicles of Pern 2001 In Cold Blood PS1/PC - 2000 Tank Racer PS1/PC 1998 Xenocracy PS1/PC/Mac 1998/1999 Slam Tilt Amiga/PC 1996/1997 Synnergist PC 1996 Pinball Illusions PC/Amiga 1995 Pinball Fantasies Jaguar 1995 Pinball Fantasies PS1 1995 Pinball World PC 1995 Marvins Marvellous Adventure Amiga/CD32 1994 Pinball Dreams 2 PC/SNES 1994 Pinball Fantasies PC/Amiga/Falcon/SNES 1993 Pinball Dreams PC 1993 Populous II Amiga 1992 DarkMere Amiga - 1992 Rubicon Amiga/ST 1991 Birds of Prey Amiga 1990 PowerMonger Amiga/PC/SNES 1990 Lost Soul Atari ST 1989
What's your all-time favourite computer or console?
Hmmmm PlayStation. That covers ALL of them! :D
Did you work with Novagen?
Not really, was always a fan, but tried to work with them in 1998, to no avail.
What's your favourite anecdote of this time?
Oh lordy, now you're asking! it was a LOOOOOOONG time ago :)
Your name was in the Novagen Cabinet in Damocles (though not correctly spelled). Can you tell us why?
I think I phoned Bruce up monthly for about 18 months before the game came out asking if it was nearly finished :)
Did you know your name would be there or did you find it by yourself?
I had no idea actually. I rang Bruce up and he said did I see my name in the safe? I said no I'd seen a few, read out "Steve Gill" and he said, oh wait it's "Stewart Gilray" isn't it?! Ooops :) but the thought was there.
How did you meet Steven Sargent, whose name is also in the Novagen Cabinet?
I met Steve when he worked at Grandslam games. He worked with a guy at Grandslam called Paul Chamberlain, whom I knew from the Hewson days when I did work for them.
Are you still in contact with any Novagener?
I still talk to Paul and Tim occasionally.
In 1995, were you aware a PC version was in the works?
I remember seeing a piece in EDGE or something about it, and tried to get a hold of Bruce but couldn't at the time.
Around 1998 you tried to bring back in the works the PC version of Damocles. Can you tell us how you decided to try this? Were Paul and Bruce motivated to work on it again? Why was it dropped in the end?
So in 1998 when I worked for Grolier Interactive I managed to track them down, and started talking, and he mentioned that Psygnosis had shelved the project. So I went to see him, and Paul and Tim up at the offices in Birmingham, then Bruce and Paul came to see me at my offices in Oxford, and we were in serious discussions about taking it over, but Psygnosis/Sony said no. So it was dead in the water.
What are your memories of the game for PC, how was it like?
I'll be brutally honest it needed a lot of work in my opinion. It was 100% software rendering with ZERO visual effects, it was basically just a textured version of the original. I tried to get Paul onto DirectX, so had the SDK sent to him, but it was right at that point that we heard back from Psygnosis. I do remember one of the artists at Grolier, Paul Carrick, wanting a look at it, so I pulled him into the meeting room, and Paul Woakes, gave him a demo of it, he was happy, but we both knew it needed work to do well.
Were there any other attempts since then you'd be aware of?
To bring the PC version out? not that I know of.
Is there a particular developer (code, gfx, whatever) whom you consider as a genius / pioneer / extra-talented?
Back in the day it was either John M Philips or Stephen Crow, today, I think there are teams of people that do amazing work, Naughty Dog for example, Q-Games, Hello Games.
How do you feel about people considering the '80s as the videogaming golden age, and the associated hero-worship of some of the people that were part of this?
Hmmmm not sure that's entirely right, they were certainly simpler times back then, but better? Not so sure.
Have you tried the MDDClone?
I have actually, curious how they managed it to be honest, reverse engineered or emulated?
(Note from webmaster: it's reverse engineered indeed)
Have you visited The Mercenary Site? If so, any feedback?
You know I have, I pop over every so often to see what's happening, if anything :)
What are you up to these days? What keeps you up at night?
Well we're at the very tail end of development on Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty, which hits PS4 NEXT week! :O so that's been keeping me up past midnight for months now!
Anything else to say?
Can I sleep yet please?
16th July 2014
Back to main Mercenary page