Judging from the recently released "Best of LucasArts Original Soundtracks" CD, the music in RTX is going to be a departure for the company. Is the score going to retain an electronic techno feel, or will some orchestral stuff be mixed in as well?
From the very beginning we wanted to music that would reflect the technology filled world of Red Rock, so electronic music was the way we chose to go. Luckily we have a very talented electronic music composer Dave Levison at our company. He also did some music for the movie “Groove” in fact. The music that he’s given us is really really cool, and as you mentioned a little different from the stuff LucasArts has done before. We’re really excited to be going in a new direction like this.
Remi O asks if the game is going to use interactive music similar to a game like Jedi Outcast and Fate of Atlantis.
Yeah, not only is the music really interesting on it’s own, we also wanted the player to feel like it reacts to their actions. To do this we have a couple different tracks in each location. One is an ambient track for when Wheeler is standing still or during some of our in-engine cutscenes. When Wheeler begins to move a rhythm track is added to the ambient track to give that added sense of excitement and motion. We also have a combat track that is played whenever Wheeler is in danger or engaged in direct combat.
In terms of technology, LucasArts has a spotty past in creating its own 3D engines. What about this new engine do you think will impress the player and lead to a more refined game?
The number one answer to that question is detail. I think everyone is going to be impressed by the details in our environments. We set a pretty high bar for our graphics from the beginning and the artists really came through. The first thing you’ll notice is the general complexity of the geometry in all the rooms, but if you look around a little more you’ll find more subtle details that are, in some ways, even more impressive. For instance the other day I decided to look in one of the garbage cans in the main colony, and sure enough, there was crumpled newspaper in there. There are also coffee stains on the counters in the colony kitchens, and pictures of family members in the crew quarters.
What is your collaboration with Hal Barwood like? Do you give any input into the story and creative aspects of the game, or are you only concerned with implementing Hal's vision into the final product?
Hal and I have a great working relationship. Part of that is because we both have our own distinct roles that make us responsible for different things, but we also have a great deal of respect for one another when it comes to suggestions regarding each others work. Hal used to be a film producer, so I know he understands production issues, and I’m a gamer so he listens to my game-play suggestions. I think we work well together because we can bounce ideas off one another about all types of issues. We also both have film backgrounds so we share some of the same concerns and interests, not to mention the interesting conversations we have about movies we’ve just seen.
Who else is working on RTX Red Rock?
Lots of incredibly talented people! The team peaked out at around 50 people at one point, so there are too many to mention here, but I will mention the other leads. Eric Johnston is our lead programmer and has worked on a ton of LucasArts games, everything from Star Wars Racer to Pipe Dream. Tim Miller is our lead level designer, he and Hal worked together on Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. Mai Nguyen is out lead artist and she’s literally worked on every game I’ve done at the company because we always seem to need her incredible talents. Graham Annable, our lead animator joined us after working on Star Wars Obi-wan. Jimmy Gutierrez our lead modeller worked with me on Star Wars Starfighter and then continued on to Star Wars Jedi Starfighter. Adam Schnitzer our cutscene guru re-joined LucasArts after a stint at Pixar where he worked on Toy Story 2. Shara Miller our Assistant Producer came from our international department where she did a bunch of titles, but she also produced the PS2 version of Escape from Monkey Island. And last but not least, Chane Hollander our lead tester worked with me way back on Star Wars Jedi Power Battles, but most recently was lead tester on Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds.
It has been mentioned before that if this game is successful, there may be other titles that expand on the story of E.Z. Wheeler. What can you tell us about that?
This is just one mission a Radical Tactics Expert like Wheeler might be assigned to, so it’s easy to imagine similar missions back on Earth or on different planets. We’re working hard to finish this game, so it doesn’t leave much time to think about those other missions, but we’d like to do them. We all think there are a lot more stories to tell with Wheeler and IRIS.
Sopabuena wants to know, "if the game does well in consoles, can we expect a PC version?" What about an Xbox port?
You never know, but we don’t have anything announced right now. There are a few bits of technology we’re creating specifically for the PS2 and Gamecube, but nothing that we couldn’t do on the other platforms if we were given a little time. Basically there’s nothing really stopping us if we decide it makes sense to appear on those platforms.
And finally, a very lonely QuezTone asks, "are there, apart from the fem-bot, gonna be any sexy females in the game?"
Don’t worry QuezTone, there are at least two other sexy females in the game, and it really depends what kind of date you want to go on. If you’re into Internet dating, you might want to email IRIS, Wheeler’s digital assistant. Wheeler programmed her to have a flirtatious personality and a body to match. Some of the more colourful dialogue in the game occurs between Wheeler and IRIS, especially when she gets jealous. If you’re looking for a more serious professional woman, you might want to apply to join the Red Rock colony so you can meet the Chief Colony Officer Cimmeria Rajan. She’s pretty feisty and definitely distracts Wheeler from the task at hand a few times. Not to mention the fact that she runs the place. So you see QuezTone, we’re working hard to improve your social life! :)
Look for RTX Red Rock for PlayStation2 and Gamcube this spring.