UPDATE FROM EDITOR: Antony Johnston has contacted me to clarify that he in fact stated that Dead Space 3 was headed in a “different” direction, not the “wrong” direction, as well informing me of a series of other errors in this interview. The interview has now been updated in areas to better reflect what Antony said.
Upon publishing, I was under the impression that Antony’s answers were all direct quotes and had not been paraphrased. Antony contacted me to let me know that this was in fact not the case. If I had known the truth when I was handed the interview, or even when I asked Patrick to confirm the quote around Dead Space 3, it never would have been published.
StickTwiddlers prides itself on providing readers with accurate information as well as it’s professional relationships with those within the industry and it is definitely apparent that we let you, Antony and ourselves down on this occasion.
We at StickTwiddlers apologise profusely to Antony, Visceral, EA and the readers for this situation and can assure you that nothing like this will ever happen again. I would also like to thank Antony for his absolutely professional behaviour throughout this matter. -Ben Cordell
“The “answers” presented in that interview are paraphrased versions of what I said based on scant notes, taken over pizza, late on a Friday night. They should not be taken as direct quotes, or even factually accurate in some cases. For instance, I was 27 when the first Silent Hill game was released — far from a “child”, and not really the sort of thing I’m likely to mis-state.
“The Dead Space Quote” is the main thing I need to address, though, because it’s simply not what I said, or even implied.
What I actually said was that Dead Space 3 is clearly heading in a *different* direction to the first two games, as EA themselves have publicly stated, to appeal to the broadest audience possible. I did *not* say this is the “wrong” direction. I did say that personally, as a big fan of old-style survival horror games, I think it’s a shame they have to make these changes in order to sell more copies. But that’s the reality of making mega-budget games these days, and I have a lot of love and respect for the DS team at Visceral.” – Antony Johnston
Patrick grabbed Dead Space and Binary Domain writer Antony Johnston at Manchester MCM for an interview in which he voiced his opinion that the team behind Dead Space 3 “may be taking it in the wrong direction”.
When asked about what he thought about Dead Space 3, Johnston stated that “I haven’t seen much of Dead Space 3, perhaps as much as you, but what I have seen made me worry a little that they may be taking it in the wrong direction. That being said, I have a lot of faith in the team and I’m sure they won’t disappoint the fans”.
– How did you actually come to work on Dead Space, apart from EA asking you?
“I always loved games like Silent Hill, and when I chatted with the development team they all loved Silent Hill as well. EA are big fans of Silent Hill, and we wanted to see a little of that in Dead Space.”
– A few of our readers were wondering if you got a sense of fear from writing Dead Space?
“Not from writing it, but playing it, yes, a lot of fear!”
– What else can you tell us about Dead Space, that we don’t already know?
“Well, as you know there were three writers, including myself. I was working on the comic as the game was being developed, and EA basically said “Fancy taking a crack at writing the game?” so I said “sure.”
– What work did you do on Binary Domain?
“Binary domain was interesting to work on, the story had been written. Then I was asked to westernise it, translate it if you will, then sent it back and they re-translated it. It was fun, and different, but there are certainly things I’d like to see changed.”
– Is there a big amount of difference between writing a game and a comic? Even if they’re the same plot?
“Oh yeah, you have to take into account interactivity, but it’s still writing, still al lot of the same skills being used. There’s a difference in form and player agency, you need to be able to engage them on so many more levels than a comic, such as gameplay, but a comic always lets you have more control.”
– What are you working on at the minute?
“I’m working on ZombieU, with Ubisoft. It’s looking really good. As I’m not an artist or programmer, I can praise those aspects from a non-biased perspective”
– Do you think that the survival horror genre is dying?
“I have high hopes for Silent Hill, and I’m encouraged by Amnesia. It has a cult following. Developers and publishers need to come to terms with it never being a mass thing, like books and films, it’s a niche. But there’s still profit to be had, and they should set expectations accordingly.”
– Do you have any unlived dreams that you’d like to fulfill in future?
– “Well, I have no complaints about who I’ve worked with in the game industry, but I would love to oversee my own gaming project. The only way I can see that happening is they turn one of my books into a film, then to a game, which is pretty – actually very slim.”
– Have you considered Kickstarter?
“Well, it’s easily done if you have your own studio and you can code and design, but it’s as simple as I don’t, and I can’t. I wouldn’t be able to help people if they got stuck on something. All I can do is write. It’s a nice thought though.”
– Do you have a favourite video game character?
“Jade, from Beyond Good & Evil. She’s a great well rounded character. She has a great visual design too and I think she’s one of the only female heroines that hasn’t been sexually objectified in a game. She’s a good role model.”
Antony Johnston is very honest when it comes to games, and has written a fantastic horror novel, which is just one more reason to get ZombieU. He knows games better than some and he knows that a story can’t carry a game forever, which is more than some companies will admit to. A game completely overseen by Antony Johnston to us, would be a huge success.
For those interested in Anthony’s comic career, check out the following interview on Comic Conventions UK