Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
There's a Lot More to Tell

Shannon Drake | 29 Aug 2006 12:03
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"Things like that were tied in or thrown in everywhere. That was kind of the guiding light," and the research didn't stop there. With crazy historical events in place, they began looking elsewhere. He tells me, "We did a lot of research into the occult [and] magic systems, and we really tried to pull it into something that would really make sense and be fun for people to play. At the same time, we tried to ground it in something that's somewhat believable and doesn't break the suspension of disbelief. And one of the things we really tried to do with the story that I personally am pretty happy with -" He pauses to ask if I've played through the game's three different plots, and I confess that I have not, only half joking when I cite a weak heart. "If you actually play it through all three times, and it changes to a different god every time, the story actually explains how you could've played the game three times in parallel, and that's the parallel universes," he says.

That commitment to keeping things believable was something I was curious about. While the undead walk, ancient evils sleep and people travel through time, there is an internal consistency to the story that seems rooted in keeping it believable. I asked if it was intentional. "Yes!" he said, quite emphatically. "Yeah, I think whenever you create any kind of fiction, you have to set up your own ruleset, and if you break those rules, you're going to upset the audience. We think that's really important. When we create content, that's one of the major rules. So, with every game we've created so far, it's basically, here's our set of rules. Here's what we're never going to break. With Eternal Darkness, it was, 'Let's be historically accurate.' So, yeah, that is something I think improves the game and helps people appreciate it more and the content within."

Without question, a hallmark of Silicon Knights' games is a strong focus on history. Eternal Darkness hops across history, Too Human is rooted in Norse mythology and most of their other titles are set in the past or a dystopian dark fantasy that looks a lot like the past. I asked what significance history has for the team, and why it keeps popping up in their titles. "I was a History minor at university," Denis answered. "I love history. I actually think that history is so rich, that there's so much that can be learned from it." He cites Conan, a series and movie he loves, as an example: "A lot of the philosophy was based on Genghis Khan. And a lot of the things that Conan would say would be straight from that. And it's sort of, well, people don't realize that, but it sounds really good, and they like it. I think by having that kind of foundation, we create something that's enjoyable and entertaining. And in the end, that's what we're trying to do, is entertain people. If we have that grounding in history, god forbid people learn something. I think we do [learn something] through osmosis, and I think that's a nice secondary goal."

Mythology is another big feature of Silicon Knights games, be it the Norse mythology of Too Human, the vampire lore of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Omen:_Legacy_of_Kain" title="Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain" target="_blank">Kane, or the Lovecraft-style mythology of Eternal Darkness. I asked what motivated that. "I think ... [mythoi] really are rich, involved and deep, and I think it's just a love for that stuff. I don't know if you've seen our blogs, but I was a big Ray Harryhausen fan. And, to me, when you look at the Cyclops or the statue of Kali, when you start looking into those mythologies, you're like, 'Wow, that's really cool stuff,' and then you look at the interpretation, and the interpretation adds so much more.

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