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Interview with Steve Ince

Steve Ince joined Revolution few years after its foundation and stayed at the company of Charles Cecil for eleven years, up to its dissolution. So Blonde: Forgotten Island is his first adventure game since Broken Sword 3: The Sleeping Dragon.

# By J. Cadenas, P. García y V. Martínez |

Interview with Steve Ince

AyC: What did you feel when Revolution stopped as a full project developer company?

SI: I must admit I was quite upset. It came very much out of the blue; none of us were expecting it. It was a real shock, because I’d been there for eleven years, with Charles and Tony [Charles Cecil y Tony Warriner, the founders of Revolution], and so many other talented people over those years, it was a real shame that the team had been broken up. It was all down to circumstances – it wasn’t any fault of Revolution’s, or of Charles’s. We were working on projects that didn’t get publisher funding so it was an unfortunate situation that could only be resolved by letting everyone go. I don’t have any bad feelings but it was still a shame that a solid team was no longer working together.

I still see Charles and Tony quite regularly, I had coffee with Charles last week, and I was actually surprised he wasn’t coming here; he usually comes to all the shows. I know he’s busy on something else. [laughs]

AyC: Probably in the Broken Sword film… Do you know anything about it?

SI: I know as much as probably anybody else knows… that there are people who are taking an interest in it, and doing some pre-production work hoping to be able to raise funds to make a film, but I’m not aware that it’s any further along than that, probably because Charles hasn’t told me [laughs]. He doesn’t tell me everything [laughs].

AyC: What other projects do you have in mind?

SI: I’m working on something at the moment, which I can’t actually say anything about, but I know it’s going to be announced soon, and I think that people will be interested in it, and there are a number of my own projects which I want to try and get off the ground, one of which I hope to make some sort of announcement about soon. Maybe I can say more in maybe a month to kind of to get some feeling of what players think, whether it’s kind of worth pushing on with. It’s kind of a science fictional game with robots and stuff similar to the world of Beneath a Steel Sky, but not a sequel because obviously that would be Revolution’s property. But it’s certainly something that I think is quite a cool idea and the story develops very nicely. We had an initial playable demo going but it’s very rough for the moment1.


AyC: What is the actual reason that you’re redoing So Blonde for Wii? Whose decision was it? Why that move from the Game & Watch style minigames to this new manga style?

SI: I think that the Wii/DS version was a combination of dtp and Wizarbox. Then they just told me what they wanted and I had great fun working with it. We decided to start the game with a variation on the original premise and basically came up with the idea that in this game she would land on the “dark” side of the island and befriend the bad guy before the rest of the islanders. This led to a very different unfolding of the story with lots of major changes and all of the dialogue re-written. It’s basically a new version of the game but not a sequel.

I think the changes in visual style for the mini-games might have had something to do with the platform change and the difference in audience, but I’m not sure.

I was given the idea of starting the new version slightly differently and it was then up to me to develop it. The visual style has always been in control of Wizarbox – it’s their game after all.

AyC: What do you think of the irregular critiques the game had in middle Europe? What do you think the causes are?

SI: Like a lot of these things, it comes down to personal taste. Comedy games are always more susceptible to taste than most because if the game doesn’t quite match up to the reviewer’s sense of humour it’s not going to come across in the way it was intended.

AyC: Nowadays is getting more usual the development model in which a designer is hired to make the puzzles and then pass the document to the programming team, who put the game together. What are its advantages and disadvantages opposed to the classic model you used at Revolution, in which the whole team worked side by side until the game was finished?

SI: There are a lot of similarities in the working process. I broke the design down into various iterations and was in constant contact with the developer, Wizarbox, and this enabled them to start work on the game long before I was finished. I also polished the dialogue towards the end of the project so that we could maximise the quality.

AyC: A lot has been said on the German humour and its peculiarities. What do you think about that? Have you had all the creative freedom you had when at Revolution?

SI: There are always going to be some cultural differences, but I’ve never had a problem with the humour of the Germans I know and always enjoy their company. The game is actually developed by a French company and published by a German one, so it’s a real international collaboration, which I find very invigorating.

In some respects, I’ve had a lot more creative freedom than when I was at Revolution. My work there was always vetted by Charles Cecil, as you’d expect, because he was the director of the Revolution games.

I never really held back on any of the humour, but I know that in the translation some of the jokes were changed to make them work better in French and German. I don’t know if the same is true for the Spanish version.

AyC: Anything you’d like to say?

SI: Thank you for your interest in So Blonde and in everything else.

AyC: We thank Steve Ince for his time and kindess.

Editors note: The project he was referring to is Mekapods, and adventure/RPG game starring a robot made from recycled pieces who discovers a dark secret about a conspiracy started thousands of years ago buried in his mind. During this time, he's been tryings to find financing. In relation to this, he declared prior to publishing this interview: “It’s pretty frustrating because I’m trying to come up with some original adventure games and I get the impression that no one seems interested in that. Perhaps I should just come up with a Broken Sword clone – Damaged Rapier or something^.

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