Update: Unlimited Hyperbole is no longer available. There are two episodes preserved by the Thief community on Youtube which are linked in the episode index, however other episodes have since been lost to time.
Games are a multi-disciplinary artform. They aren’t just limited to using words, music or pictures to tell their tales, but can use broader devices too; emergence, artificial intelligence and environments. These, as much as anything else, help inform the character of a game.
Of these tools, it’s the environments we play in which most concerns Rob Briscoe. He’s worked as an environment designer on projects such as Mirror’s Edge and Dear Esther and in this episode of Unlimited Hyperbole he discusses what his role entails, the aspects which characterise his wider style and the pressures that environment designers are often under. Most amazingly at all, he also provides the first hints of what his next project might be, years before it may otherwise come to light.
Unlimited Hyperbole is a short, weekly podcast about videogames and the stories we tell about them. The show is divided into seasons of five episodes, each with a topic that’s used as a prompt when interviewing special guests. This season we’re talking about “Matters of Character” – and to find out more about the production of this episode, read after the jump.
This interview was amazing. I often say – and recently remarked on Twitter too – that I consider it to be a good sign for a game if I’m proven to be terrible at it but I still enjoy playing it. After interviewing Rob I think the same may hold true for conversations too though because, in the hours Harriet, Rob and I chatted for, I seemed to pursue all the wrong ideas.
I asked if the storm drains level in Mirror’s Edge were meant to be evocative of missile silos and therefore vaguely threatening (they weren’t), I asked if Rob had a personal interpretation of Dear Esther’s narrative (he doesn’t), if Rob was annoyed by things like the Dear Esther wiki (nope) and a dozen other things, all wrong.
But it didn’t matter, because I was having fun asking questions and Rob knows what he’s talking about. We had a chuckle over the fact that I took such an apparently odd read on some of his work, then ploughed on. Cuts from this episode included lengthy discussions about how to get into the industry, Rob and Harriet’s take on survival horror games such as Silent Hill and the design influences on the caves in Dear Esther. All fabulous stuff.
And…man. I can’t wait to hear more about that game Rob’s toying around with either.
It’s worth saying, by the way, that Unlimited Hyperbole is at a critical juncture now while we decide what the future of the series will be. Initially the plan was to end everything after a few series, or to re-jig it on another platform…but we’re open to other ideas.
If you’d like us to keep the show going, if there are things you’d like to change? Let us know. We love criticism way more than praise, here. It’s healthier.