Article: Tony Warriner Interview

Tony Warriner Interview

23 Sep 2005 | 3 Comments

Broken Sword Rus has conducted an interview with Tony Warriner, and they have kindly given us the English translation to post here. Enjoy!


1. Please, tell us about yourself. Russian gamers would like to know more about you.

I'm one of the founders of Revolution - from back in 1990! The first game I wrote was for a "home computer" called the Amstrad CPC-464. The game was called "Obsidian".

2. Why did you decide to create computer games?

In those days (the 1980's) there was no internet. So you got your computer, played some games, got bored of them, learnt to program and then before you knew it you were writing a game - in assembly code!

3. We are in the know that you believe "Beneath a steel sky" is your best game. Why?

I think BASS has a certain rawness to it. You'd never say it was over produced or overly influenced by any commercial pressures. It was also created a small team, which I think also adds something to a game - something lost with todays big producer-led projects.

4. You communicate with your fans quite a lot. What do you dislike most about their behaviour?

The only thing that slightly disturbs me is people with very strong views on some aspect or another, but little or zero appreciation of the industry, and how it functions - or doesn't, as the case may be. But generally I really like to interact with the fans. We make games for people to play, and enjoy. It's important to hang out with them.

5. Please, describe your working day like in "Revolution".

At the moment it's very easy, as I'm not doing anything for Revolution ;-) I expect later this year I will get back together with Charles Cecil to see what we might do next.

6. How do you spend your free time? Do you play computer games? What category of games except adventure do you prefer, if any?

I am currently playing Another Code on the DS - a neat little game; everyone should take a look. I'm thinking of having a go on World of Warcraft but I'm a little worried about it taking over my life!

7. What do you think about adventures? What latest adventure games do you consider the best? A lot of gamers think that this category of games is now almost dead. What do you personally think about it?

I think the better games are generally the older ones. Though to be honest, there have not been any big-budget pure adventures for many years now. The Broken Sword series is the only high profile high production adventure brand still going. I thought Day of the Tentacles was pretty clever. Then I'd go back to the Level 9 games - Return to Eden, etc. You can play all these games on emulator - a whole history of adventure gaming lying largly ignored!
As to the future, I am predicting a major backlash towards the type of generic 3d licence-based content we will be seeing for the next-gen consoles. But until there is a proper indie market for games based on content, rather than technology, we will not see adventures make a big return. Personally, I would like to find a way to do a contempory feeling 2d adventure game; going back to a low budget with a small team and seeing what can be done. However, for this to happen there needs to be some changes in the way games are funded, and sold to players.

About Broken Sword

1. How did you ever come across an idea of making Broken Sword? How did it all start?

To be honest, I can't take much credit for it. A number of people, including Charles, of course, put the basics together back in 1994. At the time, of course, there was no feeling of it being an idea that would run to at least 4 games, over a decade of success.

2. What do you personally think about BS? What is your favourite part and why?

I think isn't one particular aspect of Broken Sword that makes it popular - it's instead a coming together of different elements - George, Nico, the locations, the humour, and so on. We see in forum discussions that everyone has differing opinions on this issue, or that, which rather proves the point.

3. Who is your favourite secondary character?

Definitely Nejo in Syria - I think the script is very funny. Simon Templarů lol.

4. We have an unusual question. What happened with professor Peagram, was he killed by Khan?

He was certainly "got at".

5. Many gamers think that BS2 was the weakest game of the series. What is your opinion of it?

I think it is not so bad - I see that people have been revisiting it recently to check out the truth regarding Emily's status as a ghost - so the game is still yielding secrets for some players. There are issues to understand with BS2 though. BS1 was a pretty expensive game to create. For the publisher, it was a kind of experiment. The idea was to make a very slick adventure game, with very high production values, and see how well it could do against the other big non adventure games. I think initially they were disapointed, and so BS2 was downgraded in status, with its budget and timeframe halved from that of BS1. You can obviously see that in the game. Of course, ten years later Broken Sword is still selling - unlike most of the other games from the same era, which are now long forgotten. Along with the publisher, I might add.

6. When you were creating BS3, was it difficult to transfer from two-dimensional game to a three-dimensional? Did you know that the new game would be in 3D from the beginning of work over it?

BS3 was always to be 3d, and it was fairly difficult, yes. There is such a large technical overhead of 3d. So many issues to deal with that never surface with a 2d game. A lot of 3d games never make it to market because the weight of problems just drags the projects down. Again, we were on a tight budget in terms of time, and money, compared to other big games that we would have to compete with.

7. What was the most difficult about creating BS3?

Technically; dealing with complexity. Gameplay wise, there was nervousness surrounding the issue of what styles of gameplay were appropriate for a 3d adventure in 2003. For quite a few years before bs3 there had been very few big-budget adventures - none that I can think of. Even Lucasarts had pulled out, retreating into doing Star Wars games. Under these circumstances, publishers worry even more about the whole idea of publishing an adventure, and developers are pulled this way and that trying to justify their ideas.

8. A question to you about the main anti-heroine - Petra. What is her nationality?

I'm not sure we ever specified it - Eastern European was probably what we said.

9. Rolf Saxon's voice means much for the fans. Why did you choose him to be the voice of the main character?

I think the casting director suggested Rolf, then when we heard the voice we knew it was right.

10. Germany fans decided to create their own fan-game Broken Sword 2.5 The return of the templars. How do you take it, do you like it or not?

It's a couple of years since I met up with the 2.5 team in Leipsig. I said to them then that Revolution were wholly supportive of the project. To us it's a signal that the series remains popular.

11. We don't want to press you, but still we would like to ask you a question about the fourth part of the game: what can you tell us about BS4?

Not much :) My feeling is that it is a game more confident of itself, given the experience of developing bs3. It will be a nice game.

About "Revolution"

1. Recently you have had a personnel retrenchment. How many employees work for "Revolution" now? Do you feel sorry for Steve Ince who left your company?

Revolution is a faily loose collaboration of people, these days; comprising the best people who worked on the games over the years. Obviously it centers around Charles and whatever he wants to work on. At the moment that is BS4. Revolution isn't a huge office full of developers anymore. For independent development those days are gone, for the time being at least. Where there were once many hundreds of Revolution-sized companies in the UK, there are now virtually none. We managed our transition pretty well, in so much as we still exist.
Steve and I are exploring lots of new ideas at the moment, so Steve is in pretty good shape.

2. Why was "Good cop, Bad cop" project closed? Or was it just frozen?

I think our producer left the publisher amongst a cloud of politics - not good for the developer projects left behind! Such is the games industry.

3. Recently we have heard nothing about "Beneath a steel sky 2". What happened with this game?

To be honest the status is pretty much the same as it has been for the last couple of years. It's live, but not moving very quickly.

4. Would you like to tell our site something special, something that you haven't mentioned to anybody yet? : )

There was no Temptress in Lure of the Temptress until about 2 weeks before the game was finished ;)

5. And finally, what do you think about Russia? : )

If think the world would be a better place if every country loved adventures as much as Russia!


Deborah Jean Wilson | Sunday 30th of October 2005 07:07:38 AM

more games like broken sword series, as you said very funny script on all!

Maaatt | Wednesday 23rd of August 2006 12:33:47 AM

When i grow up, i wanna be Tony Warriner - lol, seriously
I love Broken Sword and BASS :D

Alchemy | Friday 06th of October 2006 11:26:19 AM

Man, no controversial questions about Dave Cummins' escape from the company and the frictions between him and Tony? Dear.

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