GamesTM Discusses Perfect Dark With Martin Hollis

GamesTM recently interviewed Goldeneye and Perfect Dark designer Martin Hollis to learn more about the development process behind Rare’s hit sci-fi shooter. A portion of the interview is provided here, so be sure and visit GamesTM for the full interview!

Perfect Dark was supposed to be GoldenEye’s successor, but we’ve heard you turned down the pitch for Tomorrow Never Dies instantly?

Well, yes, I did, but of course at the time it wasn’t known as Tomorrow Never Dies; it’s like the films – they’ll only ever call it ‘Bond 17’ or ‘Bond 18’ and so on. We knew the project was supposed to be tied into the next Bond film, and after completing GoldenEye, I had absolutely no feeling that I wanted to go back to that [franchise]. I’m a massive fan of the films – watching the films in their entirety over countless Christmases – but three years of being loving and faithful to that universe felt enough. Any longer on a Bond project wouldn’t have been creatively interesting to me; it wasn’t a long debate, turning it down. I said to [designer David Doak] ‘I don’t want to go back’ and he agreed and that was it.

We’ve heard there was supposed to be a complex light/dark mechanic, but development here was held back by technical capabilities at the time?

Oh yes – and that was reflected in the name of the game. It was supposed to be a game about light and dark, and the ignorance of not being able to see a large percentage of the world you’re in. We did some tests with Steve Ellis, and it turns out the Nintendo 64 couldn’t deliver even the smallest bit of what we wanted there, and it would be a lot of years before we’d see a mechanic like we were planning. The original ideas again go back to Ridley Scott – in his [cinematography], he certainly knows how to use light (or the absence of light) and the properties of materials like smoke, water and so on to make an image sing on-screen.

It was certainly my desire to have something of that kind in-game. Even now, the technology isn’t really sufficient to hit upon what I wanted – you still can’t make a ray-traced game… even after the technical side of things, you’ve got to think about mechanics. Even now, it’s early days in terms of seeing light and dark used to form interesting game mechanics.