Interviews// Haze's Screen Writer, Rob Yescombe

Posted 23 Apr 2008 09:26 by
Games: Haze
SPOnG: Can you say anything about the platforms for TimeSplitters yet?

Rob Yescombe: We haven't even decided what we want to do yet. It could be any platform. It's still paper design at this point. We haven't got to a stage where we're pitching to publishers exactly what platforms. It's still unsigned, so we wanna do it our way and then say, 'this is what it's going to be, do you want to pay money for it?'

SPOnG: Can you give us a bit of background on how you came to be writing games?

Rob Yescombe: Well, I started writing professionally 11 years ago, while I was still at university. I oddly got writing for Indian cable television. Even though no-one was watching it, it gave me a chance to get the bug.

From there, I got into TV format development. From there, I got into feature film development, script editing. The way I ended up at Free Radical was kind of weird, because I wrote a sitcom that never got made, but it got shortlisted for a TAPS award?, and Free Radical were speaking to TAPS saying 'we need a writer' and they happened to find me, and the rest is history.

SPOnG: How does writing for games compare to writing for TV?

Rob Yescombe: The main difference is it costs as much to blow up a truck as it does to blow up a firework, and that's the coolest thing about it. And even thought there are restrictions that are kind of abstract, like in a movie you can have a thousand extras and it wouldn't really cost you very much, and in a game it's much harder, rendering characters and having them do what you want with AI ? it's very hard to do that. But you can have a big explosion for cheap. So it's ebb and flow...

It's a good life!

SPOnG: Long hours?

Rob Yescombe: Most of the time, the more technical you roll, the more consistently you're doing long hours. For me, I'll do long hours for a very short space in time, get a lot of stuff done, then sit on my hands for a week or so while we're waiting for that to get into the game, see if it works, then get into something else. So I'm up and down.

SPOnG: Once the hardcore coding gets underway, is there a lot for you to do, then?

Rob Yescombe: Well, that 1,000 page doc doesn't get done all at once. The purpose of having someone in-house - because, you know, a freelancer will come in, write a script and disappear ? being in-house means that when something needs to be tweaked, or re-designed, or cut, or added in, it means they're not waiting six months for someone to polish dialogue that was written by a designer, instead they've got someone there who can write and have it in the next day. And that is a constantly present thing.

SPOnG: Is Haze going to be on the 360 or PC at any point?

Rob Yescombe: I don't know. I don't even know!

SPOnG: Would you be personally disappointed if it didn't make it onto either of them?

Rob Yescombe: Sure. I want as many people to play it as possible. But then, those people have the free will to go out and buy a PlayStation 3.

SPOnG: It's more affordable these days...

Rob Yescombe: And now they've got a game that'll make them wanna buy it!

SPOnG: You see Haze as that game that will make people go out and buy a PS3?

Rob Yescombe: I would really like that. A lot.

SPOnG: Will your online multi-player be better than CoD4?

Rob Yescombe: It'll be very different, because... CoD4, me and Derek were looking at it, and there's a lot they've obviously got a lot that's... not ripped off from, but very similar to GoldenEye. Things that GoldenEye did right, they've noticed and capitalised on. They've got the golden gun, of course, as well.

We're just trying to do something different. People say, 'how do you think you compare to Halo? Well, you know, there are similarities in the sense that they're first person shooters, but the core combat experience is completely different.

SPOnG: Thank you very much for your time.

Rob Yescombe: Thank you.

?TAPS is a TV-writers' training programme.
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