Heart of Darkness

Discussion in 'Unreleased Games Discussion' started by Celine, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. Bramsworth

    Bramsworth Well Known Member

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    Just learning about that Saturn build. And it's from the Tokyo Game Show, nonetheless! Surprised it was previewed over there. Can't wait to see what else is on all of those CD-Rs.
     
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  2. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    oh man I'm practically sick with excitement. I would really have liked to meet him too. I'm really thankful you're willing to ask people around about Heart of Darkness because I'm much too shy to take the initiative. Makes me feel like a coward but we all have our unique skills and abilities right?
    You say some questions need to be followed through to actual people from Amazing Studio themselves. I actually very briefly was in contact with Frederic Savoir. Unfortunately the majority of our conversation was me gushing about how much I loved the game and I kinda peetered out for fear of bothering him as he is probably busy with something else. I could try striking up another conversation again. I did ask him a couple questions about a piece of promotional material (A large statue) that was made for a tradeshow the game was featured in.
    Because Heart of Darkness was largely developed by Amazing themselves and the other companies they worked with were the producers, initial information about early development might not be known to people from Virgin or Infogrames. But here's hoping.
     
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  3. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    :) I've just basically gone in with the approach of just asking...... whenever i've contacted anyone from the industry.If they don't want to chat, were'nt anything to do with that aspect, had joined a project at a later stage or simply have forgotten, it was so long ago, that's fine, at least it's another possible avenue looked into.

    I'm going to wager that my contact was more concerned with getting the game made and all the internal and external teams sorted and would'nt of been involved in areas like which formats the game had been started on, which were looked at for future releases, let alone where the funding had and now was coming from....

    It's been the case when i looked into earlier versions of Jaguar Crescent Galaxy..that the coders/artists/playtesters only knew of the Jaguar version had no idea game was started on the Panther.With Tomb Raider..all the coders i spoke to had only worked on PS1 version, the Jaguar CD screens (fakes) info i had to find out from the PR Manager at the time, as it was he who'd supplied Edge with the images.

    You really never know what sort of response you'll get when you approach people, the vast majority are very polite, helpful or upfront with you, i have had 1 very rude person, but even he 'came around' and gave useful info after a while.


    The worst are those you spend putting Q's to only for all contact to just stop, you feel like you've wasted valuable time and those who only want to answer Q's as long as interview is built around promoting their latest and greatest and would rather history forgot all those games they hyped yet failed to deliver.You know your never going to find out what happened too...from those.


    It's the least i can do....to pop a few Q's over to folks on a subject that is of interest to the community.
     
  4. ItsMeMario

    ItsMeMario Gutsy Member

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    When I played it for the 1st time on Plystation...it reminded me of a Commander Keen Sequel...in so many ways... coincidence ? ^^
     
  5. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    The way I understand it, Amazing Studio was very inspired by the films of Steven Spielberg; The Goonies, ET, Back to the Future, etc. which have a similar vibe. Heart of Darkness really feels like something between Commander Keen and Willy Beamish if you're familiar at all with that one.
     
  6. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Don't shoot the messenger :)

    Answers are facing a delay, just had this in:

    'Hi Ross,

    Just to let you know I have not forgotten you - or your questions.
    It's just that a huge amount of work has come my way in the past week and I need to prioritise my 'earners' :)

    In fact it's quite likely that I won't have time to give you a complete reply this year.
    Sorry about that but I thought you should know rather than be hanging around waiting.'


    2016 it'll be then.....
     
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  7. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    Awww man. Well you tried. And people will be busy. At least he told you he's not going to be able to reply right away rather than just leave you hanging.
     
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  8. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Yep, it's a (slight) delay, not a 'sorry, it's no longer possible to answer your Q's' and fair shout to him, he's been 100% upfront with me from day 1.I'd rather have an email like this come in, that sit here, months later thinking what an earth is going on? no replies to Q's or chase emails...

    Plus whilst he is 'The Main Man', fingers crossed i get a few snippets back sometime soon from the playtester i asked a few Q's of....

    I like to be 100% transparent and share any findings/updates as soon as they come in, good or bad...
     
  9. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Eric Chahi was interviewed by RetroGamer magazine a while back, Heart Of Darkness came up and he was asked just why the game took so long....


    He said the gameplay just took a long time, with story, characters and cinematic approach being almost done in 1995.

    As was the level design, but gameplay was'nt coded yet, indeed they had the 1st level produced around 1993, but that was little more than a character on a background.

    They had the game engine for graphics and collision detection, character animation etc but that did'nt amount to actual gameplay.

    Coding in C threw up it's own issues, he found it difficult and had hoped the entire game could be coded in C, as he'd done Another World this way, but it caused headaches, espically the compelling of code, in terms of how long it took.


    So, the team had to create another scripting language on once this was up n running (they had the right tool as it were)...they finalised the game in around a year.


    So, at least we now know why game took so long.

    It would of been fantastic IF RG had asked about all the LOST versions, but limited space and lot of material to cover i guess.This was the 1 and only HOD question put to him..sniff...other than why he left coding (for a while) once HOD was finished.
     
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  10. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    Oh!!! This must have been the "recoding" that I heard about. I read somewhere (Might have been an interview with Frederic) where they were coding on one engine but then had to scrap that and do it a different way. This is probably it.
    Admittedly I'm not too knowledgeable about the technical aspect of game design, so I'm afraid the information isn't too easily understood for me.
    I found the article in Retrogamer and admittedly I'm a bit upset that Amazing didn't as Eric put it "make the right decisions sooner" then the game would have been released sooner and would likely have been more well-known. But oh well.
     
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  11. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Evey snippet of info i stumble across, i'll share up on here.

    It'll be nice to have something of a collective resource on the subject.
     
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  12. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Bruno Bonnell (Chairman of Infogrames Entertainment) talking to Edge magazine back in the May 1998 issue, regarding what was happening with Heart Of Darkness:

    BB:'Acutally, that's an interesting thing.I call it the problem of the surfer:If you miss the wave, you stay here.If your before the wave, it's crashing on your body, and you go nowhere.You want to be on the right wave.With Heart Of Darkness, clearly the technology at that time was not realistic.If you design a mass-market game with this technology, you'd better wait till the mass market is ready to buy it.'
     
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  13. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    Oooh yessss. Checking out the issue now.
    I will say though, better be ambitious and strive for something superior than the current technology allows, even if it ends up being released late it's still good. right? I mean Virgin probably got a little buggered but whatevs.
    *edit* scratch that. can't find the magazine online. Dang it.
     
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  14. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Sadly that was the 1 and only Q put to him by Edge regarding HOD, but i thought i'd share the quote here as it's another source regarding the game and deserves it's place i feel.


    :-( It was also something to add until i hear back from the other source i contacted regarding the game, he's gone very quiet as well....
     
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  15. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Talking of Edge...when it came to review time, August'98 PS1 Edge had it's knives out for the game -(

    4/10.'Unfortunately, in it's quest to produce a cartoon-like title, Amazing Studio seems to have ignored the crucial aspect of playability



    'It may of spent the best part of 6 years in development, Heart Of Darkness emerges as a flawed and deeply frustrating experience'.


    Seems reviewer found fact you had infinite lives meant game degenerated into a process of trial and error, found no incentive to return to game once puzzles completed etc, fact once animation sequence was started it had to be compleeted, cue countless deaths etc.


    Touch of Tall Poppy Syndrome there, as Edge themselves had hyped game right up, only to cut it right down....
     
  16. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    awwww man. I really enjoyed the article they did back in 95. That's a shame.
     
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  17. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Edge can be a funny one....

    Hype up games only to destroy them at review (PC Breed was another), destroy games at review (AVP 4/10 Jaguar), defend review for years, then out of nowhere do a superb Making Of....feature on the game.

    I never know how to take them.
     
  18. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    Doesn't look like reviewer at Arcade magazone was all that impressed with the game either :-(
    3/5 Typically uninspired platform fare.The detailed backdrops and cinematic cut scenes can't rescue the frustrating trial-and-error gameplay. (PS1)


    If anyone is looking for scans of the UK Magazine coverage of the game:

    X-Gen July/Aug'95 ran a nice preview of the PC version.

    Pages 54-57.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2015
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  19. finsterhund

    finsterhund Active Member

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    hah it's not like trial and error is a signature feature of the genre or anything.

    and awww I can't find that issue online either. I wish people would scan more magazines with HoD stuff in them. I mean I have plenty of magazines but I am always looking for more.
     
  20. LD

    LD Peppy Member

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    If you PM me an email addy, i can forward the very mag scans onto you.

    If anyone is after Sega Saturn Magazines coverage, 1st port of call is:

    Issue 8/June'96. It's a cover feature.

    Actual feature on Pages 38-42, again i have the scans if anyone wants them?

    It details history of game, but only mentions PC/Saturn versions.Nothing on CD-i version.
     

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