Posted by: Daniel O'Brien | August 13, 2007

LiveBlogging Ian Livingston: Games with Character

My and my colleague have just sat down to what promises to be one of the Festivals most interesting talks, from legendary games Designer Ian Livingston OBE.

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Begins with a video showing some of the most interesting video game characters to date.

Goes on to a comical slide show where people have to ‘shout out if they get stuck’, showing obvious characters, not just from video games – Mickey mouse, Superman, Rocky Balboa, Darth Vader, Noddy, Indiana Jones (no one has shouted out so far), the Hulk, Scooby Doo, double checks afterwards that everyone is happy with the answers.

Moves on to exclusively video game characters. Runs through the list, just as easy, but this guy is really quite funny with it!

Talking about the X factor in game characters, what is that special something in a character which a player attaches to?

Showing some videos with people and their tributes towards iconic video game characters, asking, what makes them do that?

GenCon fancy dress competition, Lara [croft] Crazy Golf (four of ’em, actually) etc. etc.

“High Concept”:

They need to be different, memorable, notes Hitman on the screen, (mobile phones going off left right and centre), the barcode on the back of his head, get people talking about him, giving him a mysterious number which intrigues people about him.

Cute characters clearly have immediate attachment.

Concept Art: Lots of choice, face, body costume. Need to lock it down early, lest you enrage your artists. Shows first concept drawings of Lara Croft, no, her breasts are not as big as they are these days.

What’s in a name?

Is it Descriptive or whimsical? Lara Croft was orignally named Lara Cruz.

Character Background? Begins talking about Kane and Lynch, describes it as a story driven action game. Apparently Kane started off as a younger character, more of a ladies man, obviously modelled on Mr. Livingston (guess whose words those were).

Referring to Lynch, he’s never liked such a schizophrenic murdered so much.

Dialogue, very important to get it right lest it annoy players. Are we creating a serious or humorous approach? Hollywood has realized the importance of dialogue he says, we as an industry should follow suit.

Now showing a video demonstrating the power of dialogue, it’s a Half Life 2 machinima, quite funny so far.

Jack Nicholson is one of the voice overs in the characters.

Lots of shouting, I’m scared.

Dr. Vance is the Judge, good stuff.

“You can’t HANDLE, the truth”

He makes a very good point, with some very good lip synching to a powerful scene from a Hollywood blockbuster, the scene becomes lot more powerful itself, more so than almost any cut scene I can think of within a game.

He talks about Daffy Duck (?)

Now talking about Mood now, decided to show off the Hitman movie trailer, with Mr. Babyface himself. Chris and I both agree everything in the trailer is excellent bar the actual face of Agent 47…a shame…

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Now showing off some trailers of Kane and Lynch, talking about True Character.

Intellectual Properties, obviously talks about Lara Croft, showing off a trailer, might get a picture up here if you’re lucky. Talking about how using a IP and how you can really use it to your advantage, as seen in this Lucozade trailer

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Now, lucky us, we get to see some exclusive footage of exclusive Kane and Lynch real time gameplay. It looks pretty good, destructible environments, not in the league of Stranglehold I hasten to add, hopefully we’ll be able get some pics up here, because I was sure as hell snapping some 😀

Now, to the Edge Awards, Chris…

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