George Broussard Gets Annihilated
George Broussard is the man behind Duke Nukem, and one of the partners at 3D Realms. His long career in the gaming industry has brought us the Duke Nukem games, but also Shadow Warrior, and others.
When we asked Chris Taylor if he would be interested in being interviewed by George Broussard, his immediate reaction was not only "Yes!!" but he also asked for the opportunity to interview George in return. This interview is the result of that.
- Jason Bergman, editor.
Life at 3DRealms, and that damn goo on the microwave
How many people work in the 3D Realms office?
Let’s see…checking our web site real fast ;) Looks like we’re at 29 now, and we’ll probably be bringing on 1-2 more guys to help with Duke Nukem Forever in the near future. We like to keep it pretty lean and mean though. Once you get too many people, you lose the ability to communicate with them all directly and the place loses it’s personality. People start to feel more like “tools” than key employees and I don’t like the thought of that. Besides we just want to focus on 1 or 2 hot games at a time.
When do people usually get into work?
Our typical schedule is 10 hour days arriving no later than noon. Most guys work 12+ hours a day and some weekend time as well. We all just love what we do, and if we’re not home, we’re at the office. It’s not like work. People that wanted to work 8 hour days and no weekends have come and gone through this company. This is a company of die-hards that live and breathe gaming. I never hardly have to ask anyone to work more. They just do by default.
Not really. We keep pretty much to ourselves. Mainly due to work schedules and being busy. Also the fact that people like to pick your brains about your project all the time ;) Our teams are very tight and pretty much hang out with each other. Most of us go eat together, see movies or other activities pretty often. What ends up happening is that most people on a team become friends and hang out together. It’s not like an 8-5 rut job where you just “work” with people. These guys know each other really well and that synergy only helps to make a better game.
Do you guys have paintball wars or water fights or anything like that?
We’ve done the paintball thing a couple of times. It’s great fun to blast the hell out of each other for “real” and not just in deathmatch.
Do you have any hardcore programmers who sleep under their desk?
Our guys are definitely hardcore, but their also good enough that they don't need to sleep under their desks ;) Some do put in the 36-40 hour stints when they are on a roll. If I leave the office at 2-3am in the morning you can almost always bet there is a programmer in the office still.
I am a little confused by the relationship between Apogee and 3D Realms. Can you tell me how these companies fit together? Do you share the same kitchen area?
Apogee is the parent company. My partner and I spun off 3D Realms a few years ago because it was obvious that 3D games were the future and we wanted a new “brand” to publish games under. Apogee has already become known for smaller arcade/action games and we wanted a fresh start.
We currently have two teams in house, one for Duke Nukem Forever and one for Prey. We do suspect the Prey guys as the ones that overheat stuff in the microwave until it explodes and you have to scrape goo off the glass.
I hear that Duke Nukem Forever will be the last Duke game? Is this just a rumor?
Not just no, but HELL no. ;)
There will be lots more Duke. He’s the undisputed PC character gaming champ and people can expect lots more Duke in the future. Duke Nukem: Time to Kill (PSX) will be out in Sept/Oct and is a PlayStation exclusive. This is also the first time we’ve licensed the character to someone else to make a game and the guys at n-Space have done a great job. Duke has become an icon and merchandising dream at this point. There are multiple Duke projects in the works and a feature film. There have already been action figures, with more to come, as well as novels. Our goal is to make Duke synonomous with PC games (and gaming in general) like Mario is to Nintendo, or Sonic is to Sega. As Duke would say…”Come Get Some”.
Is there going to be a lot of scantily clad girlies running around in Duke Nukem Forever? I know you can get some heat from people for this but how many complaints are there compared to fan mail saying that they really enjoy this kind of content?
There will be strippers in Duke Forever (DNF). The bottom line is we make the games we want to make and what we believe the fans want. And seeing as the #1 request for DNF is strippers, how can we deny our fans that ;) But we also will not put in mature content just for controversy. It has to make sense and be in context for a Duke game.
For Duke 3D we got maybe 5% negative response to 95% positive. The 5% was just really vocal about it.
I hear there is a Duke movie in the works, can you tell me more about it? What’s the release date?
There isn’t a release date as of yet and things are still in the early stages, but it’s all very serious and moving along. It’s being done by Threshold Entertainment (the Mortal Kombat guys). For the past couple of months, we’ve been batting around plot/story ideas and trying to get something we’re all pretty happy with, so we can move to the script stage. We are definitely staying involved with the whole process and want to make sure things are done right. We don’t want a Street Fighter or Mario movie on our hands. So, just like the games, it’ll be done when it’s done.
Can you tell me more about what is going to make Prey a next generation shooter?
Well, the technology is pretty solid and tends to do more things than we’ve seen in other games before. Overall, I think it’s just a blend of a very story driven character/universe combined with a cutting edge engine that will make Prey unique. It’s taking a little longer than we originally planned, but that’s because we want to do things right.
I'm also curious to know more about the story, can you tell us a bit about it?
Paul Schuytema (Project leader for Prey) could probably answer this better, but…you play Talon Brave, a native american, who’s in his mid twenties and is, well, a bit of an underachiever. He just doesn’t care about much and just wants to be left alone. Ultimately he gets forced into a situation where he has to fight (as the Prey) for Earth’s right to exist. He’s a reluctant hero thrust into an alien world and scheme he cannot control and he has to fight his way out of it, or die trying.
Which is Prey going to be remembered for the technology or the storyline?
I think the technology will grab people first, and pull them into the game. But the story and gameplay is what they will remember for years to come. If we do things right, we should create a game that transcends it’s technology, and we’ll create a character and a universe that will spawn a few more games.
Max Payne is slated to be released by G.O.D. How do the other publishers feel about this?
GT Interactive is cool with it. They currently have Duke Nukem Forever and Prey. With Max Payne, we wanted a little room to experiment and they didn’t give us any problems. Overall GT has been really cool about things. We don’t deal with any other publishers at the moment, besides G.O.D..
Is Max Payne going to be the next Duke?
Duke games are all about pop-culture references and cameos, so it’s not that much of a stretch to imagine Max Payne, or Talon Brave in the game. Or other popular game characters for the matter.
What are the minimum specs this will be playable on?
These things change all the time. The bottom line is that Max (or any game) should run on a broad range of hardware when it ships. You need to push the limits a little, but not too far, as Unreal did. I’d think a P266, 32-64 megs and a Voodoo1 would be sufficient, but again, it’s a little too early to tell.
Are scantily clad babes going to be commonplace in Max Payne games?
The Remedy guys might choose to do that, but again, only if it’s in context and appropriate. And not just for show. But since Max is based in modern day New York, I’m sure we can all imagine some gritty/seedy parts of towns with peep shows, hookers, strip clubs, crack whores and more.
loonygames would like to extend a big ol' thanks to Chris and George for their cooperation in these interviews...thanks a bunch guys! :)
|Credits: Illustration © 1998 Dan Zalkus. This interview is © 1998 Chris Taylor & George Broussard. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and totally not cool.|