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Not Just a Passing Wind

Vol. 2, Issue 13
February 22, 2000


So you are trying to recapture some of that element.

Mills: Yeah we're doing our best to build up a lot of suspense, but on the same token, we have to have a payoff because it is a game. The idea is to actually lead to something so you will encounter creatures in the woods. Ghosts, etc.

click to enlarge!

More concept art (85k).

Yeah I don't think you could do a whole game like that and not show any monsters. Can you tell me about some of the enhancements you're making to the Nocturne Engine for the Blair Witch?

Mills: Yeah we've taken all the feedback we've gotten from the hundreds of people, a lot of Nocturne fans on the fan sites have given us good feedback about what they liked and didn't like about the game. Controls are going to be a lot friendlier than they were, you'll have those 180-degree turns so you can spin around real quick and easily. Opening doors, picking up items, climbing ladders, all the action things that we had a problem with before, are being fixed now, so that in addition to them working better, just by default we'll also highlight the item to show you what you're targeting. So if you walk up to a door and there's a light switch beside it, if you turn a little bit to the right, the light switch will light up. If you turn to the left, the door will light up. So there's never a question as to what's going to happen when you complete the action. There are no jumping puzzles at all. We left the ability to jump in even though you're not required to jump at all. I hate jumping puzzles.

“You must find the red key.”

Mills: There are no keys. There's not a key anywhere in the game. We've got an Automap feature that draws out a map. You'll be able to enter various field notes. [Doc Holliday] keeps very detailed field notes that shows every conversation she's had with people in it, so that if the player forgets something, they can always go back and review the conversations that they've had previously. There were some issues in Nocturne where, if people hit the cinematic at a bad time or if they just forgot, there was no way to tell what their goal was at that point in the game if they loaded a saved game. We've taken care of that.

Good. Can you tell me about the new monsters that we're going to face and the weapons we'll get to use?

Mills: The hero of the game is Doc Holliday. She'll have her Enhanced Charged Radiance Emitter, which is based on the original one that was used in Nocturne, but it's a bit modified, and enhanced to affect more than just the undead or night-dwelling creatures. The creatures you will encounter are mostly taken from references made in the movie and documentaries. There are a lot of ghosts and spectral-type creatures. Consequently there's a lot less blood in this game than there was in Nocturne. So hopefully Wal-Mart will be at peace with our content.

Smith: Yeah and the ESRB. The ESRB has really fucked up ratings. It basically comes down to whatever the one person there that looked at your game gets a gut feeling for it. They can brand you as an adult rating, or a mature rating, or a teen, or a kid. And all of which do affect your selling in retail. It's kind of weird, I mean it's a good rating and I'm all for it, I just wish it was more clearly understood to the general public, the buyers, and also to the developers exactly what the hell they're trying to say an M rating is. They're still not very clear about that.

Mills: We're trying to make Blair Witch not as a mature rated game. What is the next one? There's one between teen and mature? Because we don't want to be shunned by buyers like Wal-Mart. But still we're making a game based on a rated-R movie that the topic of which, is the man who murdered children. So it will be difficult to keep away from adult themes when discussing Rustin Parr.

I can understand that. Another element in the movie that really affected me was the complete lack of musical score. Somehow it made the experience more real for me. Are you going to ignore that and take the same route that you did with Nocturne with the incredible musical score?

Mills: More than likely we'll be using the Nocturne-style score which isn't background music, it's like contextual music. It shows up at the appropriate moment to build suspense or to reveal emotion.

Thanks for your time, guys!

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon currently holds the world record for using the word "exhumed" 15 times in a single sentence.


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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Rowan Crawford. This interview is © 2000 Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon, Jeff Smith, and Jeff Mills. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited. So don't do it, or we'll scare the bejesus out of you.