Big interview with Piranha Bytes. Part 1 - Interviewing Sascha Henrichs.
risen2.ru: Sascha, could you, please, introduce yourself to our readers? What's your work in Piranha Bytes team? What are your responsibilities, what are you in charge of?
Sascha Henrichs Hi, it’s Sascha Henrichs. I’m in the 3d environment department at Piranha Bytes. My tasks can widely vary and can involve everything graphics related but characters and monsters. Most of the time i’m accountable for 3d environment props, may it be modeling them on my own or processing the outsourced props.
risen2.ru: In one of your photos we saw you with a heavy beard. Would you like to grow one again? (It suits you very well, by the way ;-)).
Sascha Henrichs Thx, but no, not really, it was only an experiment.
risen2.ru: Do you see video games in your dreams? If so, can you recollect at least one of your dreams?
Sascha Henrichs No, i never dreamt of any game. But there are times, when i’m very much into modeling at work, then i have daydreams when looking at things and directly see actual geometry in my mind.
risen2.ru: Have you ever had a wish to go back in time and fall to something different than creating the game which is loved by thousands of people nowadays? :-)
Sascha Henrichs Hmm. I wish i had learned fine arts and some programming.
risen2.ru: Concerning the latest reportage of 3min.de the fans were delighted to see the inner and outer world of your Essen studio. Cemeteries, Parks... there was no showing off, everything looked pretty... Do you like the office you're working at?
Sascha Henrichs Our office is great. It comes along very lively and natural. It’s everything but a standard office. Working here feels a bit like living in a huge living community...All included..big partytime and big drama.
risen2.ru: If you had to move into one of your games for permanent residence, which would you prefer and what would you take there with you?
Sascha Henrichs It would be too hostile everywhere...so in any case I'd bring my personal army, two or three tanks, loads of concrete for bunkers and an exorcist... Also I’d go into Risen 2 world. It’s sunny there.
risen2.ru: Who in your opinion is the most outstanding pirate ever lived on earth?
Sascha Henrichs Most of the time pirates are pretty mean guys, aren't they? We are game dev’s and tame pussies so i cannot endorse any pirate action.
risen2.ru: What are in your opinion 3 the most outstanding human deeds for the whole history of humanity?
Sascha Henrichs Noodles with scrambled eggs and ketchup, of course BMW 3 series and spaceships. Order may vary and items might change every ten minutes.
risen2.ru: Let's now talk about the team.
Sascha, now there are 20 workers in your team and each of them has his own interests and character. Have you learned anything from each other during the years of work together?
Sascha Henrichs Actually an interesting question, since i don’t think we learn too much from each other. What we see at work are only fragments of the personal characters who work here. You only learn to estimate and handle the different characters here over the time.
risen2.ru: Are there situations when a member of your team gets so much involved in his work that he stays at the office for the night to meet you at the door with a tray of fresh coffee in the morning?
Sascha Henrichs Sure this happens from time to time. But usually the guys won’t be at the door with a coffee but in front of their screen or on the couch with drinks ;D
risen2.ru: In one of his interviews to Russian press in 2009 Bjorn Pankratz told that there were altogether about 150 people working at Risen including outsourcers and other workers. Does the sequel have the same number or it has gotten larger?
Sascha Henrichs I don’t know the numbers. It’s perhaps a bit more. But none of the outsourcers will be with us the entire production time. So the times when really 150 people are working on the title simultaneously might be rare.
risen2.ru: If your fans set up a monument to Piranha Bytes what would it be like?
Sascha Henrichs Please no monuments...We are not dead yet.
risen2.ru: The Internet now is all about memorable phrases which are so many that there are even special encyclopaedias not to get lost among them. But are there any local memes within your team?
Sascha Henrichs Sure there are plenty and ever changing memes/running gags we laugh about and mostly they grow in the single bureaus but don’t go outside it.
risen2.ru: The seamen are superstitious people. Do members of Piranha Bytes have their superstitions?
Sascha Henrichs Indeed we have some people here who are superstitious. But most likely people here believe in facts.
risen2.ru: What happens to those who dare to stir up a mutiny in the office? A desert island and a pistol with one single shot?
Sascha Henrichs There are too much captains here, there will never be a mutiny.
risen2.ru: Let’s turn to Game industry in general.
How does the process of developing a game go? From the creating the first concept to final release? What's in your opinion the greatest thing about modern game development?
Sascha Henrichs As i already said in an earlier interview, you get a concept or make it on your own, then model the item, make it awesome with textures and then get it into the engine..or let getting it into the engine.
And the best aspect of modern game development is pretty much everything what modern game development is... well besides developing for those damn consoles... which then again is everything what modern game developing is all about... sigh.
risen2.ru: What do you think is simpler or more interesting — to create something from scratch, having no plot, no previous game to push off from (as it was with Risen 1) or to continue the existing story and work in the same universe?
Sascha Henrichs If someone would ask me, which you actually did, i’d say that telling a never ending story with episodes in an ever same universe would be a most pleasing experience for both player and developer. We saw that with Mass Effect 2 DLC Missions. As a developer we could invent an ever changing plot and put interesting twists into a storyline and the player would love to see
more of it. Think of a TV series with an interesting and ever changing story as a game. Well at least I’d like that.
risen2.ru: What knowledge and professional skills should a person have to get a position like yours? What could you advice to amateur 3d-painters?
Sascha Henrichs The CG world grew large over the years. A todays artist has to rush through a vast amount of software and techniques in a short amount of time to learn everything. So to be honest, my advice for a todays artist is to visit a CGschool besides self-teaching.
risen2.ru: Is it hard making games? ^^
Sascha Henrichs Hmm, being Bear Grylls is definitely harder!
risen2.ru: Ok, that's enough for this subject. Now turn to the games. First of all, let’s return to the past and speak about your games in general.
In your previous games everyone could notice special attitude towards the sea. You are sure to have some favourite novels and movies devoted to sea adventures? Which are they?
Sascha Henrichs As an effects nerd and a fan of mainstream movies I wonder how any old pirate film can compete with Pirates of the Carribean. So I doubt anybody at PB has a secret collection of old pirate films at home where he chose some favourites from.
risen2.ru: The legends about Atlantis and fiction like 20000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne offer many interesting ideas for the game industry. Would you like to borrow something for your own games? The setting is quite favourable after all.
Sascha Henrichs Yes why not. Everything you will ever invent storywise will only be a mashup of thousands of impressions you ever had. So might be that there will be some King Kong/WW1/Independence Day/Sesame Street Plot one day... wait a minute I have to write this down...
risen2.ru: It's no secret that you had to make Gothic 3 different from what you had intended to do at first. Would you personally want JoWood haven't hurried you with the release so that you might have realized everything what was planned? Or it's what you're making right now with your new universe of Risen?
Sascha Henrichs For me G3 is one of my favourites. It was a huge advancement for our game graphics. But I won’t shed a tear over it, these are old stories. Now we have a new Title and that’s completely ok.
risen2.ru: The Nameless Hero is an essential part of your games. Is it so because you want players to identify themselves with the character better or are there other reasons?
Sascha Henrichs This was decided back in the day in Gothic 1. And it would have been cheesy to name our Hero afterwards.
risen2.ru: You are probably aware that one of the largest Piranha Bytes games fan communities, apart from Germany, is made up of Polish and Russian fans. These are thousands of people who follow every step, every act and word of yours. Could you expect, when you were doing your games, that Gothic and later on Risen would gain people's love all over Eastern and Western Europe?
Sascha Henrichs Absolutely NOT! Hello Fans, we love you!
risen2.ru: In addition to the previous question, are you pleased to feel that the community is still reinforced by young enterprising and energetic people, who also expect something up-to-date from you?
Sascha Henrichs It is in fact somehow interesting, that even young fans seem to know Gothic1. I tried to play it lately, but the graphics are just too old.
risen2.ru: In several interviews some members of your team said that after Piranha Bytes parted with JoWood you thought of making an addon to Gothic 3 or even wanted to start working on Gothic 4. Hence, we wonder how they might look then and what the main changes would be?
Sascha Henrichs To be honest, I don’t have a clue and questions about the Gothic series are getting old. It’s just yesterday's stuff. We have to focus on the current games to be able to compete with the big titles in any way.
risen2.ru: Let us turn to the first part. Was it hard to begin everything from nothing, when you left your child to those rude men from JoWood? =) How much effort did it take your team to create a new universe with its own history and characters?
Sascha Henrichs We had not much time for this, and it’s always a challenge to create new things from scratch. But if you noticed the story of Risen begins pretty much where Gothic 3 ends. So perhaps we had one or two ideas just before we started Risen.
To be continued...
Дата публикации: 2011-08-07 16:38:02