Interview: Clive Barker

Gamepro: As a storyteller and writer what drove you to make the transition to video games?

Clive Barker: I think it's a natural curiosity that any storyteller has. When a medium emerges and you ask yourself if there is anything you have to contribute, and is there something here that my kind of storytelling can explore in this medium and allow my imagination to spread its wings? Games, particularly because they are developing technologically, offer someone like me huge opportunities. I would be a damn fool not to take every chance to explore and work with people who want to collaborate with me. I love collaborating with other artists. I come from a theater background, and my writing and painting are a very lonely business, as is working as a producer for my films. So it really is a pleasure to work with a gang of people who may not even be on the same continent as you are, and you get together and exchange ideas and drawings, and something happens. Something appears and is created that I could not have achieved in a drawing or in a painting. It is a thing unto itself and for me that is very exciting.

Can you describe for me a bit of the crafting process for you in developing Jericho? Was it similar to crafting a piece of fiction writing or a movie?

CB: The shorter answer is I begin my work as a writer crafting a story and that quickly develops into using my artistic skills to be able to give people a sense of what things look like, especially the beasts. People know what human beings look like -- they're the easy part. It's what the bad shit looks like that I really got to work to come up with something original. And where Jericho is concerned I don't mind tooting our horn. I think we have some pretty original beasts in there.

What's the basic premise of Jericho?

CB: Jericho is structured as a series of worlds within worlds, or rather I should say a series of battlefields within battlefields, and the Jericho squad is making their way through them toward the source of evil. All the soldiers and armies that surround that creature (and inhabit those battlefields) have given their lives to keep that central source of evil in it's locked down position because if it ever escaped into the world it would do untold damage. So we're looking at Crusaders, Second World War soldiers, and Roman soldiers and each environment, each snatch of history that the Jericho squad moves though, different in feel and design, the means of fighting obviously different - the way the second world war fighters wage war is very different from the way that the roman legions do it- we get to experience the dark, and often grim visions of war torn worlds as we do what is usually the reverse of what people do in horror games. Usually you walk away from the thing that is monstrous, you flee the monstrous. The Jericho squad is primed to face up to these things.

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Todd Melick

GamePro (online)
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