An Interview I Found


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#1 Pumpkinhead

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 04:43 PM

Jullian Gollop (designer of X-COM: UFO Defence) tells how X-COM was created: said:

We showed a demo of 'Laser Squad 2' on the Atari ST to Microprose in 1991. The idea was to produce a sequel to 'Laser Squad' but with much neater graphics using an isometric style very similar to Populous. They liked what we had done so far, but they explained that they wanted a 'big' game. I said "what do you mean by 'big'" and they said "well, you know - BIG". They also said that it had to be set on earth, like Civilisation or Railroad Tycoon, because people could relate to it much more. So we went away, scratched our heads and thought about it. Then we came up with the idea of adding on a grand strategic element to the game, very firmly set on earth, in which the player managed an organisation that defended the planet against UFO incursions. I bought quite a few books on UFOs for research purposes so that we could give the game an even more 'authentic' basis.

The project started reasonably well with myself and Nick designing and programming, while the art was to be done by John Reitze and Martin Smillie at MicroProse. Soon we had some problems because Microprose did not understand our game design and they asked for clarification. Several documents later we were not much better off and I had wasted a lot of time. Certain creature types were removed, including the 'Men In Black' and others added. Then the whole project was nearly axed when MicroProse made some cutbacks due to financial difficulties. Everything proceeded reasonably smoothly for a while until Spectrum Holobyte acquired Bill Stealey's shares in the company. Our producer was made redundant and the game was nearly axed again. Finally we had to spend a couple of months working very long hours at MicroProse in Chipping Sodbury to get the game finished by the end of March in 1994.

Now, there's 2 reasons I'm posting this... First of all is that it shows that it has never been smooth sailing for X-COM, even from the get-go... And secondly, it confirms that the game was, in fact, finished at the end of March, 1994!
"The flash of light you saw in the sky was not a UFO; Swamp gas from a weather balloon was trapped in a thermal pocket and refracted the light from Venus."
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#2 Neorapsta

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Posted 13 May 2004 - 05:53 PM

I remember this, I read it a while back.

#3 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 12:17 AM

Better have that aniversary soon, then... :power:

*re-starts his chant*

Down with Microprose! Long live Mythos!
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#4 Pete

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Posted 14 May 2004 - 06:58 AM

Quote

And secondly, it confirms that the game was, in fact, finished at the end of March, 1994!
Indeed, we have greatly over-shot our deadline for the anniversary party...

...but I do have ideas for some sort of bigger event to be revealed around the end of June/beginning of July. There will be competitions and prizes :power:
I want to see the inside of the UFO in my avatar.

#5 Zombie

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Posted 17 May 2004 - 05:48 AM

Way to go Pumpkinhead! By tracking down this tidbit of information, you really settle the age-old question of when X-COM was completed. Sounds like when Spectrum Holobyte acquired those shares they became Microproses' parent company. Since the game was under devolopment for quite some time before the acquisition, Spectrum Holobyte got frustrated when they did not see progress. They probably imposed the end of March 1994 deadline to the Gollop brothers by saying something like: "Either finish the game by the end of March, or we will pull the plug on the entire project"! Julian and Nick Gollop were fearful of losing their game (and possibly their jobs), so they put the hammer down and somehow finished the game before the target date, and the rest they say is history!

Appendix A (pg. 363) of the Official Strategy Guide by David Ellis, gives a similar account, but does not mention when the game was finished.

So the game was finished at the end of March 1994. When was the game released to the public? Sometime in 1995? Sure, different countries had different release dates, but what is the earliest date recorded?

As for a late June/early July anniversary party consisting of competitions and prizes... well, I'll have to see it to believe it. I am not accusing anyone of foot dragging, but in any case I will celebrate with a bottle (or more) of a good dark German beer, play my favorite game, and reminisce of the first missions I went on in the world of X-COM! An anniversary party would just put the icing on the cake!  :power:

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!

#6 Zombie

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Posted 02 October 2017 - 04:07 AM

I guess this ties into Pumpkinhead/Danial's first post so I'll put this here. Found a great interview today with Bill Stealey about some of the history of MicroProse, how he met his wife, bamboozling game store owners to buy his games and Sid Meier stories. Unfortunately no mention of UFO:EU.



Hope this is interesting to some of you! Posted Image

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




JellyfishGreen said:

Zombie: Empirical data's your only man, when formulating a research plan.
A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
They call me Zombie because I don't sleep, as I slowly struggle to climb this heap,
of corpses, data points, and trials, but from the top - I'll see for miles!




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