Gollop and the Story of X-Com


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#1 FullAuto

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:37 PM

Interview at Eurogamer.

Sales:

Quote

Eurogamer: How many platforms did X-Com reach?

Julian Gollop: The PC, Amiga, the CD32 and PlayStation. It didn't do too badly on the PlayStation, which surprised me I was sceptical. I thought it wasn't the kind of game that was good for a console. The total physical sales were around the half a million mark. But of course many more people have played the game than that. A lot of people I meet played X-Com, but they didn't necessarily buy it!

TFTD and Apocalypse, ruined by ego.

Quote

Eurogamer: And the sequel, Terror from the Deep, came next?

Julian Gollop: Microprose wanted us to do a sequel in six months. We told them the only way we could do a sequel in that timeframe would be to change the graphics and tweak a few bits. Eventually we came to a compromise: they'd license our code to make a direct sequel, and we'd do the third one in the series in two years. TFTD was made entirely by Microprose; we had no input apart from giving them our code. They managed to do it in a year, but they had a much bigger team. A shockingly large team, I thought at the time, 12-15 people.

We earned lots of cash from X-Com, so we hired more staff at Mythos. But the deal that Microprose wanted was that they did the Apocalypse graphics. It was a disastrous relationship from the start. They had some very fancy, rather expensive ideas: they hired some relatively famous artist who made physical models of the aliens, which were then scanned into their software. It didn't work very well. The Microprose artists couldn't quite understand how isometric graphics worked. It was enormously difficult, and I think overall the artwork was done pretty poorly on that game.

It was a disaster area. Apocalypse was quite a sophisticated and ambitious game, but it was a big mistake from our point of view. In retrospect, we should have originally agreed to do a sequel in six months, and spent a year doing it, like they did! It would've been a lot better.

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#2 Pete

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 07:11 AM

How come he doesn't like Apoc? I know features were unfinished but I thought it was rather complete otherwise and easily the second best X-COM game (though your opinion may vary).

Yes, the graphics were too stylised and by the sounds of it if they'd been left to go their own direction we wouldve had aliens that fit the series better, but otherwise it was a great game.
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#3 Space Voyager

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 09:02 AM

I completely agree with you, Pete. Julian may have had even bigger ideas for the third game in the series and he might have been a little hurt by Mythos being cut from X-COM, so his view could reflect that...

I loved Apoc, the most for not needing to shave during missions. :P

Art style etc. is IMO far better in X-COM1 though.

#4 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 12:25 PM

You get a different view of a game, being on the development side. But even if it really was a matter of artistic taste, I wouldn't have it any other way - I can't think of any other practical method to get the amount of sprites that game has in any realistic amount of time.

I mean, it's not like I've sat down and counted them (... yet), but MegaPrimus was far more diverse then the entire world was in both UFO and TFTD combined. Odds are you wouldn't even get to see all the sights of the city in a single play through.

And as for the unit animations... well, they left the previous games in the dust. Units could run, jump, crawl, bend down and kneel, walk, sidle, throw, and so on... There's nothing quite like watching your squad run away and actually seeing them run...
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#5 Thorondor

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 12:50 PM

The interview ends somewhat short. It would seem only natural to have him, however briefly, comment on the very latest developments (the XCOM thing) and what he's currently working on.

Regardless, and considering the overall trajectory, there's no doubt we're very fortunate that Julian got to do the games that he did.

It's a story clearly plagued by consecutive and disastrous takeovers, which led the franchise rather astray. About the only positives I can see from external influence are the extra depth Microprose asked for (which led to the strategic side of things) and the adoption of the UFO theme which really hit the mark in terms of mood and establishing an identity.

::

Quote

Julian now develops for Ubisoft. His current project is Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, a squad-level turn-based tactical game, and launch-title for the Nintendo 3DS
*prays for a PC port*

#6 Bomb Bloke

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 01:20 PM

I'd consider any ports from the 3DS to be... somewhat unlikely. That system is far beneath modern PCs specs-wise, so odds are the game would need a new graphics engine in order to compete on the PC market.

... And I somewhat suspect that if such a thing were to be done, odds are they'd turf the silly "turn based" system while they were at it...
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#7 Thorondor

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 02:21 PM

:P

*briefly considers harakiri*

::

Then again, when they scrap the 3DSs maybe an emulator will turn up... :)

#8 Gimli

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:04 PM

Finally we get confirmation of the game's sales. So it did sell half a million after all. :P

#9 FullAuto

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Posted 29 November 2010 - 08:51 PM

Apparently.  Or more, according to the game's article on Wikipedia, by way of a source, which is Edge magazine (a fairly reliable publication), who reckon it sold 600k on the PC alone.

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#10 chiasaur11

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 08:59 AM

View PostBomb Bloke, on 29th November 2010, 5:20am, said:

I'd consider any ports from the 3DS to be... somewhat unlikely. That system is far beneath modern PCs specs-wise, so odds are the game would need a new graphics engine in order to compete on the PC market.

... And I somewhat suspect that if such a thing were to be done, odds are they'd turf the silly "turn based" system while they were at it...

And then there's, well, the 3D.

That's probably going to be a thing.

#11 FullAuto

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:37 AM

The thing with the 3DS is that, (AFAIK) the 3D is optional.  So perhaps an iPhone version?

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#12 Gimli

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 01:16 PM

View PostFullAuto, on 29th November 2010, 9:51pm, said:

Apparently.  Or more, according to the game's article on Wikipedia, by way of a source, which is Edge magazine (a fairly reliable publication), who reckon it sold 600k on the PC alone.

That's why I said we got confirmation. The Edge source was not sure since there was a typo in the article and we also had some other sources claiming differently.

#13 7h30n

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Posted 10 December 2010 - 01:13 PM

View PostFullAuto, on 30th November 2010, 10:37am, said:

The thing with the 3DS is that, (AFAIK) the 3D is optional.  So perhaps an iPhone version?

Now, that would be awesome!

I hope they do make an iPhone version. It's insta buy on my side. I really can't find a proper turn-based tactical fix.
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