This time, Pig-Min did an e-mail Intervie with Chris Delay, Lead Designer / Developer of Introversion. Hope you'd enjoy this interview!

Korean version of this Interview

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Start of everything. [Uplink].


1. [Uplink] was the start of Introversion, and opened new era of Indie Game scene. It's very interesting & addicting game, even if it has very lo-fi & old school graphic. But it's kinda risky thing to do, very unique & unusual theme with retro outfit. How come to decide to make game like [Uplink]?

No-one to my knowledge had ever made a game about computer hacking and I couldn’t understand that ? it seemed such a great theme for a game! So [Uplink] was really born out of that desire to create something unique and completely different to anything else out there. Perhaps it was a risk but at the time it felt much less of a risk to make something original than try and directly compete with other games companies by making another first person shooter. [Uplink] wasn’t the first game I’d worked on but it was the first to be made into a complete and sellable product.


2. Right before [Darwinia] released, Introversion sold Poster of [Darwinia] to earn some money to finish it, as I recall. [Uplink] was big bang & well sold game for an Indie game at then, so there might be some reason that money was short at then. Maybe due to 'Strategy First' problem?

You’re right Uplink did sell incredibly well and it far exceeded our expectations. I think part of the later cash-flow problems we suffered came from our initial inexperience.

We hadn’t really budgeted for the fact that game sales would take a dip after the first couple of months and by the time they did, we’d already spent a lot of the money. Looking back its quite ridiculous really ? we spent ?10,000 just on our trip to E3, splashing out on speedboats and fast cars. It was all huge fun but we paid for it later!

When 'Strategy First' filed for bankruptcy we did lose out financially but the other main issue was that we really hadn’t budgeted for the fact that [Darwinia] would take so long to complete. We had initially thought it might take a year or so, and we had enough money to keep us running up to that point. But [Darwinia] actually ended up taking 3 years to finish and by that stage we were well and truely in trouble. Some of us moved back home with the parents to save money and we ended up selling alot of stuff on eBay to try and make ends meet. It was a really tough time but in reflection I think that having experienced that, is probably the reason why we’re still here today. I do believe that bad times make a team stronger in the end.


3. When [Darwinia] released, it's sold through 'Steam' & became very famous. As I assume, that was very good chance & business deal for both of Introversion & Steam. Introversion needed 'Good Publisher', and Steam needed 'New & Brilliant Game'. How was business with Steam at then, and when [Defcon] released?

Steam has worked out very well for us and there are many advantages to a small company like ourselves using Steam. The royalty rates for the developer are excellent and you are able to expose your games to a much wider, more varied audience which not only helps to sell more games but also improves your company profile within the industry.

[Darwinia] had sold disappointingly when first released through our own store, but its release on Steam enabled us to have a second launch and I think it was partly to do with Steam and our raised profile that Darwinia was voted for so many awards at the Independent Games Festival Awards in 2006. Similarly with [DEFCON] we’ve been really happy with the way it’s sold since its launch last September.


4. Recently [Darwinia] was picked for 'MSN games for Windows Vista'. Most of the games were Casual games, except for [Darwinia]. How come to be chosen in that list?

It’s always difficult to know exactly why a publisher chooses your title for a particular platform. However Microsoft have shown themselves to be keen to support gaming on all sorts of different platforms and whilst the casual games would have appealed to the mainstream audience, its my guess that in using Darwinia they also hoped to appeal to a hardcore gaming audience as well.


5. There are 3 games of Introversion until now, [Uplink] - [Darwinia] - [Defcon]. They are all entirely different genre - game object - interface style, except for retro graphic style. And especially for [Darwinia] & [Defcon], they have opposite theme. [Darwinia] was about 'Peace', but [Defcon] was about 'All dead'. There might be some reason why, all of your games are totally different. Please share your opinion about that.

I think its not so much about trying to make games that are the opposite of the last but more as you say about making sure that every game we release is truely unique in some way and that’s why the quality of the ideas we generate for games is really important. 

Ideas occur fairly randomly although i do pick up inspiration from movies ? [Wargames] was great for that, it inspired [DEFCON] and the hacker elements helped with creating [Uplink].

Originality of our games is extremely important to us and its made possible by the fact that we fiercely protect our independence. We don’t mind working with publishers but we will always retain the rights to our own IP, that way no-one can change it but ourselves and we won’t be forced into making games that fit in with the current trends or churning out endless sequels.


6. Months ago, [Defcon] mobile version & [Defcon] Lan tournament were announced. Introversion games might be sold well & very famous, but not sure it's such a 'Hugh popular'. How many copies were sold for your games?

We never sell as many as full commercial titles, but each game we make sells more than the previous and we’re very happy with how popular our games are. 

The very nature of what we do is experimental and niche, so we’ll never compete for the number 1 sales spot, but we don’t need to ? our costs are much lower because we’re small and mobile, and that gives us the freedom to try things that other companies won’t go near.


7. Do you have any future plan for New games? If so, please let us know about that.

We’re developing two new titles at the moment called [Multiwinia] and [Subversion].

[Multiwinia] is a multiplayer game set in the world of [Darwinia], and it plays very differently to it’s single player inspiration. [Multiwinia] is going to be a fun, fast and furious-paced set of mini game modes ideally suited to those times when you have all your friends over and what to play something thats a easy to pick up and a lot of fun.

[Subversion] is a longer term project, still in the experimental phase.  We don’t really want to say too much about it at the moment but we are writing a regular blog about it’s development. You can read our blog here.  


8. Please recommend other good Games, and explain the reason why.

I’ve been playing Bioshock recently.  It’s an incredible achievement ? ten out of 10 in all areas.  The graphical effects, the art direction, the audio, the story, the whole thing is so well done.  It’s raised the bar for everyone I think.  


9. Please leave some message for Pig-Min readers.

It’s really great to see that we have some support in South Korea and on behalf of the rest of the Introversion team I’d like to say thanks for that! ?  Keep an eye on the Introversion blog (http://www.introversion.co.uk/blog) if you’re interested in keeping up to date with all the latest game developments here at Introversion.


Korean version of this Interview
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