Clive Barker's Jericho -- why no buzz?

I would have thought that, as much as everyone liked Undying, there would have been more excitement about this one. Myself, I just found out about Jericho today. Sounds pretty good: kind of a cross between Project Eden and Silent Hill. You control a squad of supernatural soldiers and can jump between them at any time to control them individually. Each one has (of course) his own special mix of powers/weapons/whatever, which is where the tactics come in. The story also sounds interesting, hopefully involving more than your standard, forty-dollar grind. Anybody else know anything?

Preview on 1up.

Is it made by the same guys who did Undying? Otherwise, I don’t see much reason why fans of one would automatically be interested in the other. The Clive Barker license wasn’t what made Undying a fun game, really.

(Note: I’m not bashing on Jericho, here–I actually think it looks pretty promising. I just don’t see any real connection between the two games.)

Well, there isn’t (much reason why fans of one would automatically be interested in the other), I guess, other than that Barker wrote most of the script for Undying and his name was plastered all over the game box. For most people, I think, news of another game by a guy whose name is featured prominently on the box of a popular game invites interest. But maybe you’re right. Maybe nobody really cares about Clive Barker and that’s why there seems to be so little interest in Jericho.

I care about him, though. Barker’s works have character, if nothing else, and that is what so many computer games today stand sorely in need of.

(And to answer your question: I’m not sure if the Undying guys are involved with Jericho or not, but the game seems to be Barker’s show this time around. He’s not just a figurehead. He’s the designer…or at least the conceptual designer, or whatever.)

Undying was done by Electronic Arts’ Los Angeles studio. They might have been known as Dreamworks at the time. Barker was very much a figurehead on that game. From what I could tell, he didn’t do much beyond lend his name and a smattering of concept art

Jericho is by developers in Spain who created American McGee’s Scrapland and Blades of Darkness before that. I have no idea how involved Barker is with the actual development, but I’d be skeptical of what I read.

-Tom

Sold!

Ok, I’ll take your word for it. I was getting my info from an article on 1Up:

But instead of Barker coming in and offering help on the script as he did for previous titles Undying and Demonik (the latter of which never finished development), the idea for Jericho came from Brian Gomez of Alchemic and Barker himself.

I guess my reading comprehension skills leave something to be desired, since I inflated his involvement above what was actually said here, but still, overall, the totality of the info available on 1up sure makes it sound like he’s pretty heavily involved–if not with the actual coding, at least with keeping the game on-track storywise:

Oh, I don’t doubt that’s what they’re selling, muttbunch, when they do their dog-and-pony show for previews. But when EA rolled Barker out to help promote Undying back in 19mumblemumble, it was obvious he knew nothing about gaming, and next to nothing about Undying itself. I say this as one of the guys who interviewed Barker for a preview.

Also, I don’t mean to disparage Jericho. I just think a better indicator of what you can expect comes from looking at the dev’s previous games, Scrapland and Blades of Darkness.

-Tom

Right, which is why I said I’d take your word for it ;) I wasn’t arguing with you so much as attempting to justify what made me think Barker was more involved in Undying than he actually was.

Also, I don’t mean to disparage Jericho. I just think a better indicator of what you can expect comes from looking at the dev’s previous games, Scrapland and Blades of Darkness.

I liked Blades of Darkness. Scrapland? Ehhh…not so much. Still, even though Scrapland didn’t appeal to me, I can recognize the general quality of the game, which seemed pretty high. Jericho’s likely in good hands, presuming they get the horror aspect right.

From when I interviewed Barker for Jericho earlier this year, he himself claims that his involvement with Undying was like being a script doctor that was called into the project quite late, but for Jericho, there’s been more collaboration between him, Codemasters, and Mercury Steam. Like there’s a lot of back-and-forth, as Barker would basically outline an idea for an encounter/level, and the dev team would do their best to make his idea work.

I’ve always wondered why Barker, or some other horror author, hasn’t tried to insinuate themself as the master of that genre of videogames in the same way that Tom Clancy has dominated the military shooter genre. Of course, I doubt Clancy has much direct input into the games that carry his name either, but he’s done a much better job of throwing his brand around.

I’d argue that it’s because A) it’s a smaller genre both in terms of games and print publishing, and B) There aren’t many horror writers that are as huge a brand in Horror as Clancy is for “techno-thrillers” or what have you. Stephen King, maybe, but that’s about it (even guys like Saul and Koontz can’t match the sort of cross-media merchandising power of Tom Clancy or Stephen King). As for Barker, as much as I love his work he’s never really penetrated to the “mainstream” audience either for movies or books in the way that other authors have. His movies have been horror movies, cult or underground hits. His writing for younger audiences like Abarat and The Thief of Always are great but again don’t have the penetration of other authors.

I know a few of the guys who worked on Undying and they actually say Clive Barker was reasonably involved with it – or at least not hands-off uninvolved. Who knows what the real deal was, but I’ve heard some creepy stories about meeting him in person…

Well, to be fair, probably the folks you know who were involved in the game know better than me. :)

I previewed it and was there when they rolled Barker out for interviews. He makes for a great interview, but it was obvious he knew nothing about games and wasn’t the person to talk to if you wanted to actually know anything about Undying itself. I probably shouldn’t extrapolate from that his level of involvement.

-Tom

The only thing I remember about Barker’s input into Undying is that he wanted the final monster to be a giant vagina.

That sounds exactly like something Clive Barker would do.

I’ve always really enjoyed Barker’s writing, particularly the more genre-bending novels like Imajica. The guy has a fantastic imagination, and his prose can be quite elegant.

His movies, not so much. They always seem to fall into the worst sorts of genre cliches.

I’m cautiously optimistic about Jericho, though.

Unfortunately, Rosie was already under contract.

Someone needs to make that mod, stat.

I thought his involvement amounted to making the main character more gay friendly.

Oh helllllls fuck yeah! BOD was the shit!

After Tom’s mention, I felt compelled to reinstall Ol’ Chopper, but it turns out that it hates modern NVidia cards and just crashes at random. That lighting model still rules.

Chop, thunk, CHOP, HACK, spthhssssssssss, splutch, splutch, splat.