Viewpoint :: Interviews

An Interview with Martyn Brown

1. How many of you were there at the beginning when you were 17-Bit Software?
About 5 or 6, all the developers were contracted workers at that time and not really part of the company, but that came later.

2. What was it that made you decide to get into the commercial market?
We just felt that we could compete and certainly not do much worse than what was being put out by others. In addition we wanted to really use the Amiga rather than see all the ST-ports.

3. What was the deal with the "Team 7" stuff in Full Contact?
The bunch of guys we got together initially called themselves "Team7n" and this was later amended to "Team17" because of the 17bit link. The build of Full Contact featuring the "Team7" logo was actually a copy of a stolen set of disks - it was never a legal release and wasn't the final version of the game either.

4. What is your fondest memory of working during the old the Amiga days?
Because we were publishing and the costs were more controlled, we could afford to try new things and give people opportunities to shine. Every day a new demo or idea would roll up and it was a terrifically energetic period - very exciting.

5. Rumours of a non-platformer sequel to SuperFrog floated around a bit last year. Can you tell us anything?
It was just a concept - they are created all the time.

6. Are there any previous games you would like to see revived for the 21st century?
Apart from Alien Breed, I'm not so sure - many titles seem to be going strong and been around for ever. I think the quality on production & content is very high these days and many older games would struggle to make the transition.

7. Are there any non-Team17 developed games over the past 5 years that you have found yourself glued to?
Absolutely, I've probably spent way too much time on Pro-Evo-Soccer3 of late, but there are lots of titles I've played and really enjoyed over the years. I think its fair to say that you tend not to play your own companies games too much since you spend so much time with them on a daily basis.

8. As the Games Industry becomes more about the money and less about innovative, original gameplay, are you finding it hard to come up with ideas that will appease Publishers?
Somewhere along the line, attitudes from publishers will have to change, but if anything it is seemingly becoming even more unlikely since the finance required for major titles continues to rocket. Many publishers get turned on by ideas only for the sales & marketing departments to struggle with their numbers because it's a new concept that's untried. It's a chicken and the egg scenario that I think will continue to force sequels, franchises and licenses - but it's the same with Movies to a large extent.

9. What is your opinion of the Games Industry as it stands at the moment?
It's a maturing, corporate-finance driven entertainment media for the mass market, in the same way as Music, Movies and TV. Years ago it was driven by enthusiasts and gamers and it's not so much the case now, where marketing overrides much else. We still have fun, but it's more of a job in the industry today.

10. Finally, what's your favourite Team17 title? :p
I took perhaps most pleasure from our earlier works since everything was so fresh and exciting. At the same time, its been great building the company and working on a title such as Worms3d which really was a collolosal effort, all things considered. It would be hard to pick out a particular favourite, to be honest.

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