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Indiana Jones Interview
- LucasArts Entertainment Company
- Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
- Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (For PC)
- Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (For PSX)
- Curse of Monkey Island
- "Hey, You Got Your Action In My Adventure": Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together
- The Best Of Adventure Games
- State Of The Adventure Game Address
OUT ON THE WEB: ···· LucasArts Official Web Site ···· ···· Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine Web Page ···· The Indiana Jones Webring ····
Indiana Jones Interview
Los Angeles, CA
Chris Jensen Exclusive

Indiana Jones makes a welcome return in LucasArts' latest opus, Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine. The last time we saw Indy in a game was The Fate Of Atlantis, an exceptional adventure game along the same lines as Monkey Island. This time around Indy has traded in the point-and-click experience for non-stop action and problem solving, much like Lara Croft and the Indy-inspired Tomb Raider. With whip, pistols, grenades, satchel charges and bazookas, Indy sets forth on a globetrotting adventure centered around the mysterious Tower of Babel. You won't have any Nazis to kick around in this adventure as they've been traded in for Cold War Soviets, but you can expect a ton of monsters and other creatures to impede your progress. Featuring a great-looking 3D engine, deep story line and atmospheric gameplay, Indiana Jones And The Infernal Machine may very well give Lara Croft a run for her money. In anticipation of the release we spoke with Hal Barwood, project leader of the game, and pried out of him as many details as possible.

Okay … what the heck is an Infernal Machine?
It's a gateway between worlds, housed in what we've come to know as the Tower of Babel. Marduk, the god of ancient Babylon, inspired King Nebuchadnezzar II to build it, hoping to extend his domain across the boundaries of space and time. But when the King's men fired it up, lightning bolts sprouted, tremors shook the earth, and the terrified citizens of Babylon tore the place down. Four disciples escaped with some of the parts and were scattered to the four corners of the globe ... just waiting for someone like Indy to come along and dig them up.

Comparisons to Tomb Raider will be inevitable. What do you feel are the gameplay elements that help Indy advance the genre?
I don't feel comfortable making comparisons with other games. We offer a unique experience to game players -- a rip-snorting adventure that is built upon an exciting tale, featuring a character who's smart and tough. There's nothing else out there quite like it.

Did George Lucas have any input on the game, in story or gameplay?
Well, he certainly inspired it by creating our hero, the savvy treasure hunter and cool tough guy who knows how to respond when he gets cornered. The story of The Infernal Machine and the game itself originated here at LucasArts with me and Team Jones.

Did you create an entirely new graphics engine for Indy or has it appeared in previous LucasArts games in one form or another?
Well we did, and not entirely by design. Paul LeFevre, our lead programmer, started out by adapting the Jedi Knight engine to feature a third person point of view. Having a roadmap to 3D code was very helpful, but eventually he and his group were forced to rewrite many, many modules. The lighting model, collision, rendering, the tools, you name it. The changes were so extensive that the code turned into the Jones engine.

Indy was announced officially way back in May of '98. What's taken so long to get the game out the door?
Welcome to realtime 3D. 3D level design, 3D programming, 3D animation, texturing, music and sound, scripting, and system programming all absorb a lot of time.

What are some of the locations players can expect to visit?
Indy's always been a footloose adventurer, and we carry his tendency to extremes in this game by sending him all the way around the world. The locations are exotic, ranging from desert dig sites to snow-clad mountain monasteries and the tropical splendor of volcanic islands.

I'm curious where the game fits into the timeline of Indiana Jones. Does it take place before or after Raiders, and will we see some familiar characters?
We're breaking into new territory with this game, the first instance when our fictional character ventures past World War II and finds himself in the early days of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

What are some of the actions that Indiana Jones can perform?
Just about everything. He runs and jumps, climbs and crawls, swims, swings on his whip, handles a lot of heavy weaponry.

How interactive will the environment be?
The level designers and I don't look upon our environments as mere scenery, so the interactivity is vivid. In addition to exploring every cranny to discover the mysteries, Indy can grapple with the world, pushing and shoving things out of his way, writing on walls, traveling in several vehicles.

What kind of opposition can Indy expect to be faced with?
Hordes of Soviet guards and soldiers and the Speznaz, the Russian version of our special forces, plus a wide variety of vermin and furred beasts. Eventually, in the grand tradition of Jones adventures, the world becomes weird, and the enemies do too. On top of that, each machine part is guarded by a fiendish boss monster.

Will there be any kind of multiplayer support? If so, what will it be? If not, why?
We started out with multiplayer in mind, we built multiplayer into the engine, and we started to develop several multiplayer arenas. But we finally realized that the multiplayer option added too much complexity to adequately test, and opted to throw our limited manpower into the single player game. I'm still interested in multiplayer ... maybe someday on another project.

It's probably a given that we'll be hearing John Williams' original Raiders score, but have you recorded new music especially for the game?
With the exception of the Raiders theme, all the spellbinding exotic music, some 130 different pieces, is original ... composed and performed by Clint Bajakian.

Who are some of the voice actors and what have they done in the past?
Doug Lee plays Indy, Tasia Valenza is Sophia Hapgood, Indy's slightly unreliable ally, Bruce McGill plays the C.I.A. agent Simon Turner, and Victor Raider-Wexler plays Gennadi Volodnikov, the near-sighted Russian genius who first discovered the true nature of the Tower of Babel. Doug Lee also played Indy in an earlier game we did, Fate of Atlantis. Bruce McGill has appeared as a character actor in many films, including Animal House and My Cousin Vinny.

What kind of historical research was required and how did it fit into the game, in terms of architecture and such?
We just have books of every description spilling out of our offices and cubicles. Luckily, LucasFilm Ltd. maintains a world-class movie research library, and Bill Tiller, our lead artist, was able to take advantage of it. So our fictional world is grounded in fact whenever possible, but we never felt we should be limited by anything we could read in a book.

How many total hours of gameplay can players expect?
Not sure. I first played through several months ago when the game was unplayable, and that feat cost me 72 hours. It's a lot smoother experience now, but the game is huge and varied. However long it takes, I believe most people will finish well before they tire of the engrossing world they've stepped into!


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