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StrategyPlanet | Interviews | Shiny: Sacrifice - Brownlow & Otero
by Dragon | September 13th, 2000

Shiny Entertainment seems to be dedicated to bringing interesting and unusual titles to the PC. Their last release, Messiah, put you in the role of a hero that possessed his way to victory. Their newest title Sacrifice will soon be released and it promises no less of a unique experience. In the world of Sacrifice you are a powerful wizard out to collect souls to strengthen your legions. Art Director Joby Otero and Lead Programmer Martin Brownlow took some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions about this strange upcoming title. Now let's get to the interview.

[Dragon] Sacrifice appears to be an amazing title that has silently slipped through with little attention as it quietly approaches completion. This differs vastly with the advertising muscle that pushed through Messiah. Was this quiet progression an attempt to not overshadow Messiah's release, was it incidental, or were there other reasons to keep it hush hush for so long?

[Martin] I can't speak for Dave and Interplay's reasons, but the way I figure it is that because we have not had the media attention, we have been able to focus on getting a great, playable, immensely fun game, without the fan base questioning every decision that gets made along the way. This to me seems to be the best reason for keeping a title quiet.

[Dragon] I know that James, the god of earth bears a striking resemblance to another gaming icon, but otherwise Sacrifice seems to have taken its own path to creature creation. Can you point to any inspiration for these unique designs?

[Joby] I've never had any particular inspiration on Sacrifice other than the ideal of "form follows function". I'm quite fond of the simplicity and intuitiveness of old-school, arcade games, the Mario games in particular. What could possibly be more clear than the function of a character whose entire body is a cartoon-ish bomb with feet?! I love that approach and wanted populate Sacrifice with creatures that were, in their own way, as easy to understand. One creature, called the Sawman, was nothing more than a pair of legs with a giant sawblade in between. Guess what he did? Unfortunately, I had to take him out of the game for other reasons, but he's a good example nonetheless. Beyond designing creatures with a clarity of purpose I let my imagination free and brought much of my personal style to the simple functional shapes. This gave the creatures a clarity of purpose when viewed from afar and yet humor, personality and a transcendent wackiness when standing cheek-to-cheek. :-)

Of course, as we added more artists, every one of them has brought their wacky influences to bear on the final look of the game. For instance, Jon Gwyn has had a HUGE impact on the look of the creatures. His detail-oriented approach works great over my oft simplistic/functional approach. We also share a wierd sense of humor that seems to effortlessly seep into each new creature. Manjit Jhita's amazing animation abilities have allowed us to fill the game with bizarre shapes that we would have been foolish to attempt otherwise for fear of having uncomplimentary movements that would have looked ridiculous. Manjit could make you believe a bar of soap was a living, breathing thing.

In the end, the game looks cohesive because we've found great artists that were all working in similar styles and had the range to bend and blend where necessary. This has made the whole process a joy and avoided a lot of politics. I am extremely privileged to work with these guys. :-)

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