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(My) Interview with Faran Thomason

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This one i did on behalf of Grumpy Old Gamers.

 

Lot of it might be 'familar' to Jag Fans on here, but i try and aim these things at those who are'nt quite so familar with the Jaguar and put in questions on misc Lost Games etc for those that are.

 

http://www.grumpyoldgamers.co.uk/index.php?/topic/3104-faran-thomason-interview/

 

Hopefully there's enough fresh insights in their to go around. :-)

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Many thanks for the kind words.

 
You know how i roll with these, nothing too serious, just informal affairs done via email, as i'm not a skype or facebook user.Not point dressing them up as something they are not.
 
Just informal 'chats' really, try and get across a 'personal touch' as that seems to generate best responses in majority of cases and delighted to see others enjoy them.
 
More to come i hope, online wise.Lot more saved up for 'publication'.

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About the Mind Ripper videogame, i didnt know the details about it. I actually watched the movie BITD, starring Lance Henrikssen. Seemed like an interesting project, the movie was pretty bad, even for a B-Movie, only watched it cuz of Lance and Natasha Gregson Wagner were on it, hehe.

 

Seems crazy the part were he mentions that Mortal Kombat 3 got pushed back becuase they already had a bunch of fighting games released, as well as the Thea Real Fighters project. i mean, i would understand if those games had been decent, but all the Jaguar released fighting games were from bad to mediocre.

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Faran here,

RE: MK 3

 

Since it was 20 years ago, that is the best of my recollection on MK3, but there might have been some other random reason why it never got too far off the ground. It's possible that there was a demo since it was just a port and we had the graphics and source...but don't quote me on that and start looking for something that doesn't exist ;) 

 

RE: Mindripper

I think we could have gotten away with a fun and cheesy game and there were a lack of FPS type games on the Jag. And we would have been able to leverage the likeness of Lance Henrikson and the full cast, so if we actually got it done I think it would have been a cool cult game no matter how it turned out.

 

RE The pics my scanner is busted, but will improvise and try to send some stuff along and or post some pics here if people are interested in BTS stuff from Atari back in the Jag era.

 

Glad you folks enjoyed the interview!

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I recall reading somewhere that at least one of the Tramiels (I don't remember if that was Jack, Sam or Leonard) had no personal interest in Atari once it went bust, and viewed it as a business among many others, so he wasn't interested in doing interviews about it.

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I recall reading somewhere that at least one of the Tramiels (I don't remember if that was Jack, Sam or Leonard) had no personal interest in Atari once it went bust, and viewed it as a business among many others, so he wasn't interested in doing interviews about it.

 

If true, that would explain quite a lot.

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Here is a pic of the MK 3 & NBA JAM Machines from Atari HQ

Man, having an NBA Jam and Mortal Kombat 3 arcade at work must have kicked mucho ass :) . Dont tell me the Tramiels charged you guys for playing them ;) !

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RE: Mindripper

I think we could have gotten away with a fun and cheesy game and there were a lack of FPS type games on the Jag. And we would have been able to leverage the likeness of Lance Henrikson and the full cast, so if we actually got it done I think it would have been a cool cult game no matter how it turned out.

 

Totally agree, at least it would have been way more interesting than stuff like IWar (which is a pretty decent game actually) or Aircars. Just having Lance Henriksen likeness, as you say, on the game, would have made it cool.

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RE: Pong 2000

 

Honestly I don't recall, but it does sound vaguely familiar. Since Atari owned the rights it's very possible that we probably had treatments for every popular IP that Atari owned. And I do remember Chris Gore coming by and doing stories on Atari. My guess is that it was a treatment and there was no demo. Good or bad there was no shortage of ideas at Atari. And probably every Jag game that you know of had a tentative sequel that was discussed but that was the nature of the business. Look at all the sequels and or remakes from the Jag and Lynx era and you can see the pattern.

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Mr Faran, another question, do you know what happened to Tiny Toons?. There were screenshots (mockups?) shown since the Jaguar launch, and they looked amazing. It was a very popular license, and the Jag needed a mascot type game badly, since they were so popular back then. How come Atari slept on the chance to make Tiny Toons their flagship mascot/platformer. Two prototypes have been  found, and both are very diferent games and seem very early on development.

 

Do you recall anything interesting on Tiny Toons development?.

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RE Tiny Toons

 

Actually I am drawing a blank. I didn't I have too much involvement with that one. I know one version was internally developed and its possible that the other one was externally developed. But since I wasn't involved in that project I don't remember the specifics. Nor can I recall why at least one version didn't get finished. But its possible that it could gotten kicked around to different people due to staff leaving or moving to different projects. I am pretty sure we had actual animators who had worked on some popular cartoons at that time. 

 

While I am not sure this happened on Tiny Toons, this kind of thing has happened at most game companies I have worked for. When upper management initially sign the deals with movie companies to license characters everyone is excited, however if the production is not going as planned and the license fee bills become due, sometimes the project is killed to get out of the licensed deal. This has even happened at places I have worked like Nintendo so it's possible Tiny Toons which probably was not cheap may have met the same fate...Just speculation on my part though.

 

I might also add that the production staff was small in proportion to the amount of games being developed. I myself was probably working on 5 or 6 games at any one time and almost all the devs were European, so our business hours were different. 

 

Also in regards to "flagship mascot game" in general I think we wanted to own the IP for whatever character that would be. We did the a "cross company" competition to create a mascot. I think some of the ideas have been floated around here. They were all pretty bland or cliche, we chucked the "funny animal" concept and pivoted to the "Black Ice/White Noise concept".

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I am not sure if it was after Bubsy or I-War Atari had a word with Imagitec about doing Tiny Toons. I remember looking at a block set for the game. It was very detailed and a lot larger than Bubsy's . I don't remember seeing any toon sprites or even a game design  and thought it would be a tight squeeze on the jag. Imagitec passed on the game.

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