I've recently had the privilege to speak with Dominic Cahalin, the Chief Designer and writer of MediEvil: Resurrection. He agreed to help answer some things about the game, as well as providing his own personal opinion about the game's quality and reception with the fans. Its a great read, if I might say so myself; ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
1) In MediEvil: Resurrection, we can see that the characters and levels from MediEvil 1 were given visual makeovers, different from their original versions. What was the reason for the redesigns?
DC - The senior management team at Sony wanted a PSP launch game and decided that a remake or “remix” of the original Medievil was the way to go. Part of the reason for this was a very short predicted development time – an original game likely to take considerably longer (we only had a year to get the game ready). I was assigned to creating this new version, and worked very closely with very talented producer Piers Jackson in terms of scoping out the project. Being a designer with my own vision I naturally wanted to make it as different as possible from the original (where appropriate) and wanted to improve the game generally where possible. I think I achieved this is some regards and failed in others.
So basically we took advantage of the new technology to make the game as good as we could, to the best of our ability. And this included new level layouts, play mechanics, characters, and graphics.
So many older gamers associate the original PS1 game with the romance of their childhood so much that they actively dislike Medievil Resurrection (there are a lot of haters on YouTube for example ) – they see the PSP version as being too cartoony, comedic, and less playable. I actually think that Resurrection overall plays better than the original (which was actually quite basic to play if you go back to it), but Resurrection is certainly more cartoony and obviously comedic… and Al Zalam is pretty annoying (I was pressured into including him… truly not my idea!).
Interestingly we developed the game originally on a PS2 and ported it to PSP… it’s a shame that the PS2 version was never made available (it easily could have been as a budget game) as it was more playable on PS2 than the PSP version, benefitting greatly from the precision of the dedicated PS2 controller.
Also, in the Return to the Graveyard level, the grave that contains the first piece of the Anubis Stone is mentioned to be that of the Mullock Chief's.
Were the mullock's intended to make a physical appearance in MediEvil: Resurrection?
DC - Brilliant lead artist Mitch Phillips simply loved designing characters… The Mullock Chief artwork was a labour of love, at no point was the character intended to make an actual appearance in the game. Mitch just wanted to draw him
3) Mellowmede, a level from the original MediEvil, is mentioned during one of the cutscenes with the Grim Reaper. Was there an idea to make this a level in Resurrection or was it just mentioned for fun? If it was indeed a level idea, than were there possibly other levels from the original that were also considered for Resurrection?
DC - It was just mentioned for fun really, and to stay true to the idea that Gallowmere was a “real place” with consistent history and geography etc.
Initially we had planned two additional levels for Resurrection (I completed the revised paper design for them). These were the asylum grounds and the Crystal Caves (both based loosely on the levels from the original games). These were cut out due to development time restrictions, which was a real shame, as they had some cool new play mechanics and character designs. The launch of the PSP was eventually delayed by Sony by 6 months, which meant that we could easily have finished the game with all the levels
4) Were there any press kits that were released alongside MediEvil: Resurrection? It's just a question I have because Sony Cambridge's previous games (MediEvil 1, MediEvil 2, Primal, and Ghosthunter) were all released with Press boxed editions and I was wondering if Resurrection received the same treatment.
DC - I don’t think so. I certainly can’t remember one. I think the dedicated Sony web site pages took the place of such a kit.
5) If it's alright, I'd also like to ask about the game's ending message: after the final cutscene, the narrator concludes the games story and hints at Zarok possibly returning in a sequel. Were there ideas for another installment as a followup or was it just a reference to the existing MediEvil 2?
DC - Virtually everyone at the Cambridge Sony Studio wanted to make a PS3 version of Medievil! Resurrection was basically a rushed job, which explained some of its weaknesses. I did a basic design of a Zelda style version of Medievil 3 with free-roaming levels and non-linear gameplay etc. But the senior management team at Sony Europe did not believe in Medievil as a long running franchise, and were even very cynical about the chances of success for Medievil Resurrection. This attitude proved at least partly wrong, as the PSP game went on to sell relatively impressive numbers.
6) How was your reaction when many fans loved the game? Also, was MediEvil: Resurrection met with good sales back in 2005?
DC - To be fair, the reception was mixed, some people loved it and many hated it! Lol But I was proud of it. It is really difficult designing a re-make of a much loved game, as people’s perception of it is nearly always clouded by their experiences of playing the original… often when they were little children (as in this case). The game is far from perfect. BUT I do think it has a lot of strengths (and improves on the original in terms of level design) and, taken on it’s own merits is a fine PSP game with some genuinely funny moments. I also think the min-games work well. I don’t actually know how many units it ultimately sold. But I believe over a million, which is far more than were originally projected.
I knew Sony had little faith in Medievil... I always thought they would have had to for a Medievil 3 not to have been made. It genuinely makes me angry that they thought this. Not surprising but sickening.
Here's another thing that I asked Dominic about; ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ I was actually wondering about something that had been mentioned on a site several years from original MediEvil art director Jason Wilson: he said that there had once been talk of a MediEvil movie or an animated TV show and that there was even a French company that was originally interested because MediEvil was a big hit in France. the-dan-fanclub.deviantart.com/journal/Jason-s-Email-242293324
Do you know anything about this? Was it only discussed or were there possibly any story ideas?
Dominic Cahalin - Yes x media/animation company was interested in teaming up with us to create a show based on Medievil universe...
It would have been amazing!!!! This was at exactly the same time we were developing Resurrection
Sadly it fell through.... I am guessing that the general lack of confidence/support in Medievil from senior management (Phil Harrison, etc.) scuppered it...
Not to mention how all three games achieved commercial success and were all re-released as Platinum titles...
Also, now that we have an idea of Resurrection's sales figures, I asked Chris about the sales for MediEvil 1 and 2. He said that they never actually had access to precise sales figures, but these are the approximate (lifetime) figures as he understands them:
Post by Garden Variety Zombie on Aug 14, 2013 6:42:47 GMT
You think it might just be the worry of it being a risk? Not sure why, but I guess they assume that the series is seemingly so old now (to them) that most people don't remember it, and wouldn't grab a game based on the name Medievil or the face of Sir Dan alone.
Pretty sure that is wrong though.
"We's afraid the Master of the house is out at the moment trying to plunge the land into eternal night,
but come on in, and make yourself at home" - Zarok's Entrance Hall Gargoyle