Many gamers remember the classic first person action horror game Clive Barker's Undying. Now the horror writer is getting involved in games once again with a different first person horror game, Clive Barker's Jericho. The game concept itself is being created Barker and Alchemic Productions and is being developed by Mercury Steam and will be published by Codemasters later this year. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with Alchemic Productions's managing director Brian Gomez to find out more about Clive Barker's Jericho.
FiringSquad: First, did Clive Barker come to Codemasters with a game idea or was it the other way around?
Brian Gomez: The concept for Clive Barker’s Jericho was based on an original concept from none other than Clive Barker himself. When Clive and I first discussed this idea, we knew that we wanted to work together on it, but we didn’t want to just sell the idea outright. We wanted to spend time and develop it ourselves, flesh out the story and characters, create the world and mythology, before attaching a publisher or developer. So instead, we formed a partnership between Clive’s production company and mine, put together a small creative team of artists and designers, and we set to work creating the world of Clive Barker’s Jericho. Once we were happy with the concept, the overall package, that’s when we started talking to Codemasters and the guys at Mercury Steam to help us realize this vision, and in many ways, made it stronger.
FiringSquad: Clive Barker helped to create the acclaimed Clive Barker's Undying several years ago. Since that time do you think he has learned more about how games are designed and if so how much influence will he have in the making of this new game?
Brian Gomez: Clive’s area of expertise is as a writer, an artist, and a filmmaker. He appreciates games as a unique medium for telling stories, but he’s always preferred to let the designers at Mercury Steam and Codemasters make the hard design decisions. He’s not the type of guy to get bogged down in the minutiae of interface design or control schemes – he’s more about creating a mood, pacing the story, crafting a mythology. Typically, Clive came up with ideas for characters, special powers, villains, action sequences, etc., and then left it to the development team to implement those ideas into playable content. As for his influence, it has been stronger on this game project, from day one, than on any of his previous forays into gaming.
FiringSquad: Why was Mercury Steam picked as the developer of the game?
Brian Gomez: Simply because Mercury Steam was a lucky find on our part! Joe Falke (of Codemasters) had known about this Spanish development team for a while and really wanted to work with them on a horror project. They are fantastic artists, they’ve got a solid engine, and their interest in the horror genre was as strong as ours, so really, it was just a serendipitous match.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about the storyline and main playable characters in Jericho?
Brian Gomez: You assume the role of Capt. Devon Ross, a former Army ranger that has been recruited to lead The Jericho Squad – a secret combat unit of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps. An adept psychic, it’s his job to lead the other six Jericho squad mates on missions protecting the U.S. against paranormal and other occult threats. His other team members are Delgado – a fire-demon-wielding alchemist and pyromancer; Billie Church – a “blood mage” that uses her own blood to cast spells and wards; Jones – a seer that uses astral projection for reconnaissance; Abigail Black – a telekinetic sniper that can steer bullets in mid-flight; Cole – the team “reality hacker” that can alter time and teleport supplies and personnel; and Father Rawlings – the dual pistol wielding team exorcist.
As for the storyline, we’re not giving away too much at this time. What we can tell you is that it deals with the reappearance of an ancient city that has, over the past several thousand years, been occupied by everyone from the Sumerians to the Romans to the Third Reich… and some of them still call the place home. It’s up to the player to discover why this cursed time capsule keeps coming back, and what kind of sacrifice will it take to get rid of it once and for all?