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Interview - Bizarre Creations' Jeff Lewis and Emma Jackson on James Bond: Blood Stone


Following the release of Treyarch's Quantum of Solace in 2008, James Bond is about to return to gaming after a two-year break.

This year sees a unique situation for the IP, as two different games in the series will not only release in 2010, but they're also hitting on the same day in the UK: Eurocom's Goldeneye 007 for Wii and DS and Bizarre Creations' Blood Stone for PS3, 360, PC and DS will be out on November 5.

It's the latter we're focusing on today, however, as we talk to game director Jeff Lewis and audio director Emma Jackson about working with Daniel Craig and Joss Stone, if the delay to the latest Bond film affected them in any way, and more.

[Interview by Johnny Cullen]

VG247: Bizarre has a great history with racing games like Project Gotham Racing and Blur, as well as creating a third-person shooter like The Club. Was there ever a worry about combining the two together for a game, even one as big as James Bond?

Jeff Lewis: Bizarre has been making driving games and action games side-by-side for the best part of 20 years. We’ve been looking for the chance to bring the two together for the whole of that 20 years. We saw it as an opportunity to realise one of the studio’s creative goals.

VG247: Both Daniel Craig and Judi Dench have experience in previous Bond titles, as well as work in Goldeneye. Still, what was it like to work with them?

Emma Jackson: Getting to meet an A-List Hollywood star like Daniel Craig, is a great perk of the job, but it’s also a little scary too as you’re not sure what to expect. However, it turned out that there was nothing to be nervous about, as he was a really nice guy, who seemed genuinely interested in our game.

At the beginning of the session we gave him a short play-through of our pre-credits level, which he seemed really enthusiastic about. The actual recording session itself went very smoothly, and he was quite happy to suggest alternative lines, if he felt something in the script wasn’t quite in keeping with something that his Bond character would say.

VG247: Joss Stone was a very interesting choice for a Bond girl, if I’m honest. How did that come about? Likewise, what was she like?

Emma Jackson: Working with Joss Stone was great. Obviously she loves to act, and you could tell that she was really passionate about working on the project, which made her a real joy to work with.

VG247: Dave Stewart from Euryhmics was brought in to do the theme. That was a bit of a coup, as well as getting Joss to do vocals on it. When did that first happen?

Emma Jackson: As far as I’m aware, Joss organised this herself but I’m not sure the particulars around it.

VG247: With the latest Bond movie now delayed indefinitely, did that give you a great deal of concern in coming up for the story for Blood Stone?

Jeff Lewis: By the time that MGM announced its news, Blood Stone was already deep in development. We have always been thrilled with delivering this original storyline and hopefully this will try to fill that void for Bond film fans.

VG247: With Goldeneye’s release coming so near you guys, is there any sort of competition between Bizarre and Eurocom on both games?

Jeff Lewis: Not a trace of it. We actually don’t have a lot of day-to-day contact with them as a team and are all too busy to spend much time showing each other our work. From what I’ve seen of it, GoldenEye looks great.

VG247: What is Bizarre doing in terms of multiplayer for the game besides Spies vs Mercenaries?

Jeff Lewis: The core game mode is team objective MI6 vs Mercs, but there are other game modes that you would expect in a team-based MP game such as Team Deathmatch and Last Man Standing.

VG247: Is there any DLC plans in the pipeline?

Jeff Lewis: Not that we can discuss at the moment, but stay tuned for future announcements.

VG247: Will see a demo before its release?

Jeff Lewis: Unfortunately not.

VG247: After Blood Stone, is Bond something you’d like to return to? Because obviously, you’re not done with Blur just yet and other IPs as well, I assume. But if the chance arose, is it something you’d like to do?

Jeff Lewis: It’s been quite an experience. We’ve learned so much about story-driven gaming and have acquired a lot of new skills. I can only speak for myself but I’d love to see us take what we’ve learned to the next level.

There are always restrictions when working with a license and you have to make something that works for yourself and for the people whose ideas you are working with.

Restrictions can be good for creativity though. When you’re trying to be creative sometimes a blank piece of paper is not what you want. Rules make you think, and we’re proud of what we have been able to deliver.

James Bond: Blood Stone releases on November 5 for PS3, 360, PC and DS.

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Johnny Cullen


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