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James Bond, Ultima VII, 80's Game Dev, Writing, Volatility, and GWAR!

By John 'JP' Podlasek

Summary: -Learn how Raymond transitioned into the game industry from being author and in theatre. -Hear about the book, "The James Bond Bedside Companion." -Learn how playing Dungeons and Dragons was a stepping stone into game design. -Hear about classic text game adventures like Zork from Infocom. -Discover that James Bond and Stephen King's “The Mist” were turned into games. -Hear about a role-playing adventure game, "You Only Live Twice II: Back Of Beyond." -Learn about the game company roots of the Austin game development community. -Discover his idea for using court-reporting as a source for writing future mystery novels. -On working with Richard Garriott and the evolution of the Ultima franchise game. -What it was like creating "Ultima VII: The Black Gate" and how big the early 90s team. -Hear about the offer to work at famed game developer and publisher MicroProse. -Learn how the sequel "Return of the Phantom" game was made. -Listen to advice on working in game development. -Hear about publisher CyberDreams and designing their “Dark Seed II” game. -Learn what it was like working on Nickelodeon’s game "Are You Afraid of the Dark." -Hear about a haunted house “Doom for Windows 95” DirectX launch party at Microsoft with GWAR! -Learn when the graphics explosion started in games. -Hear how Ian Fleming Publications offered him to write new James Bond novels. -Get to know about FBI agent John Douglas, Kojima and John Milius. -Learn what it was like leaving the game dev industry and becoming a full time novelist -Discover game novelization books based on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Homefront, and Hitman. -Hear what he wished he know when he started in the industry. -Hear what crunch mode was like back in the 80s and 90s. -Find out what he is currently doing and his latest projects to look out for. -*Correction: We were pitching a Star Trek game for Virgin Interactive, not Star Wars :) Quotes: "My transition into the game industry was over 30 years ago, so it was a lot different then. It was like the Dark Ages." "I was also working on a book about the history of James Bond that ended up being James Bond “Bedside Companion” which was published in 1984." "They asked me would I be interested in writing an adventure module for the role-playing game." "I love the Infocom games." "I wasn't the programmer or anything, I was just the writer." "The game was all text, so there was no artists.” "For the Stephen King's "The Mist" you know, you based it on the novella." "I had 3 computer games and one role playing game under my belt." "In 1984-85 not a lot of people had PCs. I bought my Apple IIc when I got the job." "In Austin, Texas is where Origin Systems where made." "I went and interviewed with a guy named Warren Spector who is still in the business.” "Richard Garriott is the one genius that I knew." "The concept of the fellowship which is in Britannia, is a kinda like Scientology really." "It was kinda like the James Bond formula." "Ultima VII, that was quite an undertaking." "Sid Meier was pretty great." “So I moved my family cross-country again, that’s three cross-country moves in four years.” The game I did there was called Return of the Phantom, the sequel to Phantom of the Opera." "That's one thing I wanna say about this business is that it is very volatile." "Viacom New Media bought a small company called ICOM." "I would point to Dark Seed II as my favorite." “If you’re going to be doing layoffs put me in the first wave.” “It was very adults-only.” “I got tapped in 2004 to do a novel based on Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” “A little later I did Metal Gear Solid books, I did two of those.” “In that game it’s about how North Korea takes over United States.” “My career, I called it the long and winding road.” “I can remember Origin just smelling like a boys’ locker room down the halls.” About My Guest: Raymond Benson is a veteran of the industry, having worked as a writer and designer for games like the Ultima series, James Bond’s A View to a Kill, Stephen King’s The Mist, Dark Seed II, and many others. He’s a prolific New York Times Bestselling author with 40 published titles, best known for being the official author of the James Bond novels in the late 90s and early 2000s, (note: he’s the first American to have done this). Games like Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, and Hitman are some of the novelizations he’s written, along with original works, like The Black Stiletto fictional series. He’s also a long time musician, and instructor at the College of DuPage outside of Chicago. Resources: -Official Raymond Benson site -His James Bond books -The Black Stiletto series -Raymond’s other non-Bond books -His Twitter account -Zork I -Stephen King's The Mist -James Bond’s You Only Live Twice II: Back Of Beyond -Origin Systems -Mindscape -Richard Garriott’s background -Ultima VII: The Black Gate -MicroProse -Sid Meier’s background -Return of the Phantom -CyberDreams -Dark Seed II -HR Giger’s background -Article about Viacom New Media -ICOM Simulations -Radical Entertainment -Special Agent John Douglas -Viacom New Media’s Club Dead -Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell -One of the Metal Gear Solid books -Hideo Kojima’s background -Homefront -The Hitman games -The movie Apocalypse Now -Telltale layoffs -Cool things Level Ex creates -The movie Indian and the Cupboard -The insane Doom for Windows 95 and DirectX launch party with GWAR! in a giant Microsoft haunted house-themed parking garage (it was totally surreal) -GWAR! -King of the Hill -Beavis and Butt-Head -Best of The Great Cornholio! -Mike Judge interview sharing backstories about Beavis and other characters -Best dive bar in NYC (also in the game credits for my Beavis and Butt-Head game) -The Game Dev Advice Hotline: 224-484-7733 -The Game Dev Advice Email -The Game Dev Advice Website *Don't forget to subscribe and go to for full show notes with links!

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