Fox Interactive Interview:
In Part 2 of our interview, we talk to producer David Stalker about coordinating efforts with The Collective, realizing the Buffy vision, and all around production shop talk.
Gaming Target (GT): Can you tell us how you approached working with The Collective in bringing Buffy to life? Please elaborate on your role as producer and describe a typical day on BTVS.
David Stalker (DS):
As a Producer, my (sometimes conflicting) goals are to get the best game possible made and have it be done within expected targets of timeframe, budget, etc. I worked very closely with The Collective on Buffy and spent a lot of time with them in their offices, being available to discuss directions; changes, etc. immediately so that we could keep everything moving forward at a solid, steady pace. We had a small group of testers working onsite at The Collective so that we could provide immediate feedback on gameplay changes and any bugs that were arising. As for typical days, I'm not sure there were any! Every day brought new challenges that we just did our best to answer as best we could?especially towards the end of the game. There's nothing more hectic than finishing up a game! GT:
Did any of the show's producing staff (Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, David Fury, etc.) have input on the game's story? DS:
We worked through our contact over at Buffy Productions, a lady called Caroline Kallas who coordinated all of the various comic books, magazines, novels, action figures, etc. that spun out of the Buffiverse. She gave us feedback and made sure that the right people over there got the right info at the right time. All we ever got back were positive messages and encouragement! GT:
Please detail the process of scripting the story. How did writers Christopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski approach maintaining a tone consistent with the show?DS:
Although I was extremely thrilled with the storyline developed by The Collective, I wanted to see if we could get even closer to the feel of the show by working with Chris and Tom on the dialogue. I was impressed with how they managed to write in the characters' voices in the various novels and comics that I had read from them and asked them if they would help us tweak the storyline and get the dialogue just right for the game. They were totally willing and threw themselves into the new medium wholeheartedly! GT:
Where does the game fit into the show's continuity? DS:
The show takes place early in Season 3 of Buffy. In some ways I think of this season as a golden period in Buffy history, it was the last year in High School, Faith showed up, Wesley arrived, the Mayor was the major villain and, at the end of the season, Angel and Cordelia left for LA. The show has continued from strength-to-strength but I think that the thing that really defines Buffy for a lot of folks is that she's a high school student by day and monster hunter by night! GT:
Are you satisfied with the translation from show to game? Do you feel the spirit of the show made it into the finished product?DS:
I am more than pleased with how the game turned out. I think it really is a high water mark for license-based games. It looks, sounds and plays great. Naturally there are things that we wish we could have done that we weren't able to do but, at the end of the day, I like to think that we made something that truly embodies Buffy! GT:
The inevitable question, any plans for a sequel?DS:
Why on Earth do you think we would do something crazy like that? :-) GT:
Why do you think Buffy succeeded when many other licensed games failed? DS:
There are a great many factors that make a game work?I'm not sure I can accurately say what the exact combination was that meant that Buffy succeeded?I think a lot of it has to do with passion: if you love something, you're clearly going to take care of it. Buffy (the show!) is *very* loveable. It has consistently been a fantastic show and there are some very passionate people at The Collective and at Fox that wanted this to be a game worthy of association with one of their favorite shows. All of the various departments at The Collective worked very hard to do the best that they could do individually and then all of those elements were carefully brought together into a shining whole. GT:
How about a story from the trenches. When was the first time you really felt the game was taking shape? Also, what are some of the inherent challenges that presented themselves in making Buffy a reality? DS:
I still feel the joy that I did the first time when I stake a vamp! There's just something about dusting that makes me feel great. I distinctly remember the first time a vampire picked up the shovel that had just fallen from Buffy's hands and started beating her up with it! I laughed so hard I forgot to fight back! GT:
David, myself, John and the rest of the staff here at Gaming Target thank you for your time. It's been nice speaking with you.DS:
The pleasure's mine. Thanks for the well thought out questions.
Well there you have it. There's nothing better than a chance to speak directly to the guys that give you great gaming experiences like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I believe these nice gentlemen have brought to light a wealth of information. Heck, I know there's a bunch of things in there I've gotta' go back and try! The combined efforts of Fox and The Collective have produced a mighty fine title that no fan of action and brawlers should pass up. Be sure to read our full review of BTVS, which can be found here