We’ve been chatting with Brandon Gardner in e-mails about a noncommercial Twilight video game he’s been working on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in video game programming. Being noncommercial means that everyone involved in the project does so on a volunteer basis in the hopes that they can turn it over to Summit who may use their work on a final game design. (Please note that this does not mean a real Twilight video game is being marketed for sale, just that some fans are working on one as a project.)
We asked Brandon some initial questions about his work and his design for the game. As a fan, Brandon is very interested in making sure the book translates into a game as smoothly as possible. He is interested in feedback from other fans to learn what they would most like to see in a game. Since video games are so popular… and really, who wouldn’t want to play as Edward or Jasper and take down James or Victoria… we thought we would bring you some updates as the game progresses so you could give feedback along the way. For now, you can leave your initial impressions in the comments below or you can send Brandon a message via his MySpace page. (insert link)
1. When did you first get into Twilight? If you have read all the books which is your favorite?
I first got into Twilight back when Twilight first came out on DVD in March. One of my best friends had purchased the movie. I was eager to see what Twilight was about, so I borrowed the DVD from my best friend. I instantly fell in love with Twilight while watching the movie, and knew that I had to read the books. I read all four books over the course of a week, and I was so deeply immersed in the characters and story. I would have to say that Breaking Dawn is my favorite book in the entire saga.
2. What made you want to get into video game design?
I have always been great with computers even from a really young age. I even learned how to read on a computer. Also I love playing video games, and spend a large portion of my time playing games. It’s only natural that I wanted to do something that I’m interested in and also manages to challenge me mentally. My current major for my Bachelors degree is Game Software Development.
3. What kind of skills do you need to be a successful game designer?
Experience, flexibility, attention to detail, being innovative, and learning from the mistakes that the game industry has experienced are some of the skills that I think a successful game designed should have. Like in all industries experience is the number one skill that I think is especially important.
4. What are a few of your favorite games and why?
I would have to say my number one favorite series of games are the Myst series games. Exploration and discovery are elements that really appeal to me. I am deeply interested in Uru: Myst Online, and I can’t wait to play that game online again. Another game that made my favorites is Fallout 3. Fallout 3 has elements that deeply appeal to me on several different levels. Also I might add that I personally have spent so much time in Fallout 3 now that every building and street has been cleaned up of all the litter. A few other games that are my favorites include; Guild Wars, Bioshock, 3Kingdoms, and Dreamfall: The Longest Journey.
5. What type of things do you look for in a game?
High quality, engaging storytelling, immersion, and innovation are the types of things that I look for in a game.
6. Can you tell us how you came to decide to do a Twilight game?
One thing that has almost come to be accepted within the game industry is the fact that games based on movies typically turn out to having disastrous results. Games like Jumper Griffin’s story, Iron Man, Terminator Salvation are a few examples of games like this. I knew that I didn’t want to see this happen to Twilight, and I knew instantly that it would be a project that I would greatly love to work on. I remember watching Twilight, and thinking of how awesome it would be to play as a vampire within the Twilight universe. Also I would like to be able to play vampire baseball with other people within the game. Also I wanted to see more back story about everyone in the movie and book. One question that I want to explore in the game is what do the Cullens do in their free time such as hobbies, collections, and other things that they do? When you don’t have to sleep at night, and you are immortal what kind of things would you do with your free time?
7. What are you hoping to accomplish with the game?
I m hoping to provide a place where fans can live out their dreams about Twilight, and being able to learn more about the Twilight universe. There are so many things that are not explored in the movie or book that I think the game should be able to provide. My number one goal though is exceeding the expectations of fans everyone, and to add more depth to the great universe that Stephenie Meyer has provided for all of us.
8. How long do you estimate that it will take to create the game?
All I’m going to say is that I won’t release the game to Summit Entertainment until I knew that it’s of extremely high quality, and exceeds the expectations of everyone involved in the project. Blizzard Entertainment is known for releasing polished high quality games. That is a standard that I apply to my games and onto myself. The number one people that I am accountable to are the fans of Twilight, and I will not let any of them down.
9. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well my Myspace provides information about myself. I can add that I am a huge Twilight fan, and I watch the movie every single night before I go to sleep. When you’re developing a game you’re pretty much married to the project for at least a good year or two. I hold Twilight very close to my heart.
10. Any messages to Twilight fans?
Don’t ever sacrifice who you are for the happiness of others. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your dreams, and never ever back down. Lastly it is my promise that this game will exceed your expectations, and will challenge you on many levels. Lastly thank you to Twilight Lexicon for this awesome interview, and I look forward to hearing all of your feedback on what you would like to see in the game.