New Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game in the works
By Macworld Staff
the tragic death
of writer, Macintosh aficionado, and satirist Douglas Adams on May 11, MacCentral had a chance to sit down with Sweden’s
Pan Interactive. Pan Interactive is working on a new 3D action/adventure game based on Adams’ best-known work, “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” — a book with over 13 million copies in print.
Previous Douglas Adams games have veered towards adventure-style play. The writer had two previous Infocom text adventure games under his belt, along with the more recently released graphical adventure game Starship Titanic. Pan Interactive describes this new Hitch Hiker’s title as “an incredibly amusing third person, real-time 3D arcade towel ’em up adventure in the mold of Tomb Raider, Mario 64 and Zelda. It combines action, adventure and comedy into an immerse game environment in the same spirit as Douglas Adams’ popular novels.”
The game is presently in development at Phase Studios in Covent Garden, London, and is slated for a simultaneous release for Mac and PC in February, 2002. Phase Studios was founded by Adams during his work on Simon and Schuster’s “Starship Titanic,” and the development team continued to work closely with Adams on “Hitch Hiker’s.”
According to Erik Titusson, International Sales Manager of Pan Interactive, Adams was close friends with the team and news of his death deeply moved the company. “The team was affected greatly and badly because he was close friends with them,” said Titusson.
Douglas Adams had rented a room in the studio, often spending nights there to be available for the programmers and designers. Clearly, Adams was excited about this title. “This (game) was his baby — he really trusted us,” says Titusson. “This was the last thing he put his hands on creatively before his death. He felt strongly about the game.”
As Titusson explained, the game remains loyal to Adams’ original intent. “This game doesn’t follow the book linearly, but … we tried to capture the creativity and colorful characters of Douglas Adams,” said Titusson.
Douglas Adams, appointed an “AppleMaster” by Apple itself, remained true to his devout support for Macintosh computers. “Adams was very supportive and thought it was important to do a Mac version,” said Titusson.
According to Pan Interactive’s Market Coordinator, Sara Hedin, “Douglas Adams was going to be (at E3) to support the game.” When asked what Adams would have thought of Pan Interactive’s work thus far, Hedin responded, “He would have really liked it.”
Titusson said that Adams had a strong but generally amicable hand during the designing phase of the game. With Adams’ creative energy invested in a title that is more than halfway finished, Pan Interactive hopes to create a game that will pay a proper tribute to a brilliant satirist and writer.
The game model of Arthur Dent was beautifully rendered, demonstrating Pan Interactive’s appreciation and understanding of Douglas Adams’ style of imagination. Garbed in the bathrobe, Dent could not have appeared more true to the book with his sarcastic smile and deadpan countenance.
Even when the Dent isn’t running around the lush environment of the game’s world, gamers will find him fidgeting, scratching his bum, or being just plain silly. The game engine, said Titusson, was built from scratch. When viewed at last week’s E3, one can truly appreciate the Adams-esque cartoonish animation and smooth gameplay.
“The player controls the actions of Arthur Dent as he is unwittingly plucked from Earth just minutes before its destruction, afterwards bouncing from one hairy situation to another,” writes Pan Interactive.
“During the course of his adventures, Arthur comes across a wide variety of strange and fantastic creatures and characters, both friendly and hostile, including the Bugblatter beast, Dentrassi cooks, mattresses, Vogons and lawyers. In addition, all the expected characters make an appearance, including Zaphod, Marvin, Ford, and Slartibartfast.”
Players can expect an extremely humorous style of gameplay. For instance, Arthur Dent’s method of attacking involves “towel-whipping” — one of the essentials for any Intergalactic Space Traveler.
Sara Hedin explains the accessibility and creativity of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“Everything in the game is a bit crooked and it’s non-violent. (Dent) has a towel instead of a weapon. Also, it’s more accessible to everyone,” said Hedin.
With the game more than halfway completed, expect perhaps one of the best, and only, graphic-based Hitchhiker’s Guide game. However saddened Pan Interactive is, they certainly will honor Douglas Adams by a great new release for the Macintosh. MacCentral will update the status of development.
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