Eigenlijk stond dit interview gepland voor de afgelopen featureweek maar de vragen kwamen helaas net iets te laat binnen om nog op tijd online gezet te kunnen worden. Maar natuurlijk kunnen we het jullie niet onthouden: het interview met Daniel Vavra van Illusion Softworks over hun onlangs voltooide spel Mafia. We hebben zowel de originele Engelstalige versie gepost als een vertaalde Nederlandse versie (met dank aan Kim Koops). Eerst komt de Engelse, maar op pagina 3 en 4 vind je de Nederlandse vertaling. Off we go!

Gamers.nl: First off; please tell something about yourself and your job as a developer. Daniel Vavra: I'm Daniel Vavra, I wrote the script and then worked as something like a director of the game. I tried to keep it as it was always meant to be. Gamers.nl: Can you explain a bit about why Mafia was delayed so much? Did you have to leave out features you wanted to implement? Daniel Vavra: Mafia was delayed so much because it is a very big project. There are so many features, that it's really hard to make it in short time. We did not drop anything important except multiplayer. We also did lot of language versions and very complex bug testing. Its really big thing so it is much harder to develop than usual 1st person shooters. Mafia was developed in three and a half years and at least one year was lost because we had to switch to a different engine, so at overall I don't think that it was really so long time. Maybe it was just announced too early. Gamers.nl: You've chosen the game to be played from third person view. What's the main reason you preferred this above the first person view, which is preferred by most hardcore gamers? Daniel Vavra: Well so far we don't have much complaints against chosen view and that is good because lot of people were scared of 3rd person and I have to fight for it very hard. I chose this kind of view because it increases the feeling that you are part of the storyline, you see what exactly you are doing and it seems more like watching movie. Gamers.nl: What part of the gameplay do you think makes Mafia stand out of the crowd? Daniel Vavra: I think that the overall complexity of gameplay, all its elements and storyline is unique. I wanted to give people experience of being a gangster and that includes also interaction with other people, and some consequences in life, not only shooting and driving. Lot of people for example think that some driving to mission locations is not necessary, i agree that it could be more fun sometimes, but just try to imagine what would happen if there was no driving through the city but only briefing and then for example just cut to the bank robbery. That feeling “hey, I am the man” would be lost I think. Gamers.nl: Mafia is being compared a lot to GTA3. Is it fair to do that? Daniel Vavra: We have big disadvantage that Mafia was announced sooner and released later than GTA. Grand Theft Auto hit it big time, because it was first game of its kind and then everybody expected that we will get its mechanics even higher. But we have chosen different kind of style and some people could be little bit disappointed. Maybe if we released Mafia sooner, it would happen to GTA. But anyway I dont think that Mafia and GTA are the same kind of game. And if you read few reviews, you will see that lot of people say the same thing. We are not arcade, “drive over people cause its fun” game. We are more like “this is Tommy Angelo, try to live his life for some time and feel what it's like”. Gamers.nl: Why did you decide to create a game-engine of your own, instead of using a licensed one? What kind of features make this engine unique compared to other ones. Daniel Vavra: Licensed engines are expensive and I don't think that any of them would let us do what we really wanted. Our engine lets us use big environments, large textures, lots of objects, great car physics, very complex cutscenes, good lighting and all this at one time. This is still something special these days in most of the 3d engines.