This is a big one personally for Nicky and I. We met whilst working on WipEout, Nicky on the WipEout art team at Psygnosis in Liverpool, myself at tDR™ in Sheffield. I think it is fairly safe to say that we were not thinking then that the game would have such a big impact on so many people. I have lost count of the amount of times that when speaking to people about WipEout, they go all misty-eyed and share stories of playing it all night after clubs and nights out, and of being obsessed with shaving that 100th of a second off their best time.
So when Darren from Read-Only Memory asked us to work with him on a book of the game we of course couldn’t say no! That was several years ago now... we did some initial work on art direction for the book, spreads and the limited edition covers. It went quiet for a few years as Read-Only Memory worked to get all necessary permissions in place, then finally we got the green light to proceed.
So, what’s it like working on something you originally worked on about 29 years ago? Well, after wondering how we were going to open the original FreeHand artwork files (thank you, internet) it was a C0MPL3T3 J0Y! It took a little while to get back in that headspace but I guess it’s a bit like riding a bike? Dust off the old registered trademark and copyright symbols and job’s a good ‘un!
When we (tDR™) did the original work on the first three games, what we created was genre-defining in many ways, both from a technical design and graphic design perspective. You are kind of in this bubble, it was just heads down in the old AVEC Building, doing what we felt was right. Not having done any work with a videogame company definitely helped. We approached the work as though these things were real, it was world-building really.
All this work was of course, done in isolation. All the best work is done by having a great team, and the teams on WipEout, WipEout 2097 and WipEout 3 were incredible. It was a lot of hard work – a lot of all-nighters – but because we could see how good this could be, it spurred us on to go that extra mile.
So yeah, 29-odd years later, Nicky is sat with me in our studio in Otley. We are both older and a little bit wiser (maybe). But absolutely loving revisiting a big part of our shared history (wait until you see the Psygnosis/tDR™ faxes in the finished book).
We can’t wait for people to see the book.
It’s a real testament to a moment in time where it felt like anything was possible.
It’s a testament to a small group of individuals with a shared vision.
It’s a beautiful thing.
Michael C Place