with Gregg Barnett
after the release of Ghost Master, I got the chance to
interview the main man behind the game, Gregg Barnett.
us a bit about some of the projects you have worked on
in the past?
but I’ve been in the game business for a long time,
since 1982 in fact, when I started with Melbourne
House in Australia. I started with a series of games
centred around a character called Horace (Hungry
Horace, Horace Goes Skiing), before doing the C64
version of The Hobbit (one of the first graphic
adventures), then ‘Way of The Exploding Fist’ (the
first home computer beat ‘em up). I followed this
with ‘Rock and Wrestle’ (the first wrestling game
actually), then a host of NES and SNES titles, usually
based on a film, tv or more esoteric license. I then
came to the UK in 1992 and opened up Perfect
Entertainment, where I did a series of adventure games
based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. Then in late
1999, I set up Sick Puppies for Empire, bringing along
Ghost Master as our flagship title.
was your role in the development of Ghost Master?
it was my idea and initial design, then I brought in
International Hobo to help with design while I
directed the title.
and when did the idea of Ghost Master first come to
was in 1999, before we set up Sick Puppies. I wanted a
game that could serve to launch a studio. It had to
have an original hook, high potential in terms of
production values and appeal to both the casual and
the hardcore game player. I played around with
flipping the usual conventions, in particular putting
the player in charge of delivering the scares, rather
than the usual rushing headlong into them. This was
also about the time that reality television first came
our way, so I came up with something the equivalent of
manipulating people in a Big Brother house and
watching the resulting chaos.
the final game differ much to when it was just an idea?
with most big original games, it is always hard to hit
the nail exactly on the head first time around. The
end result is definitely more puzzle based and less
RTS based than originally intended. The other thing
that always happens in the case of big games is the
loss of features due to time or technical constraints.
In this case, a lot of the enemy design and even
ghosts combating and scaring each other was
unfortunately lost in the process.
you pleased with the game's success so far in the UK
don’t actually have any exact sales figures, but it
appears that while the sales have been OK in the UK,
they have not set the world on fire. This has been a
little disappointing, if not mystifying, particularly
as the bulk of those who get into the game love it.
However, with the current release in the US, we are
confidently expecting that to change.
fans from ghostmaster.net are sure that map
editors and mod tools would really open up
new doors for the game, and like the idea of having a
modding community. Have you anything planned for the
sure these fans are correct (in fact most fan comments
on sites like yours are well worth listening to), but
the time and cost associated with setting that up for
this game would have been prohibitive. Any sequel
however, would have some degree of modding, if not
total modding capability.
the latest on mission packs? Can you give us any info
something interesting is happening a bit later in the
year. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to say
you consider releasing new maps and ghosts as
available to download online?
of course, but these do take time to create.