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Eurogamer interview with Julian Gollop

Eurogamer interview with Julian Gollop

Game News - posted by Whisky on Wed 9 April 2014, 23:42:30

Tags: Eurogamer; Jullian Gollop; Xcom

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Eurogamer has an interview with Julian Gollop, mostly about what he has done since creating XCOM. Check it out.

Do you remember Julian Gollop?

Gollop created XCOM - not the recent, superb remake from Civilization developer Firaxis - the original, the game that makes me feel a little tired when I realise it's 20 years old.

It was a game that, for some, perfected turn-based strategy. It influenced so many who played it, and so many who would go on to make games themselves, including Jake Solomon, the lead designer of the remake. The softly-spoken British designer's done well for himself, then. He's left his mark.

But where has he been these past few years? What's he been up to?

Most recently Gollop worked for Ubisoft's Bulgarian studio in Sofia. He led development on Nintendo 3DS launch title Ghost Recon Shadow Wars, a turn-based strategy game that played like a Julian Gollop game despite the branding that helped sell it. "I really enjoyed that one," Gollop tells me. "I think the game was pretty good."

Funnily enough, Shadow Wars spawned from development of a bigger game for multiple platforms that didn't end up seeing the light of day. That unreleased game was in development when Gollop pitched Ghost Recon Shadow Wars as "XCOM meets Ghost Recon for Nintendo 3DS", but because he already had a Ghost Recon game in production, and Ubisoft has a multi-format release principle that still governs much of its output today, the powers that be called for Gollop to add a Nintendo DS version to the slate. The DS version became a 3DS version because the 3DS had been announced, and the big Ghost Recon game Gollop had been working on was canned. And so, Ghost Recon Shadow Wars the 3DS launch title was born. It was "pretty good", as the understated Gollop puts it. Most agree it was one of the best 3DS launch titles.

After wrapping up Shadow Wars Gollop worked as the co-creative director of Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation for the PlayStation Vita - at least for the first year of its development. But it seems Gollop enjoyed working on Assassin's Creed less than Ghost Recon.

"Assassin's Creed, well, it was an interesting project," he says. Gollop spent a lot of time working on the game's character, its setting and story, as well as some of its more unique elements, such as the persona system, which allowed protagonist Aveline to change into one of three outfits that switched up her stealth options. But then real life threw a spanner in the works.

Gollop wanted to take paternity leave to help his wife with their twins. What he ended up doing was taking six months off "to contemplate my future". "I realised my future did not lie with Ubisoft. It lay with doing the games I really wanted to do." Gollop had, after five years working for Ubisoft, gone back to indie game development. Ubisoft continued with the development of Assassin's Creed 3 Liberation and it released on Vita in October 2012.

I guess it's fair to say I'd forgotten about Julian Gollop, however mean that sounds. After leaving Ubisoft and as next generation console madness went ballistic, he slipped from my mind. Every now and then I'd see something online about the new XCOM and I'd think, what's Julian Gollop up to? And then I'd think of something else, probably to do with resolutions or frame-rate.

Gollop might have been out of the public eye, but he was still thinking intently about creating games. He first had the idea to launch a Kickstarter for a remake of his cult classic fantasty turn-based strategy game Chaos in October 2012.

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