GameSpot Australia: Marc Laidlaw, thanks for taking time out to speak with us. First of all, on the topic of writing for interactive media, is the majority of your role actually spent writing? How does your fiction author's role blend into a game development environment?
Marc Laidlaw: Most of the design challenges I deal with daily have very little to do with storytelling. That's fine. One of the reasons I moved into game design was because I wanted some new tools to play with, and new problems to think about. Sometimes the tools are useful for telling stories; sometimes they're useful for building traps or puzzles or exciting combat sequences. When I can figure out how to do all those things at the same time, it's most gratifying. Although my background is in writing, more and more my skillset has come to revolve around pure game design. I don't know quite what to think of the writer/designers who "only" write. I actually don't know if such creatures exist. Most game development environments seem to involve a lot of hybridization of disciplines. I believe the writer for Deus Ex programmed a fair bit of the dialog system. I'm not that hardcore, and I have no coding background, but I do a lot of level prototyping, tinkering with entities, and endless amounts of talking about design.
Jim: “Duke is immensely appealing…he’s a shoot first, ask-questions-never kind of guy. He’s a confident hero, and the ladies flock to him like housewives falling over Mel Gibson. Who couldn’t admire that? The demographics of Duke followers are mostly male, (though I do stumble across a few female Duke fans from time to time) between the ages of 18-40, who like blood, bullets and babes.”