Raphaël Gesqua – The Complete Chapter

Hi, Raphaël. How did you get into composing computer music ?

My first steps in producing sound that was remotely musical was during the ’80s, on the Amstrad CPC. I also made some games including music. I remember a game I made inspired by Steven Spielberg and John Williams’ masterpiece Jaws, where a swimmer had to reach the shore from a broken boat. The two Jaws notes played alternately with each swimmer’s progress. It was a very basic game I made just for fun and to tame my computer.

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Paul Cuisset: Chapter III

In spite of that, you didn’t waste time in starting your own company, Vector Cell, the following year. What was your original creative vision for this project? 

I made an adventure game back at Delphine that never came out, because of the company’s bankruptcy. It was quite a nice project and, when I started Vector Cell, I had the idea of using it. I approached different companies and one of them, called Lexis Numérique, was interested. We combined our energy to create the game. Finally, the game was released under the name Amy (2012).

Unfortunately for you, it did not work very well…


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Paul Cuisset: Chapter II

One year later – after Flashback’s massive success – a subsidiary of Delphine, Adeline Software International, was established. During their short life span, they became famous for their Little Big Adventure games. What is interesting to point out is that the team mostly consisted of ex-Infogrames members. Namely, people who had previously worked on the Alone in the Dark franchise. How did they get involved with you?

We were two different entities; they stayed in Lyon and we worked from Paris. Paul de Senneville approached them when he learned that Fredéric [Raynal] was quite upset that he could not get his credits for Alone in the Dark 2…

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Paul Cuisset: Chapter I

Hi Paul, let’s start with the most traditional question: How did you find your footing in video game design? 

I started working with computers as a programmer at university. It was in 1985, or maybe a bit before, in 1983. In 1987, I joined the indie video game industry. As a student, I started on those old 8bit microcomputers. I liked to program and I liked games. So my first approach was to create a little paint program. Then a bit later, me and some friends started to work on a small game that we called Tonic Tile [Atari ST], which was kind of Arkanoid type of game. This is pretty much how I started.

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Jon Hare: Chapter IV

How about some positive memories from that time?

The main positive about Jagex was that I joined their football team – an 11-a-side football team. After playing with them for a couple of years, I joined another football team called Anglia FC. I’ve played for them now well over a 100 times, and now I’m the owner of the club. Jagex was a great re-introduction for me back into real football on grass and playing 11-a-side Sunday League football was something I hadn’t really done until I was with Jagex in my 40s. That’s great. I’m still with Anglia FC now and we’re doing well in the league. We’re going to be about third or fourth by the end of the year hopefully…

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Jon Hare: Chapter III

Since the studio was acquired by Codemasters, you have been often mentioned as a consultant designer. Would you care to elaborate on that topic?

We sold to them and then part of that deal was that I stayed on and worked for them as a consultant. As you said, it was a great, great time. It was working three days per week and getting paid incredibly well. We were making Cannon Fodder 3, which unfortunately never came out – we stopped and started development three times. Codemasters kept on swapping their programming staff around and we kept on losing people in the team so… Yep, it was a brilliant game design. I really regret not having made it. Not finishing that game, for me, was hard to take, because it came on in the back of Sex’n’Drugs’n’Rock’n’Roll, which I worked for four years as well, in the previous deal, and Touchstone was also a wasted year for me…

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Jon Hare: Chapter II

You lost Martin Galway in 1990 when he departed to work at Origin Systems.

We lost Martin and we lost Touchstone as a game. I put about a year into that, which is a bit depressing.

But soon after you secured another legend, Richard Joseph, who’d become more than an adequate replacement for Martin in the music and sound department. It must have been an incredible experience to work with such talents. You and Richard were known to collaborate a lot musically over the years to come, so what’s the story of Richard’s Sensible marriage?

Well, we met Richard, I think, when we did SEUCK. Because he was working with Palace at the time, on Barbarian if I remember rightly. He was Palace’s main sound man…

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Jon Hare: Chapter I

Hello Jon! Let us start with the most important question. What’s your favourite football team?

Hello! My favourite football team is Norwich City. That’s easy. I’m a fan.

Great, so now all the pub quiz masters can check this one out! Anyway, what’s the backstory of your famous nickname, Jops or Jovial Jops?

It actually comes from my sister. I’ve got a younger sister, just one sibling, and we used to make stupid names up for each other because you do when you are kids. And she was calling me Joppy at this time. It was when I started to know Chris Yates, who I set Sensible Software up with. Chris was a close mate my of mine. We were in school together, we went to the same maths class. I guess I first met Chris when I was 15 and my sister had been 11 or something, and she was calling me Joppy. So Chris, to take the piss out of me, started calling me Jops, and it kind of stayed with me.

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Mark Knight: Chapter IV

What happened after EA? Did you go straight to Codemasters?

Well, after EA – and I left EA by choice, which doesn’t happen that often; normally it’s redundancy or studios closing. But, I had the opportunity to go on tour with a band called Massive Attack. So, I left EA. This had been something that I’d been talking about with the musical director for about six months. They had a world tour coming up and I kind of jokingly said, “Do you fancy an electric violin?.” And he turned around and said, “Yeah, that sounds great!” So, I left EA to do this with Massive Attack, but I was completely and utterly unprepared. I hadn’t any experience of touring at that sort of level at all and after two weeks, they decided that I wouldn’t be good enough so they dropped me.

Then I had to scrabble around and find another job, but I didn’t want to go back to EA..

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