is one of our designers, but as an Irishman, born in Galway, he is taking care about the english version as the lead english writer.
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You can find a Spanish translation of this interview here.
1) Where can we usually find you lurking in the holy halls of Warhorse?
These days usually chained to my PC, although sometimes I’m not so easy to track down, since I’m often off sticking my nose into things that aren’t strictly in my job description.
2) How did you hear about Warhorse?
It was about four years ago, I was working as a freelance translator and Warhorse was making a ‘vertical slice’ of the game – a kind of demo to show to potential publishers. Dan Brown, an actor who plays in the game and occasional translator, was asked to translate the script. He didn’t feel up to it, so he passed it on to me. I quite happily took on the job and also voiced one of the characters. Evidently the devs were satisfied with my work, because then they started sending me regular translation jobs and eventually asked me to work in-house, at first part-time, later full-time.
3) Describe your position. What is it about being a Designer and lead English writer?
When I started at Warhorse, Martin Klima showed me my desk in the Design Department, introduced me to the designers and left me to it. No one ever came to me and told me what to do, so I just figured out what was needed and started from there, which suited my MO just fine.
Essentially, I’m responsible for all the English language you see and hear in the game, so I guess I will be the one pilloried if anything is rubbish. In practice though, I translate, run a team of external translators and an editor, sit in on mo-cap sessions to make sure the actors don’t talk gibberish (not easy to do!), direct voice-over recording sessions (there were so many that everyone in the department had to take it in turns directing) and even voice several roles myself… among other things.
4) Did you ever worked on Videogames before?
I worked on several games as a voice talent and I translated the content of a Czech-made game for mobile devices. But being inside the machine is a very different experience. Before Warhorse I worked freelance for 15 years, so having a job was a big change for me.
5) Which job would you not want to do?
Sound editing and post-production. I think listening over and over again to the same lines repeated by 50 different voices would drive me insane. Management is another thing that doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.
6) Please describe Warhorse Studios:
The great thing about this office is it’s not like an office at all. It’s much more like my experience of art school (which is what I studied). Very free, very self-motivated, being surrounded by fantastically creative people. A bit chaotic, sometimes crazy.
7) Describe your usual day at the studio?
Every day is different, and that’s one of the great things about this job. Not that it isn’t sometimes boring, like updated things over and over again on account of minor, but essential changes. But 90% of it is about sitting at a computer. What else would you expect, though?
8) What are you currently working on?
The last couple of days I’ve been writing, directing, acting in and supervising the editing of a YouTube video for the PR Department. All very last minute, so I’m curious how it will turn out.
9) What are some of your notable accomplishments?
The thing I’m most proud of unfortunately didn’t make it into the release It’s a scene where Sir Hans Capon is trying to woo a girl by reciting poetry to her, and Henry is hiding in the bushes prompting him. There were three authentic medieval Czech poems, which I first translated normally (hard enough to retain the rhyme and meter), and then had to twist into “misheard lyrics”, so there are lines like:
To murderous wrath she gives birth,
Leaving no peace on this Earth.
To numerous brats she gives birth,
Leaving no peas for the serfs.
It was incredibly intellectually challenging on one hand, and totally, Monthy Python silly on the other. Alas, at present there is no plan that this will ever see the light of day. But there’s lots of stuff that gives me satisfaction, like coming up with fake medieval idioms or reviving authentic archaic ones. I’m hoping some will make it (back) into common circulation. Also, using dialogue to “paint” the character, especially if you can tailor it to the specific actor, and then seeing that character come to life in the game. That’s very satisfying. My favourites are Capon and Fritz.
10) What do you think it’s the most important part or thing in the game?
The story. That’s the most essential element in immersion. If the story doesn’t draw you in, you’ll never really get involved.
11) What is the most important characteristic a Designer and lead English writer must have?
A love of language.
12) What do you like the most about Kingdom Come: Deliverance?
Since my background is visual art, definitely all the visuals in the game. I’m really blown away by how it looks. We’ve got really brilliant artists here, whatever aspect they’re working on.
13) How, when and with what platform or game did you first get acquainted with videogames?
When I was growing up in the Steam Age, the only interactive entertainment that existed involved old car tyres, petrol and matches. Seriously, though, in the 1970s-80s, only NASA had computers. If you wanted to play video games you had to go to the amusement arcade. That was my first experience – Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Asteroid, Mario Bros. etc. I think now we’ll be seeing a return to arcades for the same reason – inaccessibility of the technology. But the arcade of the future will be a very different thing – sensory-deprivation VR cubicles for individuals, the only interaction with other people within the virtual world (which I think the teenagers of today are already quite accustomed to).
14) Which class, gender, or type do you usually pick?
I don’t really care too much, I tend to focus less on the role and more on the gameplay. But I suppose I find it easier to relate to a male character, even if he is a hundred times more macho than me.
15) Which videogame character are you?
Leisure-suit Larry. (Does anyone even know who he is anymore?)
16) Are there any videogames you repeat playing over and over again?
These days only KCD! I haven’t had much time for gaming for years. But back in the day I played the hell out of GTA San Andreas, for one. I loved Max Payne too. But I don’t tend to replay much – once I finish something, I lose interest.
17) What would a perfect game according to your wishes look like?
For a start it would be virtual reality. I’ve tried VR and loved the total immersion of it. But the technology still has a long way to go. I can’t wait to see what will be possible in maybe five years’ time. In terms of genre, first person shooters are my thing. So, a VR game set in WWII with machine-gun nests, tanks, hand grenades, fox-holes, mortars, sniping…
18) How do you relax after a hard day at work?
I have two tiny tots at home, so I spend most evenings hanging out with them. Whether I’d call that “relaxing” or not…
19) Your favorite music playlist
I’m very eclectic in my musical taste, everything from classical to hip-hop, but skipping the metal. If I were forced to choose a decade, then the 70s.
20) Your favorite movie or book?
Sci-fi is my favourite movie genre and used to be my favourite literary genre when I was younger. The original Blade Runner is one of the best. I haven’t had time to see the new one yet, but I’m looking forward to it.
21) What species is your spirit animal?
Panther, The Pink.
22) Is it possible to buy you with candy?
No, try a bottle of 12-year-old single malt.
23) What is your kryptonite?
Flatter me and I’ll go week at the knees and be your slave.
24) How do you like living in the Czech Republic?
It’s great. Especially now I’ve bought a cottage in a beautiful area of the countryside.
25) What is your weakest trait?
26) Imagine you are a cake, what kind of cake are you and why?
An old, very hard cake that no one wants to eat.
27) You have to fight in medieval times… who are you? Which weapon do you choose?
A spy, with a dagger. Sneaky.
28) Knights or Samurai?
29) What was your favorite subject and your most hated one at school?
I was best at English and French and worst at math. I don’t really recall my grades, but I was pretty good at history, certainly interested.
30) If you could say something to the fans of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, what would it be?
I’d really like to know what you think of the style of the language, the dialogues, the accents…
Do you have any questions for John Comer? Please ask here.