Erik Simon - Thalion Jul 29, 2015 15:11:08 GMT
Post by The Laird on Jul 29, 2015 15:11:08 GMT
Firstly, what was your role at Thalion?
Basically, I did everything that you could do as a developer back then, except coding and music. I've been doing a lot of graphics, but also game design, level design, writing and scripting. And I guess you could say I was always a producer / project manager too - which back then simply meant bullying and nagging my friends to get shit done!
What games did you work on?
Dragonflight, Warp, Wings of Death, No Second Prize, Ambermoon, Trex Warrior, Lionheart (in various roles). I helped out with many smaller tasks in a lot of other Thalion titles as well.
What was so special about Thalion?
One aspect was the technical proficiency on Atari ST and Amiga. Most of our team members had roots in the demo scene and squeezed amazing stuff out of the 16 bit systems. 50hz full-screen scrolling on the ST and texture mapped 3D dungeons on the Amiga were no easy feats. But what was even more special was the unbridled passion for the games me made. Back then it was more of an exploration process and the percentage of things in a game that nobody has ever done before was much higher than today. We lived, breathed and dreamed games.
What are your best memories of your time there?
Hard to pick the best ones really. Sleeping in the office and showering in the public pool in the beginning? A dirty joke gross out battle between the Dutch and the Scandinavian guys? All-nighters with self-made chilli, booze and seeing a new technological breakthrough in the morning? So much to choose from...
What did you do after leaving Thalion and what are you doing now?
A lot of team members including me went to Blue Byte where we worked on a lot of their titles. There, I grew into the role of executive producer / head of development. That’s a role that I had more or less ever since. My last job was to build up a development team in Berlin for Bigpoint.
Can you give me some background on the rise and fall of Thalion?
Thalion was founded in the majority by Holger Flöttmann. Udo Fischer, a friend of mine with whom I worked on Dragonflight, a large scale RPG, before we joined Thalion as co-founders. Holger brought some Ex-Rainbow Arts team members on board and we recruited a lot of friends from the demo scene. We had to sell the company rather quickly to Ariolasoft back then because we ran out of money, but we continued as a team until Thalion went out of business after about 7 years. We had some more, some less successful titles and were impacted by piracy as much as many other companies back then. In the end we simply ran out of money again, but all in all it was a pretty successful and fun ride. After all, 7 years is quite a long time to survive in these early days, which were pretty wild west especially from a project management and business administration point of view.
This interview was conducted by Kieren Hawken and is not to be shared elsewhere without strict permission.