News Article

Luc Bernard Talks Eternity's Child, Rose Princess and Uwe Boll

Posted by Damien McFerran

Luc Bernard’s Eternity’s Child has been on the WiiWare radar for some time now thanks to its gorgeous visuals and unique setting, so many people were surprised when the talented Anglo-French developer was interviewed recently and publicly stated that he was disappointed with his work.

We got in touch with this enigmatic young gent and asked him about his titles, his views on other WiiWare games and the perils of independent publishing.

WiiWare World: You've recently said you're displeased with Eternity's Child, but do you think it's because you're something of a perfectionist?

Luc Bernard: Well, I wanted Eternity's Child to be 20 hours long and to be gigantic and epic but due to lack of dev time and budget we could not achieve that goal, that's why the animations were not hand drawn and used ‘rag doll’ animation instead. I just wanted it to be better, that’s all. As a 500-point game I think it's the best game you can get on the service.

WW: Do you think the ‘500’ price point is important? Many people have said that stuff like Final Fantasy: My Life as a King is good, but at 1500 points it's a big barrier to entry, whereas people will be more happy to spend 500 points, even on a whim.

LB: Well I believe that if you offer games cheaper more people will try them out.

WW: Do you think it's possible to create the games you want to when you're selling them for 500 points?

LB: Yes and no. Eternity's Child had the smallest budget of all the WiiWare games, but for the future I would prefer to work on WiiWare games with a more normal budget.

WW: What's the budget for Rose Princess like?

LB: Well the Rose Princess hasn’t even got started yet, but if I start on it and a publisher picks it up it would be $50 000 in budget, while most WiiWare games are $100 000.

WW: So it's still below what many other companies are spending?

LB: Yes. When I do a game I hardly take a big salary, the maximum I take is $2000 dollars a month. I would rather it be spent on the game than me.

WW: With this in mind, do you think there's an argument that says if you release a game for 500 points instead of say, 1000 points, you take a loss on each one but you could potentially sell a higher volume? After all, you don't have to worry about pressing the discs or printing covers…

LB: I believe myself games are too expensive, and business wise I think cheaper games equals more sales but also I want as many people to play it, because if everyone offers 1000 point games players wont be able to buy most of them.

WW: If Eternity's Child sells well, what would be your next move?

LB: Clearly if Eternity's Child does well I will set up my own studio and start doing 100 point games (if I can!) and bring on the people I want to work with to make games even better.

WW: I'm sure there are some people who will read that and think you're crazy, but as we've just said, a price point of 100 points means that many more people will download the games, which could potentially mean massive sales...but how do you think other WiiWare developers would react? Especially if you're selling a game that is better than theirs, but at a much lower price?

LB: Well I don't know if it's allowed by Nintendo yet and it's not going to happen right not but it's something I plan to do. I just believe in cheap games; you give the consumer something that is good and not making him poor he will support you, that’s why people pirate music and films - they cant buy everything because its so expensive, it’s up to us to adapt to the consumer, not for them to adapt to us.

WW: It’s interesting you say that because lots of other industries are clearly thinking along the same lines, yet the games industry seems to be very reluctant to reduce prices.

LB: I'm going to be honest here, it's all about the money and doing clones of the same product over and over again; that's the games industry! Then they sugarcoat everything with PR.

WW: How do you view the flood of casual titles that have invaded the market? You recently said you didn’t care about casual gamers?

LB: I'm just not into casual games, that’s what I meant. I don't even play videogames that much anymore because they are either all the same with a big muscle man on steroids, or its casual games and I'm just not into them. There are loads of publishers who create casual games if you want to play them, but I won’t be making any.

WW: Do you think the commercial success of some of these casual titles is almost forcing developers to make more of them in the hope that they can get some of the profit? Again, it comes back to your point about the industry recycling what is successful?

LB: Yes, if a company sees that one game has got success they will do their own version, it's like record labels that each have their own Britney Spears clone.

WW: Has Nintendo had anything to say about your games? For example, Eternity's Child has some very adult themes running through it…

LB: What’s adult about Eternity's Child? There are zombie games planned for WiiWare with blood all over them. Eternity's Child does not have anything mature in it really.

WW: I guess what I meant was that although these zombie games are full of gore, they're brainless. Eternity's Child has some very mature ideas behind it…

LB: Well I'm trying to make the stories kind of have a meaning, like not always putting out the whole revenge story or heroic stuff over and over again. All the characters and stories I design aren’t really heroes at all.

WW: Storytelling is a really underused thing in videogames, I think. Do you think the issue of the player controlling the action (and therefore being able to change events) prevents developers from crafting really epic tales?

LB: There are too many epic tales about saving the world. Most games start off with a game idea and then the story is done, while I do it the other way round. That is why I then need to adapt the gameplay to the story.

WW: If Eternity's Child does do well, do you think you might revisit the concept and hopefully be able to spend more time and money on making something that is closer to your vision?

LB: Well Eternity's Child is planned to be a franchise, the WiiWare game is just a introduction to the world. However the sequel would probably be an RPG - not a big epic one, but a WiiWare one.

WW: I believe you mentioned that a movie is planned at some stage?

LB: I'm already doing some merchandise, and I talked to Uwe Boll for a animated movie based around the franchise where I wrote the story for it, it would be part of the series and not just a adaptation, but we'll see if that develops or gets off the ground.

WW: Uwe Boll? That guy gets an awful lot of abuse these days!

LB: Yes I know! I think his haters are a bit silly, I mean you can't really do a good story with Blood Rayne or stuff like that, and they are B movies and are still fun to watch. I guess it's just always easier to hate someone.

WW: At least the guy is serious about what he does. I guess it's similar to what you're doing, if you look at Boll's budgets he has hardly anything to work with…

LB: Well, Uwe Boll is very passionate about what he does, so that's what I like about him. He is also honest. The man gets kids hating him for no reason when he is one of the nicest guys I have talked to. If they don't like his films then they should just not watch them. Honestly I don't think there are any hardcore fans of Blood Rayne or House Of The Dead that are like "he ruined my favorite game", they are movies of those games so he did them the right way, you can't do a Oscar winning film based on those games.

WW: Exactly, and why should a film ruin someone's game? There's also not a lot of plot to work with on some of these things!

LB: Yeah, I mean the Mario Bros film was terrible and well I still love playing the games. The film hasn’t made me hate the franchise or Bob Hoskins!

WW: What's your opinion of the other titles you've seen on WiiWare so far?

LB: Lostwinds is hands down the best title on the service and I can't wait to see what Wayforward will put out, but the rest I must admit aren't really my kind of games.

WW: What about Defend Your Castle? Interestingly, they put it out at 500 points when people expected it to be more, maybe they're thinking along the same lines as you? It seems to have worked as well, because it's very high in the US WiiWare sales charts…

LB: I have nothing against it, it's just not my kind of game, I like to play a character.

WW: You've hinted that Imagination Is The Only Escape (adventure title about the Holocaust) could revolutionize the way we see games...could you tell us a little more about it? Is it still DS-bound? I know it's secret but whatever you can tell us...

LB: I can't tell you if I did it would give things away and people would copy it! But I can say there’s been a change of platform and I'm going to spend more time on it than any other game, and not going to let it come out until I am fully satisfied with it. This game can make a change but if it's not right and with the right budget it could be terrible.

WW: Do you see yourself working on content for other platforms, such as XBLA and the PS Network? Or is WiiWare currently the best fit for the kind of product you're looking to produce?

LB: Those platforms have HD and more disc space so I must admit I’m liking them a lot at the moment.

WW: We've touched upon the freedom that DLC games grant developers, but would you consider producing a 'proper' retail game if the situation was right?

LB: I'm not going to even consider that, if a WiiWare game costs $100 000 to make in general and I have problems getting funding why would I even try a retail title?

WW: But say Eternity's Child is a massive success and a big publisher came knocking?

LB: I still wouldn’t do it, I prefer online digital distribution.

WW: I guess traditional publishing comes with serious limitations? Not only on creative freedom but also in terms of financial burden?

LB: Well it’s all a question of money, if I have problems financial wise just with WiiWare games, why would I even consider retail?

WW: True, but my point is that once you have a few successes under your belt it's a lot easier to get finance…

LB: That is not true really. I know people who have done loads of games and still have problems getting financing, but what I plan to do is invest my money into things rather than wait for investors.

WW: And thereby get more creative freedom?

LB: It's got nothing to do with creative freedom; I was never told what to do on a game. I'm not an employee, Eternity's Child is a collaboration between me and Alten8, so I have never had those problems of creative freedom.

WW: Personally I think it's great that you've in that position, I've played too many games where I sit there thinking that the developer has sold themselves short by sticking to convention too much. As many people say there aren't enough risks taken in the industry these days…

LB: Well, there is no risk in Eternity's Child. It's just a simple old school platformer, nothing more.

WW: that is true but you have to admit from the buzz the game has created on the net, the visual style has helped to raise the game's profile. I think a lot of publishers would look at it and be worried because it's not got a furry animal in the lead role! I think given the chance, the general public responds well to games that are original in style.

LB: Well, other publishers do not think the style is mainstream I agree.

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User Comments (28)

KnucklesSonic8

#1

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Sweet in-depth interview!
There was another interview he did where he simply stated he doesnt care about casual games and that he's not satisfied with EC. That interview has now been taken down upon his request...

DamoAdmin

#2

Damo said:

Yeah, this interview was kinda his chance to set the record straight. A lot of what he said in that other one was taken the wrong way.

KnucklesSonic8

#3

KnucklesSonic8 said:

Yeah, agreed. I could see that come across...

Overall, very detailed. I like the mention of mature content and the rebuttal he offered. I AM confused though as to what "mature" themes are found in the game. It may be a turn-off for me..

AlexSays

#4

AlexSays said:

working with Uwe Boll?
thats not good for PR...
although i have nothing against him, i know a few people that do.

DazzaAdmin

#5

Dazza said:

That's what I like about Luc, he isn't afraid to speak his mind. Good on him. Great interview Damo :D

DamoAdmin

#6

Damo said:

Everyone has an opinion on Mr Boll, but he's probably a perfectly nice guy. Some people seem to think he's the antichrist cos he made some bad movies...Luc knowns him personally so he's probably a lot better positioned to comment. :)

AlexSays

#7

AlexSays said:

Not only that, but I think a majority of people that dislike Boll choose to dislike him because other people do. Its not hard to find forums just based on the fact of hating him because of one of his movies. So I think some people see that and "follow the crowd" in a sense, and I think most people that dislike him can't give you a good reason why. But then there's people that actually interact with him, such as Luc, and they say he's the nicest guy you'll ever meet and he's passionate about his work. So its easy to tell most people have the wrong impression of him, or so it seems.

MrPoo6321

#8

MrPoo6321 said:

That was a good interview. Eternity's Child looks pretty interesting. It'll be wierd playing the game though, knowing that its not at the level of quality the director wanted.

whalleywhat

#9

whalleywhat said:

Cool. He was clearly in a bad mood in that other interview because he isn't happy with how the game turned out. I'm sure if I got interviewed (hah) on a day I was in a bad mood, people on the internet would be like "WTF?" This may be strange to gamers, because everything is so PR based, but lots of artists are unhappy with their own work, even when other people like it, cause they start out with a vision and aren't able to meet it. I certainly don't agree with all of Bernard's opinions, so it's possible the game will actually suck, but for 500 points I'm willing to just see the art and hear the music.
If Bernard and Boll get together it could be a perfect storm of fanboy hatred. They should make a film starring Jack Thompson.

CorbsAdmin

#10

Corbs said:

Victor Ireland has the same type of reputation and after speaking with him at various times over the years, I can see where that reputation comes from. That being said, I still respect the guy because he does things on his own terms and doesn't let anyone push him around.

SupermarketZombies

#11

SupermarketZombies said:

Whether he isn't satisfied with Eternity's Child or not, I'll still buy it and maybe even gift it to my cousin to be supportive : )

Jupiter_Adept

#12

Jupiter_Adept said:

An Eternity's Child RPG sequel could be good. And 100 point games? Nintendo wouldn't let him, but a compilaton of 5 games for 500 could work.

Objection

#13

Objection said:

@#9
With Jack thompson-hilarious!
And I look forward to these games, especially his idea of lower priced games! :)

Terra

#14

Terra said:

100 Points games are something i'd never thought i'd hear.

This stuff with Uwe Boll, he is passionate about his work in video games, i don't like most of his films, except Postal but that was just wrong. However, i find he can be quite unproffesional at times, particularly when he's responding to criticism (The Boxing Match, anyone?, when he responded to the negative review of Postal in Wired) and now, he has quite a legacy behind his bad video game adaptations. This includes in the 2007 G-Phoria awards on G4, who have created a special award called the "Games most deserving of a Uwe Boll movie" stating that some of the most disappointing and generally terrible games that could be made into disappointing and horrible movies that are by Uwe Boll. I found that to be hilarious

Peznaze

#15

Peznaze said:

He really seems on the ball. 1000 is too much for most of these WiiWare games, 500 point games will likely rise to the top of the downloads and make these companies think twice about their pricing... Alas, Nintendo gets the final say.

His art and the 500 point tag will likely make Eternity's Child a mega-smash hit.

i8cookie

#16

i8cookie said:

i remember seeing shots of this a billion years ago, can't believe it's still not out, looks cool tho, very frenchy

CorbsAdmin

#17

Corbs said:

He can say what he wants to but the art style in this game is amazing. Some of the most creative I've ever seen in a video game. While playing the preview build of the game I couldn't help but spend most of my time admiring the visuals. And the trees that look like naked women were particularly impressive and "artsy." :P

get2sammybAdmin

#18

get2sammyb said:

He comes across very arrogant in that interview. In saying that he totally believes in what he's doing and he's speaking his mind which I respect.

This game looks amazing. Can't wait for it.

Yatesy

#20

Yatesy said:

You're got to admire the man's honesty, although I'm not sure that coming out and saying that he's disappointed with the way that the game's turned out is the best way to go about things before the game has even been released. His candor is refreshing, but he could have perhaps waited until a decent amount of folk had laid down their 500 Wii points before telling us how much better it could have been! I've actually been a bit surprised by the glowing praise that the game has received thus far, as it looks to me like your standard, generic platforming fare, without anything much to distinguish it from the crowd. Of course, I might be way off. Nevertheless, I wasn't planning on buying it, and being told by the developer that it's not as good as he had envisioned isn't likely to persuade me otherwise!

mr_niceguy

#21

mr_niceguy said:

@Corbie, so I wasn't the only one seeing those, I thought I was gonna hafta see a shrink(or at least I assumed they would turn out to be some kind of people)

@Yatesy, sure it's generic platforming stuff, but that hasn't been seen on the consoles in years, and at $5, and at a decent length and unique art, what more could you ask for?

Virus

#22

Virus said:

Great interview!

Well, I'll get it if it sees favorable reviews. It's a no-brainer since it's 500 points; I can easily see it go for 800. As for those 100 points games, those seem a bit far-fetched to me... as well as the Uwe Boll thing, but hey, what do I know right? If Bernard has the incentive, awesome for him.

And what's this Imagination Is The Only Escape? Kinda scares me a bit.

DarkLloyd

#23

DarkLloyd said:

hey 100 points or 200 seems like a kool idea, better then leaving left over points on the vc which i have 200 left. lol

Big_Sexy

#25

Big_Sexy said:

"Most games start off with a game idea and then the story is done, while I do it the other way round. That is why I then need to adapt the gameplay to the story."

This is similar to the base of great game design, whereas you think about what you want players to feel and experience FIRST and worry about genre SECOND. Bravo.

Also, the art we've been privy to so far has a very sinister and surreal look to it, like a bad dream. Very cool and creepy.

Chipmunk777

#26

Chipmunk777 said:

Very good interview, he seems like a cool guy. After paying 1000+ pts for most of the wiiware games I've bought, I forgot Eternity's Child is only going to be 500 points! Thats amazing, I definitely can't wait for this one.

ElectricSplash

#27

ElectricSplash said:

Luc Bernard it's originallity itself. Really cool and good interview. I'm was gonna dowload Eternity's Child because it looked good, now im gonna dowlad it because it looks good and the creator wants to make the game of his dreams.

Draygone

#28

Draygone said:

Though 100-point games sounds like a good idea, it could also prove to drive people away. A lot of people seem to follow the "you get what you pay for" saying, and that sort of price might make some wonder whether the game is crappy. Then again, I could be wrong, and there's always sites like WiiWare World to tell us whether a game is good or not.

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