Interview mit Martin Zavrel (Development Manager von 2KCzech)

Elizabeth von 2KGames war mal wieder fleißig und hat ein neues Interview online gestellt.

Diesmal sprach sie mit Martin Zavrel, dem Development Manager bei 2KCzech, den einige bereits aus den 2K-Foren kennen dürften.

Martin erzählt von seinem Einstieg in die Spielebranche, seinen Aufgaben bei der Entwicklung von Mafia 2 und welche Games er gerne spielt.

Am intessantesten ist aber sicherlich die Frage, worauf er beim derzeitigen Entwicklungsstand von Mafia 2 am stolzesten ist.

Martins Antwort:

Bei der Entstehung der Musik von Mafia 2 habe ich eine besondere Rolle gespielt. Ich war vor ein paar Jahren für den „Musician Contest“ verantwortlich und habe mich damals glücklicherweise für Matus Siroky als Gewinner entschieden. Danach habe ich ihm geholfen in der Spielebranche Fuß zu fassen und ihm mit der Arbeit in einem Studio vertraut gemacht. Wir haben es uns zur Aufgabe gemacht, gemeinsam den Musikstil für Mafia 2 zu erarbeiten. Ohne den Stil von Teil 1 komplett fallen zu lassen, wollten wir trotzdem etwas Neues und Größeres als zuvor schaffen. Wir schwankten zwischen dem klassischen Musikstil aus der Paten-Trilogie, einem moderneren Stil wie aus Road to Perdition und aktuellem Jazz. Letztendlich zeigen die positiven Reaktionen der Fans auf die bisher veröffentlichen Musikschnipsel, dass wir auf dem richtigen Weg sind.

Hier das komplette Interview in englisch:

Tell us about your background – how long have you been at 2K Czech? How did you get in the industry?
Originally I started out as a game journalist. I was freelancing for several media outlets (online, print, television) before settling down as a chief-editor of magazine Doupe. By that time, Petr Vochozka, who was Illusion Softworks CEO back then, approached me. He told me that he liked the ideas and opinions in my articles and that I should make better use of them by actually making games, not just writing about them. Obviously this was an offer you can´t refuse. I joined the studio in 2004 and since then I have taken on several duties on few consecutive projects, starting with Hidden and Dangerous 2: Sabre Squadron.

How does your work differ now from when you were a journalist ? Would you be less critical if you wrote articles again now?
It was a big change to go “through the looking glass.” Even when a journalist is fortunate enough to participate in many studio tours across the world, he will never really see the raw development process up close and personal. There is just so much that goes into inventing and putting together everything that makes a big game – you cannot describe all the difficulties, emotions, energy and hard work that go into the process. But even though I say that now, understanding better how games are born would actually not change my writing attitude as a journalist – a game is still as good as it plays: the end-user experience is not and should not be influenced by the development experience.

What’s it like to be on the inside of the studio, and how do you view the industry after coming from journalism?
Working in a big Press company before, I was always somehow lonely. Being a game journalist, my colleagues from different media/publications either did not understand my area of expertise or they considered it inferior. The best thing about moving into a game development studio is that I can share my passion for games with literally everyone and they are as excited about our projects and all the good games out there as much as I am. Anyway, my view of the industry got much wider thanks to seeing almost all of its sides (hardcore user, publishing and development) and I still consider it to be the most interesting media of our generation. It will grow into more powerful and interesting entertainment in the future, that´s for sure.

Tell us about your day to day role at 2K Czech?
My title/position has actually changed few times, from assistant producer to lead designer to music producer to the current development manager of our “media group.” I guess it is not only due to different needs of the projects that I have been working on but also due to my rather wide spread of interests. Currently I am handling the managing of music, audio and cutscenes for Mafia II while I also take care of the marketing requests that are coming into the studio. Recently I was given a chance to participate on the official 2K Forums for Mafia II and although I’m swamped with my studio duties, I still enjoy my time among our fans very much.

What do you like about your job? What is a good day for Martin Zavrel?
Well, I am quite passionate person and I do have a very strong relationship with our music department. I love to come in, sit with Matus and listen to the newest piece of music. The same goes for sitting in front of a newly finished cutscene from our animators. Other than that, as a manager, I obviously love when a week or month ends and work is delivered as planned. Last but not least, being the communicative character that I am, I enjoy to spend time with the journalists or focus group people when they come to visit us.

What are you most proud of so far concerning Mafia II?
I did play a special role in setting up the music. I was in charge of the “musician contest” a few years ago and was fortunate enough to select Matus Siroky as the winner. After that I have helped him get used to the game industry and his work within the studio. Together we went through the difficult process of defining the musical style for Mafia II. Although we are aware of the Mafia I heritage, we really wanted to come up with something new and bigger than before. We were struggling between classical movie style (Godfather movie), modern movie style (Road to Perdition movie) and contemporary jazz. In the end, reactions of the fans to some of the musical bits we have already released prove that we went in the right direction.

What sorts of games do you play in your spare time? What are you playing at the moment?
I am a huge fan of anything with a strong story, beautiful music and generally strong emotions. Because of that, I play a lot of RPGs (Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, Oblivion,) but also heavy story based action/adventure games such as Metal Gear Solid or Silent Hill. At this very moment, I am still playing Resident Evil 5 (although I have unlocked all the achievements already) but also Call of Duty 5 multiplayer, Killzone 2 multiplayer, Riddick: Assault on the Dark Athena and Godfather 2. I always play more than one game at a time and I always have all the platforms that are out there, including handhelds.

And what is your favorite game of all time?
To pick just one is so damn hard! All right, I would have to say the original Metal Gear Solid (PSOne, 1998). For me, even though being a hardcore movies fan, this game has broken the barriers and proved that a videogame can be the ultimate form of narration, literally plunging the player into the virtual world – and when he eventually surfaces, he does so richer and wiser as if he actually went on that trip for real. Also some of the melodies and dialogues from that game will never let go of my mind: “You mustn’t allow yourself to be chained to fate, to be ruled by your genes. Human beings can choose the kind of life that they want to live.”