Developer Playlist is The Black Panel’s occasional column devoted to industry figures and the games that inspire them. Each instalment features a ‘playlist’ of influential titles hand-picked by a talented creator.
While we’re all quick to hail the new king of our “in-between” gaming time – as iPhones and iPods continue to grow in popularity – it can be easy to overlook just how popular the old kings of the hand-held space were – and continue to be. It’s something David Lally, Senior Programmer at Tantalus wouldn’t likely have forgotten so quickly, with a long history of work on a number of GBA and DS games. With a new project in the works for Nintendo’s latest hand-held, the 3DS, he joins us today to discuss some of the games that have truly stuck with him over the years.
—– David Lally’s Playlist —–
“I have always enjoyed fantasy role playing games” says Lally. “Wielding a sword or powerful magic instead of a gun has always been what I prefer”. It’s a preference which is clear to see in Lally’s list, though given that love of fantasy settings his third and final choice may surprise you.
As what would become the spawning point for an entire RPG sub-genre (as well as the number one driver of new mouse sales), the 1997 PC classic DIABLO is Lally’s first cab off the rank. Like many of us, he is “eagerly waiting for the third instalment to be released”, and he credits the original game for a lot of his development inspiration and philosophy. “Diablo is and always will be my favourite game” he adds, and blames much of his Diablo addiction on an old game he use to play on his 386 called Castle of the Winds. “It was a tile based Windows dungeon crawler”, David explains. “I played it for years, and when Diablo came out, I found it was so much like that old game that I was hooked”.
Continuing the RPG trend is Lally’s next game, Bethesda’s third entry in their Elder Scrolls series – 2002′s MORROWIND. It was the first in the Elder Scrolls lineage to make the move from PC to console and it truly cemented the series in the 3D era. It’s one which he points to as showing that “games don’t have to be perfect”. “Some of the best games I’ve played have small visual issues, cameras cutting through geometry, AI that sometimes does weird things” he says. “but if the game is great to play then you can overlook them”. As someone who’s fallen for Morrowind’s charms, I can certainly agree with Lally on that point.
Lally’s third and final choice deviates away from his love of RPGs, and instead turns to sci-fi with Bungie’s fabled HALO series. The series kicked off on the Xbox in 2001 and it was arguably the first game to make the FPS genre work on console. Lally says he had “never been a massive fan of first-person shooters”. Halo, though, was the one to finally draw him in, a sentiment no doubt shared by many. “I’d played all the old classics, Doom, Quake etc. but it wasn’t until Halo that I realised how fun that genre could be”.
What’s next for David Lally?
Lally can’t disclose too much on his latest project, though he is able to tell us that it’s an original IP, being developed for the Nintendo 3DS. He says that “It’s a very exciting project for us since it is our very own, original game which we have tried long and hard to get a publisher for”. Lally has been working on the project “since its creation” and we wish him all the best as it nears release.
Looking for more Developer Playlists? View previous instalments here.