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Updated July 11, 2005



Interview with Juan Diaz-Bustamante (December 1999, source Blade Universe)

General Questions

BU: How long have you been working for Rebel Act Studios and what did you do before that? If there is anything you want us to know about yourself, here is your chance to do so ;-)

Juan: Luis Alarcon and me created Friendware in 1994, one of the main spanish videogames distributers. Friendware and Angel Cuņado, main Rebel's programmer, created Rebel Act Studios in 1996. I am the Marketing / PR manager for both companies. Before that, I worked in a big spanish investment bank (very boring.....)

BU: Could you try to describe a normal days work for you as the Marketing / PR-guy for Rebel Act Studios? I've noticed you get to the forums around 09:00, what's next?

Juan: I arrive at the office at 9:00, I start my computer and the I check the e-mails and the Rebel forum. Now I check Blade's Universe forum as well!

BU: Have any of you guys started to wear armour and carry swords at work and perhaps hunting down by-passers, screaming "Die, you foul beast of Dal Gurak!" or is it only me (Warlock) doing that?

Juan: It's happening to us as well!

BU: Gremlin was to distribute Blade, but as they now are owned by Infogrames they will stand for the distribution. Has any of this affected the process of marketing and perhaps pushing the release dates even further?

Juan: We are very happy with Infogrames taking Blade's distribution. They are a very big and professional company and I am sure that they will do a very good job with Blade.

BU: Will the Spanish/South-American version (dist. by Friendware) of Blade be released before the one, dist. by Infogrames?

Juan: No. We'll try a simultaneous release. Although the pressure in Spain is big (in some South American big markets like Argentina, Mexico or Chile the game is highly expected as well) it wouldn't be fear to release it before Infogrames does.

BU: Can you tell us a bit about the system requirements Blade will have? What's the minimum and recommended requirements, and what do you need for Blade to run truly great in high resolution?

Juan: I'll tell it to you more exactly once we finish the optimization of the game. But it will be for sure a PII with 3D card.

BU: There has been a lot of uncertainty about the release date of Blade (for the last two years or so hehe) Last we heard is due March/April 2000, should we expect Blade then or should we take it with a grain of salt and settle with "When it's done"?

Juan: Infogrames and Friendware are looking forward to a 2nd quarter 2000 release.

BU: What do you think Blade will accomplish, that other games have failed at? Are you hoping, with Blade, to push computer games in new directions or are you merely refining what has already been done?

Juan: We are looking forward to create an innovative game, both in technology and in design. We didn't want to do any clone. We have been ambitious and I think we are in the right way.

BU: What has been you top priorities these past years, in the development of Blade?

Juan: Technology and gameplay.

BU: How many Blade-logos have there been since the development of Blade started? I'm sure I've seen at least 3 of them ;-)

Juan: Yes, 3 logos, I think.......

BU: Blade will get a new Web Site with help from Infogrames. Can you tell us a bit on when this will happen and where it will be located?

Juan: I have no updates about it.

Engine features

BU: What sort of animation system will you use? Can you tell us a bit more about it, and how it differs from what we've seen in other games?

Juan: Although are movements have been captured from real actors, all characters moves in an incredible near-to-reality way. Every character has a big number of different movements and attacks, including combos!

BU: The game engine Blade will use is focused on realism and real physics. I also understand that certain actions can result in modification to the levels. Will the incautious players be able to trip and/or fall through certain surfaces? Will weather effects affect game play as manipulating arrows and the maneuverability of the characters? Can you create holes in walls by setting off a boulder (large rolling rock)?

Juan: There are many traps and puzzles in the game related with falling walls, etc.....

BU: The Blade engine will be available for licensing. What kind of games do you think the Blade engine would fit for?

Juan: Yes. 3D action/adventure/RPG games.

BU: A lot of 3d engines are having a hard time with creating believable and large outdoor environments. Many have problems with moving from indoor to outdoor environments as well. One of the engines doing this pretty well must be the Drakan engine. Would you say that the Blade engine can handle these tasks?

Juan: Yes, definitively.

BU: I've heard that Rebel Act Studios have 3 projects in house for developing, Blade being the first of them. Can you say anything about the other two? Will they be using the Blade engine as well? Are they in the same genre as Blade? Are one of these to be Blade 2?

Juan: Yes, they are Blade 2 and some others that we keep in secret......

BU: Word is that you've been fooling around with GeForce T&L support with the DirectX API. Is this something we can expect in the retail version of Blade? How about other hot features as bump mapping (preferably environmental bump mapping, available with the Matrox G400)?

Juan: We are working on some new technical features in this way. Let's see if we are on time......

Single player

BU: There will be interaction with other characters (NPC) in the game. How exactly will these encounters work? Will you choose between different dialogue lines or will this fold out without player-control?

Juan: There's no many interaction with other NPC as there aren't many NPC in the game... When you meet them, a cinematic sequence using the engine is launched.

BU: In Blade you get to choose one of the four available races (Knight, Dwarf, Barbarian and Amazon). Will you be stuck with this character throughout the entire game or will you be able to change between characters later on? I've seen in some older screenshots that there is several characters present, for example a Dwarf and an Amazon. Will you get assistance from the other races during the game?

Juan: Not really....

BU: Currently, which is your favourite monster to chop into pieces? And who is the best warrior, at the office, among you at Rebel Act Studios?

Juan: I have killed a lot of orcs. The more used are the knight and the barbarian.

BU: How many different weapons, armours and monsters will there be in the game?

Juan: Weapons more than 60. Armours around 12 (3 per character). Monsters more than 20

BU: Will there be character dependent weapons/items/skills? Example: a battle-axe for the Dwarf that cannot be used by the Amazon.

Juan: Exactly. The Amazon will be very awkward with the axe......

BU: The levels in Blade promise to be huge? Can you compare their size with any other games currently available? And perhaps tell us a bit about some of them?

Juan: They are quite big, that's why we have created new levels for the multiplayer game.


BU: As games become more complex (especially with the complexity of Blade) it demands quite a bit of bandwidth to keep the game from "lagging". What have you done to optimise multiplayer-code? Will Blade come with dedicated server support?

Juan: We are now testing it. We'll tell you more about this issue very soon!

BU: In multiplayer, what different modes will be available? Will you be able to play teams? Capture the flag? Assassination, (all vs. one) where one is more powerful than the assassins? Multiplayer games where the players need to accomplish certain objectives in order to win?

Juan: We have included just a Deathmatch mode. Cooperative mode was too complex. Will try it for Blade 2!! We'll tell more about the different games and options later on, when we are nearer to the release.....

BU: Will there be "real" environments in multiplayer games, like there is in single player? With chairs and tables etc. (Would be cool to beat up some newbie with a chair)?

Juan: Yes.

BU: Do you think that the multiplayer part will be good enough to create an online community, playing on a regular basis and trade maps and have tournaments?

Juan: Hope so!! It is great to see how other player approaches you and changes a sword for a very big axe!!

Sound and music

BU: Are the game enhanced with 3d audio and will it support environmental audio effects like EAX?

Juan: Yes.

BU: I personally loved the music in the latest mpeg. Will this be the typical music in Blade? How many tracks of musical score will there be in Blade? Will all be from the same composer?

Juan: It's not the same composer, but Blade's music is very epic!!

BU: Which format will the music in the game use (wav, mp3 or something else)?

Juan: CD audio and mp3

BU: How do you approach a task as creating the sound effects in a game such as Blade? Especial how objects sounds when thrown into walls? Did it ever turn violent?

Juan: Music and sound effects are the only features created out of the team. So we have a professional guy creating the sound effects for us.


BU: Will you be able to create new weapons or edit the existing weapons in the game?

Juan: No, you cannot edit nor create weapons in the game.

BU: Will a model editor be shipped with Blade, which enables you to model new characters and/or monsters?

Juan: I don't think so.

BU: We know there is a map editor with Blade. Will this be included with the retail or will it be made available at a later date?

Juan: We haven't taken a decision yet.

BU: Finally, do you have anything you would like to add or comment on?

Juan: We are getting very nervous and anxious as we are finishing the game as we realise that the team is creating something great and unique!

BU: Thank you very, very much for taking the time with us!

Juan: Thank you very much to Blade Universe!!!