Here at Pixel Perfect Gaming, we are big horror game fans, big adventure gamers in general and when we got a chance to corner Jonathan Boakes, we jumped (sorry for the bad pun). Mr. Boakes has not only created the Dark Fall series of games but also The Lost Crown series also for PC.
PPG: What is your inspiration for the Dark Fall series?
Jonathan Boakes (JB): Missing persons, ghosts and urban legends. I explore a lot of abandoned places, like ruins of old military bases, hotels, trains stations and asylums. I guess my games are an attempt to give gamers an opportunity to explore those places too, just without the rain, security guards, police and asbestos!
PPG: Other than horror, what would you be most interested in using as a basis of a new game?
JB: The ancient world; but my friend, and sometimes collaborator, Matt Clark covers that realm with his Barrow Hill games. The past is so strange to us, in modernity, as we really don’t have any hard answers, or theories, as to why (and how!!) sites like Stonehenge were built, and why they mean so much to us today. It fascinates people, and percolates through to TV/Film with things like Doctor Who, Stargate and Battlestar Galactica. The past is a total mystery in many respects, almost as if ‘we’ were not there at all. I’d love to make a game that explores all the theories, while offering up new ones.
PPG: How long have you been a developer?
JB: Ten years. I worked in web-dev beforehand, making advertising banners for global corps. It was dull, repetitive, fascist and soul destroying. So, I left one afternoon, starting making notes about ghost stories and never went back. I love my new job! It’s the best gig in the world. Some people like my games, some people don’t see the point. But, I’m happy, and I believe I offer something a bit different, English…and spooky.
PPG: What was your first game you remember playing?
JB: As kids, me and my sister had one of those Grandstand gaming consoles. It was like ’10 ways to make Pong feel interesting’, but we enjoyed it. Later, I fell in love with games like Mystery of Arkham, on the Spectrum ZX. It was a 3rd person mystery, set in the Lovecraft universe, with zombies and horror. I was amazed that you could ‘sleep’ in-game, and time would pass. I think that experience stayed with me, and kick-started by interest in gaming.
PPG: What is your favorite game of all time?
JB: An Add-On! Bloodmoon for Morrowind. I loved Morrowind, which I played for hours each day, for over two years. It’s the ultimate adventure, and still outshines its successors, I believe. Then, when Bloodmoon came along, I was in heaven. A snowy heaven, with Norse-style curses and buried ancient treasures. That’s totally my kind of thing!
PPG: Will there be more Dark Fall games?
JB: I couldn’t say. I won’t be making any full Dark Fall games, but I’d like to do something Chapter based, like a Dark Fall Chronicles, which gamers could download. But, there are no definite plans. For now, I am returning to my other franchise, The Lost Crown series, to continue the story from where I (and a lot of gamers) left off. The ‘Crown’ games are very different to the Dark Fall saga, so it’s great to have something completely different to do. I found making ‘Lost Souls’ a very dark experience, so it’ll be good to get back in the sunshine, and remember that not everyone sees the world quite as strange as I do!
Here is a developer’s diary for those interested in more details about Dark Fall Lost Souls.
We here at Pixel Perfect Gaming would like to thank Jonathan Boakes for taking the time to answer our short, but hopefully interesting (fan of Morrowind huh? Good game) interview. Also, we would like to extend our gratitude to Ms. Desiree van Rietschoten, of Iceberg-Interactive, without whom, this interview simply would not have happened.