Uplink: Hacker Elite
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you’re doing on Uplink ?
My name is Thomas Arundel, and I am the director of Introversion Software. We’re a five-man team, and at the moment, we’re teaming up with publishers around the world, to localize and distribute Uplink. We’re also releasing a Mac version of Uplink, and we’re working on a Pocket PC version too.
2. Tell us a bit about what company Introversion Software is
Well, we’re small J and based in London. We’re a developer/publisher in the UK, and a developer in other territories. Our developer, Chris, is not really into writing sequels, and prefers to spend his time developing new gaming concepts. Introversion is working on two original top-secret games at the moment, the first of which we’ll release in the beginning of 2004. We’re a fun company, and always up for a laugh/pint (of beer)!
3. Where did the idea come from to create a game where players will have to be hackers ?
The inspiration behind Uplink came mostly from ‘hacker’ films, like Wargames, Sneakers, and Swordfish. We all have an interest in computer security, and Chris had the skills to turn Hollywood’s concept of hacking, into a game.
4. How is the game set up ? What can players expect from Uplink ?
Our attempts to make hacking very graphical, Johnny Mnemonic style, didn’t work out too well, so we decided to cut back on the graphics and concentrate on the game-play. You, the player, assume the role of an elite computer criminal, and Uplink simulates what the character you play would see on his/her screen. Don’t expect ground breaking graphics, but keep your ear tuned to a great soundtrack, and your mouse ready for some really intense game-play. There’s a good plot, loads of hidden extras, and the free-form game-play lets you pick missions as you choose.
5. What problems occured during development and which were the toughest decisions that had to be made ?
Well besides the false starts with our attempts to ‘fly around’ the computer, that we mentioned above, development was pretty smooth. Chris developed the game at night, mostly while at university, and it wasn’t until a bit later that Mark and I decided to help him sell it. Consequently development only cost 252 cans of Red Bull, and 15 big jars of Nescafe. This means that we didn’t have any of the difficult decisions that commercial developers have; we didn’t worry about whether it would sell – we were writing Uplink for the love of gaming.
6. Any funny quotes on things that happened during development which you want to share with our audience ?
Well, Mark and I would often roll in to our student flat at about 4 or 5 am after a night clubbing, to find Chris feverishly writing away. There were definitely some funny conversations, but oddly enough Mark and I tended to forget about them the next morning…
7. If you take a look back, would you have done anything differently ?
I don’t think so. We’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to put Uplink into the UK ourselves, and also to team up with prestigious publishers like Strategy First. I also like to think that we’ve used our profits wisely, except of course for our 8 days in LA at 2002’s E3. Still, if you can’t spend your money on fast cars, yachts, and women then what use is it?
8. What’s next ?
We’ve got a Mac version of the game coming out in the next couple of months, and a Pocket PC version later this year. We’re working on two new games, the first of which we’re hoping to release early in 2004. Details have to remain top secret that the moment, but it’s another strategy game that is likely to appeal to a much wider audience.