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An interview with Neotokyo
hl2c_articles - Interview with Grey, leader of the Neotokyo modification. | Posted by Silkjær on Sep 14th 03 09:25 AM

I have written little resume of the modification's info page, to enlighten
you a bit of what it's about.

This team has a very interesting sci-fi mod going on. This is a mod which
is not copied but inspired by a row of anime comic books. The game takes place
about 25 years in the future, in a fictionalized Tokyo where the world, as we
know it today, haven't become any better with the years, but only worse. The
rich are richer, and the poor even more poor. Government and corporate corruption
have transformed Tokyo into a deadly dystopian nightmare.

The mod will basically be a multiplayer mod, in which you fight in two teams.
Although the team is planning to make single-player episodes, which will be
released periodically to reveal more and more of the story to you. I am sure
this is a feature that will make this mod very interesting, and will help you
stick to it, to be more and more enlightened of the world, you’re might
going to loose your daily sleep on.

I contacted Grey, Leader and Coder of the team, to ask him a few questions.

To us who haven't read any of the Akira or Ghost in the Shell comic
books or seen the movie, can you tell us a bit about them, and why they are
so good, you are willing to spend so much time and effort, on making a mod inspired
by them?

Akira and Ghost in the Shell are perhaps the two most popular mature sci-fi
anime movies, and they have hooked many people across the world into becoming
anime addicts. Even people, who normally could care less for most anime usually,
like those two movies. Both movies feature visceral action, amazing art, great
story, and even to manage to ask a few important philosophical questions in
the mix. Like a lot of people, we would like to experience that type of action
and world ourselves, hence the mod. I’d also like to stress we draw inspiration
from a lot of sources, but most importantly our imaginations. Akira and Ghost
in the Shell just happen to be a good way of communicating to people the type
of style and feel of what we are trying to achieve.

As we can read on your website, the mod will be made visually as we
know anime. How are you planning to do that? Will it mainly be the characters,
robots and weapons, or also the maps?

Simply everything! Everything we create for the mod will add to the experience.
I wouldn’t call the style straight anime; rather I would describe the
style as anime stylized reality. For example although it is possible with the
Source engine, we won’t be using cell shading. We plan on the environments
looking realistic and authentic, but 25-30 years in the future so you can expect
a few changes compared to modern day Tokyo.

As the mod is a sci-fi mod, I guess you wont include weapons we know
of today. Will it include modified known weapons, or where do you get the inspiration
of designing futuristic models?

I’ve done a lot of the gun models myself, and I personally draw inspiration
from a lot of modern firearms. Firearms have not changed significantly since
World War 2, and I believe realistic weapons add believability to a future setting.
That is not to say you won’t see a few odd designs from us in the future

As you mention on the website, the multiplayer part will be team based,
but nothing more is revealed about the game modes. Can you tell us a bit about
them and about how maps you are going to make in the first public release?

I’ll be purposely brief on this one. Team based with classes. Objective
based game play is the primary game mode. And how many maps, that depends on
a lot of unknown factors. I believe mapping will be one of the biggest challenges
with the Source engine. Valve has raised the bar significantly. Our initial
thought is to emulate Valve’s own process for maps, a team based approach.
I can’t say what quantity of maps will be released along with our first
public release - however, I can say that they all will be of high quality.

Another question about the single-player episodes, I understand that
you will reveal more and more of the story and takes us deeper into the futuristic
Tokyo-environment. Has the story been written yet? And if it has, can you reveal
some of it now, as a little teaser?

The background story has been written. The single player story has not.
Multiplayer is our primary focus right now. Our background story for multiplayer
in a nutshell is an elite military group and an elite government agency locked
in a struggle for power that takes place in the shadows – away from the
eyes of the public. That’s the nutshell; there is a lot of back story
that leads to this setup that I’m not going to go into right now.

It is always interesting to know a bit about the teams behind different
mods. How did you gather all these people? You came up with the idea and posted
in different HL2 forums in search for help?

We have a fairly small team compared to a lot of other mods, and that’s
purposeful. Before I set out to recruit any one for the mod I had already done
a lot of work on it. When I did start looking for others I had work to show
to attract talented people of like mind. All of the initial core members came
from outside the HL2 community. Aside from all of us being hard workers, we
also have a high maturity level with our age range being 22-34. I myself have
just turned 30 this summer.

I thanks Grey for letting us interview him, I sure feel enlightened about the
idea of the modification! Be sure to check their website out,,
to see more renders and concept art.

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