When it was announced legendary musician David Bowie would be providing the music for Eidos Interactive's upcoming 3D action-adventure game, Omikron: The Nomad Soul, most people assumed his involvement with the game would begin and end in the recording studio. Not so. In addition to scoring the game's music, Bowie will appear as a character in the game, the enigmatic Boz, who offers advice to players throughout the game. Gamecenter recently spoke with Bowie about Omikron, Boz, and Bowie's new studio album, hours....
Gamecenter: How did you get involved with Omikron? What attracted you to the project?
David Bowie: At first they just asked, politely.... Then, as it went on, Reeves (Reeves Gabrels, Bowie's writing partner) and I were forced to sit in a smoky boardroom and watch hours upon hours of game footage...then it got nasty. We had to agree, or else.... I saw in Omikron a place I could understand, come to terms with...a whole civilization's worth of music to evolve.
GC: What's Boz's role in the game? How much influence did you have in determining what Boz did or did not do?
DB: Boz is the spiritual leader of the Awakened, a revolutionary bunch trying to free Omikron from the grasp of the demons. He was a mere mortal who was sucked into the Omikron equivalent of the Internet and continues to live "amidst the binary tides." As Boz, I offer sage words of advice to the players, and I guess I decided to play him as, well, a mortal living amidst the binary tides. Seriously, I saw Boz as being a kind of digital patchwork quilt, made up of all sorts of shifting patterns, fleeting thoughts, and fractured memories--someone who would slip in and out of focus, one moment drifting and world-weary, the next absolutely concise and direct. He says some pretty profound things, in his own way.
GC: A good portion of the music from Omikron appears on your new album hours.... How much did the two projects feed off each other? Is the character from the album the same as the character you play in the game?
DB: It's not really a question of "characters." The projects developed in a kind of friendly unison, as of course they should when one is writing for a parallel universe! I think the nature of the album reflects experiences from a variety of viewpoints, and this works well in the game in setting a series of different moods. Sometimes Reeves and I would view a scene and create something as if we were scoring a movie; other songs developed in a more personal way, as they say, one of the "...10 million stories in the naked city...." Perhaps we ended up with songs that are fairly receptive to personal interpretation, and generate a kind of emotional momentum as you play Omikron. It seems obvious to me that, in a successful game, game players are forced to draw on their own real experiences, all the while slipping seamlessly into the game world. The music, in its relationship to both hours... and Omikron, should help to bridge the gap and maintain the suspension of disbelief. Suspension bridge of disbelief? Ouch. So, it's so much more about sensibility than character.
GC: You've worked in nearly every creative medium: film, music, and now video games. How was this experience different from your previous creative endeavors?
DB: I think it surprised some people in your industry that this actually was a creative endeavor. It became clear early on that this was not an exercise in licensing or marketing, but in fact Eidos and Quantic Dream wanted a creative input. We worked together for weeks on the design of my characters, Reeves's man-machine "meld" and Gail's hoofed 'n' horned demon. The actual logic behind the Dreamers concert performances, and the way in which they are seen to be receiving "visions in song and dance" from Earth, was all resolved in these long brainstorming sessions. The level of collaboration on this project was as intense and fulfilling as any project...I've worked on previously. I can quite categorically state, though, that I have never, in any of my previous creative endeavors, been asked to design a puzzle before!
Autor: William Harms