Sponsored By

For this week’s Media Consumption, Christian Allen, creative director at Red Storm (Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 multiplayer elements), gives us the full run-down of his media diet - from Danzig to Aurelius to Dead Rising to _Mansquit

Alistair Wallis, Blogger

February 27, 2007

7 Min Read

For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to Christian Allen, Creative Director for Red Storm, responsible for the multiplayer elements of the upcoming Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. The title is due for release on PS3 and Xbox 360 next week, with a multiplayer demo having been released to the Xbox Live Marketplace just yesterday. Allen notes that he is “pretty excited” to see the demo in the hands of gamers, and laughs that he “really can’t wait to get out on Live and get slaughtered by some fans”. “The wrap up of a major game is always a mix of relief and frustration,” he sighs. “You are exhilarated that the work your team has put into the game is finally paying off, and at the same time you are faced with the last minute issues that always seem to come up, like dealing with localization problems, issues with the copy on the box, etc. I generally handle a lot of the press for the game, so I have been traveling a lot, doing press events in London, San Francisco, and a fair amount of interviews and wrap-ups, which is always very cool.” Allen is also set as a speaker at the Game Developer’s Conference, for the second year in a row. This time around, Allen is presenting a 60 minute lecture on “Map Prototype Process: Creating Fun Gameplay Spaces While Minimizing Risks” along with Red Storm’s Level Design Coordinator Mike Haynes, something he feels will be “a nice segue to finishing the game”, adding that he will also be “generally doing the 'creative reset' that the atmosphere there gives”. “Then it’s back to work,” he laughs. We spoke to Allen recently, and asked him about the frosted cupcakes in his media picnic basket of late. Sounds: "I guess I have a pretty eclectic (or maybe just weird) taste in music. I mainly only listen on long drives and at work, and I like to have something different on each song, so I generally just put my collection on shuffle. The last four songs that just played are Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, Great White’s Wasted Rock Ranger, Mozart’s Requiem Mass and Danzig’s “Her Black Wings.” I don’t really keep up with modern music, except that as I’m flipping through the radio, if I hear something I like, I go buy the MP3. Sometimes it’s a new song, and sometimes it’s just something I haven’t heard in a while. The last three songs I downloaded were Gnarles Barkley’s Crazy, Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction, and Space Lord by Monster Magnet. Crazy and Eve of Destruction were on the radio, and Space Lord was in Talladega Nights, as soon as I got home I bought the MP3. That probably gives you an idea of my mixed up taste. Sometimes I’m in the mood for James Horner, and sometimes I really just want to listen to Metallica! I really like that technology has come to the point where I can just go out and buy a song for 99 cents, and add it to my collection. I don’t buy albums much anymore, because it seems like so many times you hear a great song, buy the album, and the rest of the songs on it are crap. As I finish this question, the theme song to Pinky and The Brain is coming on…" Moving Pictures: "Well, it might not surprise you that I list Aliens as my favorite movie of all time. The drama, the humanity... ah, who am I kidding, it simply and purely kicks ass. While I do appreciate the director’s cut for its completeness, I think that the original theatrical release flows better and keeps the tension level up better. I generally think of my favorites as the movies I enjoy watching over and over again, so even though I really appreciate a movie like Memento or Usual Suspects, it just can’t make the list. High on the list of favorites are Gladiator, Apocalypse Now, Replacement Killers, the Lord of the Rings series, Full Metal Jacket, and the latest Dawn of the Dead. I also love to watch campy B sci-fi movies. I love to flip on the Sci-Fi Channel and see what they have come up with - or dug up. There is nothing better after a long week of making games than to sit down with a cold beer (or four) and turn on Mansquito or Raptor Island. I was thinking of making a cheesy sci-fi movie generator, maybe using Excel. I think I could make millions! Or maybe they already have one... The last three new movies I’ve seen were Fearless (really liked it, wished I’d watched it in the theatre instead of a hotel pay-per-view), Smoking Aces (beats Miami Vice for “Best use of 50 Cal”), and Snakes on a Plane (love Sam Jackson, but I still want my five bucks back!)." Words: "I grew up on science fiction, and I still love it. Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle, Cherryh, Clarke, Vinge, Steakly, etc; they all rock, I’ve read pretty much everything by them. In the past few years I fell in love with Peter F. Hamilton’s Night Dawn series, I think it stands at the top of my list alongside Armor by John Steakly as my favorite book. Well, Night Dawn was 9 books, but they’re so great that if you start, you won’t be able to stop. When I want to feel a little cerebral, I like to read philosophy or politics. I just finished running through re-reads of War is a Racket by Maj. Gen. Smedly Butler, Unintended Consequences by John Ross, and Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been traveling a lot lately, so I’ve been reading what I call “Airplane books.” These are usually thrillers that I either grab out of my wife’s collection - she hoards books; we have hundreds in the house - or buy at the airport; ones that I can buzz through pretty quickly. I on my last trips I remember some cop book, some lawyer book, some book about Templars and archaeologists, some book about a worldwide flu pandemic spread by terrorists, and the book I just finished sitting in Chicago airport last week was Devil of Nanking, which was a great read, but not for the faint of heart! I’ve found that since I started working on games I do less reading than I did when I was in the military or working for the government. I think that at the end of the day my brain just needs a break - or maybe some Mansquito! I used to go through two books a week minimum, and now it is more like one a month, except when I travel, as I mentioned." Games: "My latest game obsession has been Dead Rising. Once I got past a few of the annoying quirks in the game (the save system and the controls), I really, really enjoy it. It’s just the right mix of fear and camp, and you really can’t get much better than killing zombies with a hole auger. The replay factor is interesting; it really reminds me of how I used to play the old RPG Wasteland, building up my character and then restarting the game to come at it from a different angle. I like the Achievements; they have been pushing me to do different things, although I wish some of them weren’t so brutal - not that I have much to say after some of the Achievements in GRAW. I’ve also been checking out some other shooters, like Rainbow Six: Vegas and Gears of War, as well as hitting up the fans on GRAW late at night. Of course, your capacity to sit down and play a shooter after dealing with them all day is a bit shortened. I also have a tendency to really only play one game at a time, and just play it to death, until I find another game that steals my attention. Lately, my wife got into Viva Piñata on the 360 to the point I had to move the 360 off my main TV so I could actually watch it, so I went back and got some Starcraft: Brood War on. Still love that game. Also, someone recently released a mod that replicated all the original Rainbow Six missions into Rogue Spear, so I had a blast playing through that."

About the Author(s)

Alistair Wallis


Alistair Wallis is an Australian based freelance journalist, and games industry enthusiast. He is a regular contributor to Gamasutra.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like