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Media Consumption: Splash Damage's Neil Postlethwaite (Enemy Territory: Quake Wars)

Our latest 'Media Consumption' chats to Neil Postlethwaite, MD at UK developer Splash Damage and producer of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, talking about progress on the much-awaited title alongside his top sounds, movies, words, and games - true ide
For this week’s Media Consumption, a column that looks at the media and art diets of our favourite industry personalities, we spoke to Neil Postlethwaite, Managing Director at Splash Damage and producer of the studio’s upcoming PC title Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. While a date hasn’t yet been set for the game, a mid-Summer release is reputedly likely. The company is currently “focusing on performance and Beta testing”, with Postlethwaite noting that “so far, the reaction from the community has been really positive, and it's a real boost for the guys in the office when they can join a server and see people playing the game and really getting into it”. “We've had internal ET:QW playtests here at Splash Damage and at id Software and Activision for a couple of years now but it's only when the community get their hands on it that you can balance and tweak,” he comments. “This is no small undertaking - ET:QW's asymmetrical teams mean a lot more fun, but a lot more work.” Also slated for release are Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game, and while these are being developed by Nerve Software and Z-Axis respectively, Postlethwaite says that Splash Damage will be getting its “Xbox 360 and PS3 feet wet helping out” wherever possible. Beyond that, he notes that the company will not be “moving immediately onto the next game”, but will be spending some time “watching Enemy Territory: Quake Wars at release, and preparing for patches and additional content”. We spoke to Postlethwaite recently, and asked about the Stroyent in his Stroggified media diet of late. Sounds: "If I'm on my own, I'm listening to music - and have several iPods as a result. When they announce the iImplant, I'll probably be an early adopter. For new music I rely on Xfm in London, Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2 and Colin Murray on BBC Radio 1. I stopped buying physical CDs last year because I didn't like the piles of boxes littering my house, and now I tend to buy single tracks from iTunes rather than albums. Life by iPod is a lot smaller, but ruled by battery life. The last few years has seen my music tastes extend along with my del.icio.us bookmarks. I've picked up a lot of music of late because of recommendations on blogs I frequent, for example, Warren Ellis’. With digital stores allowing for more interactive 'shopfronts', music that doesn't normally get Top 40 shelf space in record shops gets an airing, which probably explains why my iPod genres menu is so long. Last five tracks played were from Tilly and the Wall, Faithless, Seth Lakeman, Mull Historical Society and Arctic Monkeys. Once Enemy Territory: Quake Wars has hit the shelves, I plan on going to more live music - Splash Damage is just down the train line from Central London and most bands end up there at some point." Moving Pictures: "I'm old fashioned when it comes to films, I still like my movies at the cinema. It's the shared experience, the atmosphere, and the fact that I can turn my phone off without guilt! I try to go as often as possible, even if it means watching something that will never appear in any list like this. (cough X-Men 3 cough, cough Ultraviolet cough) A favorite film is difficult to pin down, as it really depends on my mood. The first time I saw Heat, I was hiding from a hangover in a bright shopping mall - I still enjoy it. Found myself re-watching old Hitchcock last year, and despite a lot of the imagery having been replicated in modern cinema, none of it comes close to the originals. Children of Men was breathtaking; one of those futureshock films that struck a chord and kept me thrilled until the bittersweet end. The last film I saw and got a kick out of was Sunshine, Danny Boyle's space thriller. I've been really impressed with the variety of his films from Shallow Grave and Trainspotting to 28 Days Later. I didn't stop laughing through Hot Fuzz: any film with shotgun-wielding grannies and a swan in a starring role has got to be respected. Just to put some rumors to rest: any resemblance between the swan and Splash Damage's David Edwards are purely coincidental." Words: "Fictionwise, I consistently enjoy the Powers series by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Avon Oeming: police detectives working superpower related crimes with a mature edge. Anything Warren Ellis writes I'm generally there; Transmetropolitan (with Darick Robertson on art) and Planetary (with John Cassaday) are both examples of comics doing stuff that most people don't realize they can. And his short-form Fell series should be picked up by everyone. I read jPod by Douglas Coupland, and it made me re-read Microserfs. I'd recommend the latter. I have The Baroque Cycle by Neal Stevenson - 1800-odd pages of 17th century sci-fi ready for when we're done with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. I loved The Diamond Age, his earlier novel of Victorian society fused with cyberpunk. I'm currently doing my annual read of David Allen's Getting Things Done, a guide to “stress free productivity”. Although I wouldn't say I follow the system religiously, it does help when I'm juggling 50 active tasks and tracking another 100 across the office. Also currently reading up on SCRUM and Agile task management and looking ahead to whatever's next. I spend a fair bit of time on lifehack sites and blogs; I'm generally interested in anything that makes people work better (rather than more) – 43 Folders can be blamed for my GTD fixation." Games: "Most of my gaming time is taken up with Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, either in the daily office playtests, or the Closed Beta. The last game I played properly was Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii. The Wii has been a breath of fresh air, hopefully there won't be a drought of major releases - since launch nothing has really taken my fancy. Other than that it's been brief snippets here and there, which the Nintendo DS is ideal for. Advance Wars: Dual Strike is still fun, and Elite Beat Agents is good for a train ride to work. We find occasional time of an evening for a game of Quake 3 Capture the Flag in the office. Mark Fry, one of our Lead Level Designers created Team Arena maps back in his misspent youth, and our favorite breaktime maps are from his Warped Space pack. I've collected a shelf of games for when we're done. So far, World of Warcraft has been a potentially life damaging threat. However 8 million gamers can't be wrong, so I've The Burning Crusade to take part in. Also Company of Heroes - I haven't heard a negative comment about it."

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