Part 55: Bonus ChapterBonus:
Video of Jack
Interview with game author Raymond Benson
You ask a lot of questions that I simply don't remember the answers to... we're talking about work I did 13 years ago. While I remember the gist of the story, I don't remember a lot of the details, especially since I haven't played the game since the mid-90s. But I'll try...
> Cyberdreams, as a company, had a lot of interesting takes on the adventure
> game genre - specifically having H.R. Giger's art in the Darkseed games and
> hiring Harland Ellison for their next game, "I Have No Mouth And I Must
> Scream!" What was it like to work with them?
I wasn't an employee of Cyberdreams. In 1993, I was working for MicroProse and they laid off 1/2 the company because of financial woes. I was one of the casualties. David Mullich, the producer of the Dark Seed games, phoned me on the recommendation of a friend, and asked if I'd be interested in writing/designing the sequel to Dark Seed. Since I was out of work, I jumped at the chance. I worked for 3 months out of my home and basically wrote the script, puzzles, dialogue... everything the Cyberdreams team needed to create the game. I only dealt with David Mullich, who was a great guy to work with.
> The original Mike Dawson - who wrote, designed, and starred in the first
> Darkseed - isn't credited in Darkseed 2. Did he have any input on the
> game's creation? Did he have any opinion on how his character was portrayed
> in Darkseed 2?
If I remember correctly, he was no longer working at Cyberdreams. But the company owned the character.
> How involved was H.R. Giger in the game's development? It seems like he did
> more work than simply licensing out his art. Did you work with him
> personally, and if so, how was he to work with?
David was the only person who dealt with Giger. I believe they licensed a bunch of his artwork and then the team cut and pasted it wherever they felt it was appropriate. I don't remember if Giger created anything special for the games.
> The big questions my friends and I have about the game - and the story -
> Well, first of all, according to all the walkthroughs, the "best" ending has
> Mike getting killed at the hands of Jack. Is this, in fact, the best ending
> the player can get? (If so, ballsy move!)
I seem to remember that this was the only ending. There was a glitch in the programming, though... you were supposed to be able to move Jack around after Mike was dead. In other words, instead of YOU being MIKE throughtout the game, after Mike is dead, then YOU are JACK.
> Now, the big question. Does Jack actually exist? Is he completely a
> manifestation of Mike's sick mind? Or is he an agent of the Ancients and
> the Dark World version of Mike?
Ahh, well, I'll never tell. It's supposed to be ambiguous. I was highly influenced by the work of David Lynch at the time, especially "Twin Peaks." In "Twin Peaks," did Laura Palmer's father really kill her, or was it a supernatural being known as "Bob"? Or was "Bob" really Leland Palmer? Same kind of thing. Lynch never tells us. You're supposed to make up your own mind about it, interpret it as you wish.
> Does the Dark World even exist, or is Mike just insane? If Mike's insane,
> how does that explain objects he gets from the Dark World affecting the real
> world? (Most notably, giving the ego massager to help Gargan the strongman
> - it appears that this is something from the Dark World that a character
> other than Mike sees in the Normal World.)
> The most disturbing - and in some ways, darkly hilarious - scene is meeting
> Mike's Mom in the Dark World. At the end of their conversation she says,
> "Here, Mike, this will explain everything." And then her head explodes.
> Was that scene added for shock value? Was it symbolic of something? Was it
> the Ancients trying to traumatize Mike?
Same answer. Really just part of the nightmare world that is the game.
> Of all the creatures in the Dark World, one that sticks out to me is the
> Behemoth. Besides being 3-D modeled for the final battle in the mirror
> maze, this appears to be a significant departure from the rest of Giger's
> artwork. Was the Behemoth also designed by Giger, or did you guys do that
This I don't remember.
> Here's a strange "puzzle" in the game. The clown in the front of the
> carnival is sick, and his medicine is in the cooler. There's an anvil on
> top of the cooler. One would think they had to make Gargan feel better so
> he can lift the anvil and you can get the medicine. However, the clown dies
> anyway. Was this puzzle scrapped or just a red herring? (Also, it's not a
> coincidence that the cooler in the Light World corresponds to the Behemoth's
> incubator in the Dark World, right?)
Again, I don't remember.
> Is it possible to enter the Dark World version of Rita's house? There seems
> to be a third biomechanoid (besides Ik and Uk) guarding it and no way around
> him. Was this part of the game that didn't make it into the final build?
I think there should be a Dark World version of Rita's house. I just don't remember. It's possible that it didn't make it.
> Why I can't I blow away the Sheriff with Mike's new biomechanical arm? ;)
Sorry, can't remember that either!
> Thanks so much, and I hope you and your family have a happy holiday!
There is a stategy guide to the game that was published by Prima books. Maybe this has some answers to your questions in it. I'm not at home right now-- I'm visiting family for the holidays, otherwise I'd look up the questions.