Finishing up this original series talking to game developers about the games that inspired them, we follow up High Moon's Clinton Keith by chatting to Eidos Chief Technical Officer Julien Merceron.
Obviously, Merceron now oversees technical matters for the House Of Lara Croft, but he started out programming titles like Super Burnout on the Atari Jaguar (!), and was a long-time Ubisoft veteran, helping to program the original Rayman and working on R&D strategy for the French company.
So what game particularly made him believe that the medium had ascended to a higher level? Read on...[Warning, mild spoilers for ancient game lay ahead, if you really haven't played Final Fantasy VII yet.]
What was the video game you were inspired by the most?
I think the one that really shown me the wide potential of this media & art form is Square Enix's Final Fantasy VII. It was both showing how far we are from where this industry will take us, and showing some components that will become crucial in the future: storyline, characters, emotions, collaborative & team experience, and plurality of activities & roles for the player in a game.
When and where did you play it?
I played it at home in Paris. I started the game on PlayStation one evening when everybody was asleep around me, and - listening to the music on the Menu screen - I knew it was about to start a unique experience.
How did it make you feel?
Involved. Involved in something bigger than anything before.
How did it influence your future game making?
I've always tried to think about emotions and 'memorable moments in games' after that point. I have such clear pictures in my head of some of my key moments in this game (Aeris' death, the first combat alongside Sephiroth, Red XIII and his father, the first evening with Tifa, Cait Sith from friend to traitor to friend, etc.).
Aeris' death can be seen anywhere now - it has transcended the status of a game-specific 'memorable moment', all the way to an industry-wide 'memorable moment'... a new birth.