Matt Martin: What were you doing 15 years ago?
Lorne Lanning: In 1995 we were still madly trying to figure out how to burn CD’s without write failures due to trucks passing by outside. My, how the times do change.
Matt Martin: What were your favourite games on the original PlayStation?
Lorne Lanning: My two favourite games on the original PlayStation were Loaded and Driver. With Loaded, PSX had just come out and this updated mix of Smash TV meets guts out lunacy was completely addictive in two-player mode. It was also a cool production design with excellently executed lighting effects for the day.
Was one of the first times where the weapon lighting effects on the environment really had that visceral popping impact that firearms should have in simulation. We had a blast with that game and even referenced how they did a number of the light effects for how we would approach some of the effects in Abe’s Oddysee.
With Driver, this game had it going on way before most even tried to pull it off. The true genre predecessor to Grand Theft Auto, even though Grand Theft Auto never got a burnout button right like Driver did. Driver’s burnout button made all the difference in the world, and for the first time you actually felt like you were in high speed pursuits in an open city. That button gave you an entirely different level of control over the physics and fun factor just in raising havoc with your car.
The controls and physics of the cars in that game still supercede the feeling of most driving games today. They just nailed it for the day and it was amazing the degree of simulation that they were running that early on the PSX. It was absolutely my favourite game of the era, and also the first time I ever wrote a fan mail to a game company.
Matt Martin: Which titles would you say have been the most influential?
Lorne Lanning: I would have thought that Crash Bandicoot would have had the most impact, as it had such tremendous sales for the era, but in hindsight its interesting how little those genres are moving forward on consoles. Then there was the Final Fantasy games, which had enormous sales, yet they too did not tend to shape much into the future. So I’d have to say it was probably Tomb Raider that had the most impact on games going forward. How many games have we seen and still see that are taking the format of the genre seriously.
At the time, it was the best looking real-time environments in a game and the blend of story, action, and adventure has only taken off all the more since then. I’d have to say it was Tomb Raider that had the most influence on games to come.
Mate Martin: What has been the legacy of the original PlayStation?
Lorne Lanning: It was the first real viable CD-ROM based system that had enough horsepower to start ushering in those next-gen games. It was also a great system for playing around with bitmaps in a new way and the more memory enabled games like Oddworld to start being made with the graphics quality we were looking for. In many ways, I’d have to say that the true legacy of the PSX was that it did shine the light on the next generation of 3D gaming possibilities for consoles. It was a great system and its dev environment was more reasonable than its later incarnations.