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Stuart Black On Bodycount & Enemy Front: "What The Hell Am I Doing Wrong?"

Jonathan Lester
Bodycount, Codemasters, Indie Games, Stuart Black

Stuart Black On Bodycount & Enemy Front: "What The Hell Am I Doing Wrong?"

Prototypes New Sci-Fi Adventure For Steam

Stuart Black, the appropriately-named designer responsible for brutal last-gen FPS Black, has struggled to find purchase over the last few years. After leaving Codemasters halfway through developing Bodycount and then being dropped from City Interactive's Enemy Front this summer, you'd forgive him for wondering what exactly he's doing wrong... and also forgive him for being sick and tired of AA publishers.

Brilliantly he's now decided to go down the indie and "bedroom" route, prototyping a new "hard sci-fi" action adventure for Steam.

"From a personal point of view, you really do start to question 'what the hell am I doing wrong?' Black explained to GI.biz when quizzed about his relationship with Codemasters and City Interactive. "You don't get this unlucky all the time, I have to be doing something."

"All I care about is making games. I really just want to make a really fucking cool game."

Stuart left Codemasters a full year before his bombastic FPS Bodycount released, leading to a confused and directionless title that failed to garner more than apathetic reviews. His heart simply wasn't in the right place, since he'd actually signed up to the British publisher to work on a very different project.

“When I joined Codemasters I didn’t do it to make Bodycount, I went there to make an open world cop game,” he continued. “I did about a year and a half pre-production before that became a little bit too rich for their blood. It wasn’t my life ambition to make another shooter after Black, but it was something we could do relatively easily.”

Black was recently made redundant from City Interactive, who dropped him from the upcoming Enemy Front FPS. According to the irate designer, this was down to conflicts over the direction of the game, which Black originally intended to be a rollicking "rock & roll" shooter rather than a reverential

"I don’t really have an answer for why, nobody ever really talked to me about any problems either with how I work, the quality of the work that was being done. It was kind of the opposite, everybody was really happy with the work.”

“The only thing that I can think is that when I was off doing my thing in the States telling people there’s going to be a Dirty Dozen, Where Eagles Dare kind of vibe to the game rather than the Saving Private Ryan reverential vibe, and actually they were going ‘no, we actually want Private Ryan.’”

With these two high-profile departures and a mediocre shooter hanging over him, Black has come out swinging with a commitment to indie and "bedroom" development. Moving to Guildford, one of the UK's game development hotspots, he's free to work on an exciting new project.

"I'm prototyping a game for potential release through Steam. A third person action/adventure thing about survival and creation in a fairly hard sci-fi context. Planning to have something to show in the new year. And I'm looking at a cute iPad/iPhone idea that Leading Light have."

Naturally, we're looking forward to seeing what comes out of the new venture, and wish him the best of luck.

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