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Behind the Classics: MediEvil

Fred Dutton's Avatar + Posted by Fred Dutton on Sep 07, 2012 // SCEE Blog Manager

MediEvil for PSone

The second entry in our Behind the Classics series is a real lost gem – SCE Cambridge Studios’ wild, wacky supernatural adventure MediEvil. First released on PSone back in 1998, it put you in the shoes of Sir Daniel Fortesque – an undead knight unwittingly reanimated by the evil sorcerer Zarok who embarks on a quest to liberate the kingdom of Gallowmere.

A sequel followed in 2000, with a PSP remake also popping up on PSP in 2005, however, it’s the original game that remains most embedded in the memory. With Sir Dan soon to enjoy a comeback of sorts as a playable character in PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale, we sat down with original designer Chris Sorrell to find out more about the game’s development.

PlayStation.Blog: What was the original concept for the game? Did you draw inspiration from anywhere in particular for the game’s look and feel?
Chris Sorrell, Game Designer, MediEvil: The first design proposal for the game had the working title ‘Dead Man Dan’ and described a game that was a fusion of Capcom’s Ghouls’n Ghosts with the art style of Tim Burton – especially the look and feel of The Nightmare Before Christmas. In both cases these were things that I was a huge fan of back in the mid ‘90s. Lead artist Jason Wilson shared my interest in dark, gothic influenced artwork and we worked together to define the look and feel of the game.

PSB: It was an ambitious title for its time – what were your biggest challenges in realising that original vision?
CS: MediEvil presented a real mountain of challenges. The game started life as a project of a small, cash-strapped independent developer – Millennium Interactive. In addition to bringing together a brand new team – none of whom had really made a 3D game of this scale before – we were in ‘sell’ mode almost from day one, with the future of the studio riding on our ability to attract a major publishing deal as quickly as possible. We were initially working on multiple platforms including Windows and Sega Saturn as well as PlayStation before we finally had the chance to demo the game for Sony. Thankfully that was probably our best pitch ever: SCEE had some really inspiring people in management, they loved MediEvil, and within a few weeks we were signed to make an exclusive PlayStation game. In a few more months we became Sony’s second studio in the UK.

Of course another layer of challenge came from the fact that, like most other developers at that time, we were still feeling our way with 3D. Things like camera and character control presented a lot of interesting new challenges and required us to try out a number of approaches before we settled on solutions that seemed to work.

MediEvil for PSoneMediEvil for PSone

PSB: How close to your original concept was the finished game?
CS: Actually really close. Over the course of development the game became less arcadey and a little more of an adventure – which, being a huge Zelda fan, I was very pleased about. As for the game’s look, I think that was extremely true to our initial goals as you can see if you track down some of the concept art that’s out there on the internet.

PSB: Which element of the game are you most proud of, and which element, if any, do you feel fell short?
CS: At the time I might have said I was most proud of how our team pulled together to finish the game without compromising on the quirky attention to detail or scope of the game. Looking back now, I guess I feel most proud of the fact that we managed to create a game which – and I believe this is down to the game’s personality and charm – a lot of people still seem to remember. As a developer, it’s a real privilege to be told that your game brings back fond childhood memories for someone and that seems to happen quite often with MediEvil.

Where do I feel we fell short? Well I would have liked to travel a little further down that ‘Zelda’ path – I think a genuine, deep adventure set in the MediEvil world could have been something quite special. The game was also supposed to feature Morten the Earthworm – who lived in Dan’s empty eye socket. Alas, he didn’t make the cut.

MediEvil for PSoneMediEvil for PSone

PSB: What do you see as the game’s legacy? How would you like it remembered?
CS: Certainly I think we were one of the first games to capture that Tim Burton vibe and I think there may have been a few spooky themed action games that followed MediEvil where the developers probably looked at what we had done. [2002 Capcom fantasy adventure] Maximo springs to mind. I’d be quite happy if people remembered MediEvil as ‘that game with the weird, grunting skeleton dude with one eye and no lower jaw who throws his own arm like a boomerang’.

PSB: A PSP version came out in 2005, but the series has been largely dormant since. Do you ever think about where you might have taken the franchise?
CS: I’d certainly love to work with Sir Dan one more time and I have lots of ideas that I think would make for a great new MediEvil game. Sadly I think it’s an unlikely prospect since I no longer work for Sony, not to mention how times have changed in the years since Dan first left his crypt.

More Behind the Classics

  • Behind the Classics – Jak & Daxter
  • Behind The Classics – Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee
  • Behind the Classics – Soul Reaver
  • Behind the Classics – Syphon Filter
  • //Add Your Own

    48 Comments

    1

    + Sharingan_itachi on September 7th, 2012 at 7:06 am said:

    when i play it on vita


    2

    + EVL_Ripper on September 7th, 2012 at 7:24 am said:

    Wonderful game, I got it the year it came out for Christmas, I didn’t ask for it, it was an impulse buy from my parents and surprised me how great the game was. We need a PS3 update Sony!


    3

    + IzoGray on September 7th, 2012 at 7:28 am said:

    Medievil Vita coming soon right?


    4

    + johnnyp70 on September 7th, 2012 at 7:37 am said:

    @ #3 If you download the game to your PS3 you can transfer it to the Vita.


    5

    + Faenix1 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:02 am said:

    Interesting, I would love to see a new Medievil game. Could be a $20 PSN game with a platinum, for all I care.


    6

    + Faenix1 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:02 am said:

    Lol I also remember back then, I got stuck on a part and.. since I was young.. had to get my mother to phone the PS help line (or whatever i was called) cause I was legit stuck.. good times. XD


    7

    + TwinDad on September 7th, 2012 at 8:02 am said:

    Great Interview and feature.

    @Johnnyp70

    That doesn’t count. I know that the Vita was heavily marketed to owners of the PS3, however when you sell a device that is marketed with it’s own store. If that item is not available in the store you have failed.


    8

    + deltakong on September 7th, 2012 at 8:03 am said:

    now’s the perfect time for a sequel!


    9

    + Nick930930 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:12 am said:

    Words can not describe how much I loved this game when I was little. I didn’t even own it… I kept stealing it from my older brother and played the pizza hut demo over and over again. Such a unique, fun, and excellent game.


    10

    + Heavenly_king on September 7th, 2012 at 8:28 am said:

    a Reboot for the PSVITA would be nice XD


    11

    + Xcaligamer1 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:31 am said:

    need 1 for ps stat


    12

    + SnoochyBoochiez on September 7th, 2012 at 8:34 am said:

    wow was just thinking about getting this ps game with my 6 bucks credit from PSN Play, problem is it’s not September 7th and I STILL haven’t received the extra credit for things I bought weeks ago.


    13

    + SnoochyBoochiez on September 7th, 2012 at 8:35 am said:

    now September 7th** lol


    14

    + agent1159 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:45 am said:

    pretty much the one game i got a used ps2 and new psp for to play again. (and now ps3 and vita to enjoy it on) loved playing it when it came out…and still do


    15

    + johnnyp70 on September 7th, 2012 at 8:56 am said:

    @ #7

    I was just saying that #3 could get it. Seemed like that was all they were looking for, to play the game. I wasn’t trying to be a jerk or anything like that. Get over yourself.


    16

    + xaos on September 7th, 2012 at 9:01 am said:

    Love love loved this game; I actually just recently replayed through the PSP revamp on my Vita and it still holds up wonderfully.

    Given the dark fantasy influence, I’m guessing that there was some overlap between Medievil folks and the team behind Primal?


    17

    + MarinoBrea on September 7th, 2012 at 9:08 am said:

    Very nice feature. Next one: “Behind the Classics: Crash Bandicoot” ;)


    18

    + onslaughtree on September 7th, 2012 at 9:10 am said:

    @7…Im still calling BS on this one. Most Vita owners are supposed to already own a Ps3. 6 years later and you still do not own a ps3 ??? Im not buying that at all…You guys are just here to complain. so you telling me you just happen to like the Vita launch line-up and went out and bought one ??!!..or , you have a ps3 but its ( at this very moment) Broken ??!! or wait, here is the best one. you own a 360+wii+3DS and you at least want 1 sony product, so you purchased a Vuta ????. C’MON man, stop it. give sony some props for getting ps1 games available for their Vita in the 1st place.


    19

    + Neil on September 7th, 2012 at 9:33 am said:

    Yes a new HD PSN version would be great!


    20

    + Apeman24 on September 7th, 2012 at 9:34 am said:

    Cool PS blog series bro. Keep em coming. It kind of sounds like you guys are trying to revive the franchise.


    21

    + remanutd5 on September 7th, 2012 at 9:40 am said:

    One of my 3 favorite sony franchises ever, i grew up playing MediEvil, love the franchise and it would be beyond amazing to see it coming to the psvita, ps3 or ps4.

    I love to see Sir Daniel on playstation all stars battle royale and thats the reason im getting the game, well i wanted to see Nariko too.


    22

    + guitarded77 on September 7th, 2012 at 9:46 am said:

    PS One Classics are great and all, but why not update the controls to use the joy sticks and alternate button configurations? Why not add trophies to these classics? I understand limitations on the visual quality, but controls and trophies are easier fixes to make the games relevant in today’s gaming world. I’ve been gaming since the beginning of gaming itself, I am also a computer scientist (programming), so I understand that straight porting is the cheapest way to make a quick buck, but giving us something worth purchasing a second time is better for us gamers. I understand not all PS One games are really worth investing the extra time and money into, but the best PS One games would sell enough to justify such an investment.


    23

    + CZ4200 on September 7th, 2012 at 9:56 am said:

    id buy a new Medievil game for the vita


    24

    + PrinceofXIII on September 7th, 2012 at 10:18 am said:

    please put Medievil 2 on PSN!!!!!!!!!

    it’s the only game along with Tomba 2 that’s missing it’s sequels!!!!!!

    come on Sony you own this IP, you can do it in an instant


    25

    + cosmis_chaos on September 7th, 2012 at 10:37 am said:

    We definitely need a new Medievil. A Medievil with updated graphics, camera angles with the PS3′s power behind it would rock


    26

    + DelMurice on September 7th, 2012 at 10:40 am said:

    I remember the TV commercials for it, and I bought my first Playstation just so I can play it.


    27

    + DeathKidd on September 7th, 2012 at 10:44 am said:

    @onslaughtree What is this “supposed” to?

    If you bought a product, you are “supposed” to get support for what the gaming device you just got.

    I understand that you want to protect Sony, I don’t know why as I am sure they don’t need your help only your money, but the one person who is supposed to be winning is the consumer.

    I am thankful that they added more PS1 classics and hope the support keeps coming but come on, the price on old PSP games are ridiculously high, and since the Vita can play PS1 classics I expect it to play the newer ones too.


    28

    + IIL0YDII on September 7th, 2012 at 10:53 am said:

    Medievil 2 to PSN please,actually wondering why its still not there.


    29

    + AizawaYuuichi on September 7th, 2012 at 11:05 am said:

    Man, I loved this game as a kid. If Sony were to somehow pull a new Medievil game out of thin air for a current console, I’d be all over it. Preferably a $20-30 Vita title, or a $20 downloadable PSN game. That would be awesome!


    30

    + D-Squad3 on September 7th, 2012 at 11:20 am said:

    Here comes a new challenger!


    31

    + Blkant on September 7th, 2012 at 11:58 am said:

    Easily one of if not my favorite game of all time. It was really on a whim that I got it but it became somewhat of a tradition to play it all the way through every Fall. The atmosphere, sound, enemies and Dan himself; everything just seemed to pull me into the game. It was the first time a game actually made me mentally tune into the world, either from just sitting around in the hall of heroes listening to the guitar and the chatter, or taking a few extra strolls around the Sleeping Village, the game went beyond just playing for the goals but felt more like exploring an actual world, no matter how small the levels actually were. I waited for a sequel forever, however I don’t feel the PSP version matched the mood or style right.

    It is a real shame that we might not see another. The idea of an open world Medievil or a more Zelda like Medievil makes it all the more upsetting, as the ability to explore Gallowmere further is one of the best thoughts that could come to mind for any game, as there is so much to see even within the original. There is no other classic game that I’d rather see continue more than Medievil, and I thank the original creators for making such a significant part of my childhood with a game. :)


    32

    + xaos on September 7th, 2012 at 12:09 pm said:

    @Fred As an aside, I’d love to see a behind the classics on my beloved but seemingly forgotten Colony Wars franchise from the PS1 era :)


    33

    + onslaughtree on September 7th, 2012 at 4:40 pm said:

    @22, currently as with the psp/pspGo, to change the button config, all you must do is go to the game options/ select controls and you can select a number of selected controls. I currently use full screen + Analog stick on all of my ps1 games when playing on my Vita….On the Vita, press on the screen for a few seconds and the ps1 options will pop up. …Keep On Gaming.


    34

    + R_a_z_i_e_l on September 7th, 2012 at 6:07 pm said:

    For the love of God Sony give that man money to make another !!!!!!


    35

    + ultimatepunchrod on September 7th, 2012 at 6:22 pm said:

    Awesome interview! I really love Medievil. I’m actually replaying it on PSV right now along with a few others. I’d love a new Medievil game, but I would also love Medievil 2 as a PS1 classic. Anyway, Medievil is awesome!!!


    36

    + JuggaloMars on September 7th, 2012 at 7:07 pm said:

    I would love to see an interview with the mind behind the Sly Cooper franchise. Love this blog series so far.


    37

    + gameman15 on September 7th, 2012 at 7:50 pm said:

    I remember playing the demo to this game when I was a kid. Haven’t played or owned the actual game but I will sometime in the future and add it to my PS1 game collection along with other classics like Spyro the Dragon, Fighting Force, and Die Hard Trilogy.


    38

    + DarkOne_PR on September 7th, 2012 at 8:54 pm said:

    SONY!!! THE GUY ITS TOTALLY SAYING HE WANT TO WORK AGAIN ON IT! MAKE IT!!!!!!!! A NEW MEDIEVIL FOR PS3/PSVita!!!! MAKE IT HAPPEN SONY! U HAVE A LOT OF FREAKING DORMANT FRANCHISES! REVIVE THEM LIKE SIR DANIEL!

    TOMBA, MediEvil, Legend of dragoon, Croc and others… jeez….I know some franchises are better let be in the past but some like this one have more sense than ever!


    39

    + df2506 on September 7th, 2012 at 9:52 pm said:

    Really liking this ‘behind the classics’ feature.

    Medievil was a fun game. Nice to see Sir Dan included in All Stars. And yes it would be awesome to see a PS3 remake or sequel of Medievil.

    And ditto @DarkOne_PR’s thought of a Legend of Dragon sequel.

    Oh and really hope you guys will do a Legend of Dragoon behind the classics! Would love to read about that one.

    Also: Final Fantasy 7 & the first Burnout would be awesome. :)


    40

    + WastelandDan on September 7th, 2012 at 10:29 pm said:

    I herby proclaim my enjoyment of this post AND my opinion that I would love to see this continued.

    Behind the Classics ftw :3


    41

    + xxnike629xx on September 8th, 2012 at 5:44 am said:

    I’ve been thinking about getting the PSP remake.
    I really hope that Sony can remake the sequel on the PSP.


    42

    + Elvick_ on September 8th, 2012 at 7:04 am said:

    Bring the second one to the store please. :/


    43

    + papanikolaou on September 8th, 2012 at 1:13 pm said:

    i think that if you will make a new medievil game it would be nice for the fans..at least an HD edition..:)


    44

    + terminatorNG-24 on September 8th, 2012 at 1:59 pm said:

    friend me on psn terminatorNG-24


    45

    + Seanty575 on September 9th, 2012 at 4:42 am said:

    We need more PSOne classics still so many good games that aren’t on the PSN yet and would love to get them to play on my PS3…


    46

    + ericknie on September 9th, 2012 at 4:57 am said:

    I remember the last boss was tough


    47

    + ccrogers15 on September 9th, 2012 at 9:44 am said:

    May i ask why Medievil 2 is NOT in the PSone classics? It was wayyyyy better then the first and still missing from the collection. Seems odd that the first and remake are on PSN but not the second. Lol.


    48

    + ccrogers15 on September 9th, 2012 at 9:46 am said:

    Oh and please make a sequel to legend of dragoon.


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