Uplink: Hacker Elite

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1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you’re doing on Uplink ?

My name is Thomas Arundel, and I am the director of Introversion Software. We�re a five-man team, and at the moment, we�re teaming up with publishers around the world, to localize and distribute Uplink. We�re also releasing a Mac version of Uplink, and we�re working on a Pocket PC version too.

2. Tell us a bit about what company Introversion Software is

Well, we�re small J and based in London. We�re a developer/publisher in the UK, and a developer in other territories. Our developer, Chris, is not really into writing sequels, and prefers to spend his time developing new gaming concepts. Introversion is working on two original top-secret games at the moment, the first of which we�ll release in the beginning of 2004. We�re a fun company, and always up for a laugh/pint (of beer)!

3. Where did the idea come from to create a game where players will have to be hackers ?

The inspiration behind Uplink came mostly from �hacker� films, like Wargames, Sneakers, and Swordfish. We all have an interest in computer security, and Chris had the skills to turn Hollywood�s concept of hacking, into a game.

4. How is the game set up ? What can players expect from Uplink ?

Our attempts to make hacking very graphical, Johnny Mnemonic style, didn�t work out too well, so we decided to cut back on the graphics and concentrate on the game-play. You, the player, assume the role of an elite computer criminal, and Uplink simulates what the character you play would see on his/her screen. Don�t expect ground breaking graphics, but keep your ear tuned to a great soundtrack, and your mouse ready for some really intense game-play. There�s a good plot, loads of hidden extras, and the free-form game-play lets you pick missions as you choose.

5. What problems occured during development and which were the toughest decisions that had to be made ?

Well besides the false starts with our attempts to �fly around� the computer, that we mentioned above, development was pretty smooth. Chris developed the game at night, mostly while at university, and it wasn�t until a bit later that Mark and I decided to help him sell it. Consequently development only cost 252 cans of Red Bull, and 15 big jars of Nescafe. This means that we didn�t have any of the difficult decisions that commercial developers have; we didn�t worry about whether it would sell � we were writing Uplink for the love of gaming.

6. Any funny quotes on things that happened during development which you want to share with our audience ? 

Well, Mark and I would often roll in to our student flat at about 4 or 5 am after a night clubbing, to find Chris feverishly writing away. There were definitely some funny conversations, but oddly enough Mark and I tended to forget about them the next morning�

7. If you take a look back, would you have done anything differently ?

I don�t think so. We�ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to put Uplink into the UK ourselves, and also to team up with prestigious publishers like Strategy First. I also like to think that we�ve used our profits wisely, except of course for our 8 days in LA at 2002�s E3. Still, if you can�t spend your money on fast cars, yachts, and women then what use is it? 🙂

8. What’s next ?

We�ve got a Mac version of the game coming out in the next couple of months, and a Pocket PC version later this year. We�re working on two new games, the first of which we�re hoping to release early in 2004. Details have to remain top secret that the moment, but it�s another strategy game that is likely to appeal to a much wider audience.

Till then,