Meet Nick Suttner, the Author of our Shadow of the Colossus Book
First, a little housekeeping. Bible Adventures officially drops March 30, but we will be putting it out in the mail sooner than that. So if you've moved and you need to change your mailing address, just log in to Kickstarter and go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/backings Find Boss Fight, click on the area under the “Reward” column, and change your address.
Now... I'm excited to announce that we've got our author for Shadow of the Colossus. It's Nick Suttner! Some of you may already be familiar with his work. Nick worked as a games journalist for EGM and 1UP, and now at Sony he works with lots of indie developers who want to bring their games to PS4.
Nick wrote a truly solid pitch during our reading period, full of heart and sharp observations, and he's also spent more time thinking about this game than almost anyone: He's written about it, podcasted about it, and even interviewed Ueda a few years ago. I met him in person for the first time this week and his beard was magnificent.
Below are five questions for Nick, but first: a new cover from Ken Baumann, adapted from a photo taken by Suttner himself:
Boss Fight: Why do you think so many of our Kickstarter backers decided that Shadow of the Colossus would make a good subject for a book? Or, more simply, what's so special about SotC?
Nick Suttner: I was one of those backers who wrote in my vote for SotC, so it’s definitely something I wanted to see happen even before I knew I had a shot at writing it! For me, it’s by far my favorite game, and has hugely influenced my personal aesthetic, my career in games, and my life really. More broadly, as to why it would be chosen for something like this, I think it speaks to both the uniqueness of the game, even 10 years later, as well as its influence, which has only grown over time both across games and other art and media. It’s a game that trusts its players implicitly, giving them both gargantuan mechanical challenges to puzzle out, and a small but stirring story – neither with much guidance. It’s also a very focused experience, without the bells and whistles, and rounded edges, that many gamers are used to; as a result, it tends to make its mark regardless of how you feel about that.
You got to interview creator Fumito Ueda for 1UP.com some years ago. Could you tell us a little about what that process was like?
We had just finished a podcast series on SotC, part of our 1UP FM Backlog, a retrospective look back at the game where a group of editors and our listeners played through it over the course of four episodes, discussing our experiences along the way. We had tons of lingering questions, so I sent the best ones over to Sony PR with a tall request to bend Ueda’s ear, and to their credit they came through, answers appearing in my inbox a few weeks later. At the time, while I was thrilled with the responses, I also felt like something was a bit lost in translation, but reading it back now it actually compliments the mystery of the game, while providing some great authorial insight.
When Braid was released, you were one of the first game critics to really get behind it, giving it a perfect A+. Are there any brilliant games that have come out in the last couple of years that you think have not yet gotten their due?
Ooooh man, how much time do we have? Well, firstly, can we agree that it’s pretty funny in retrospect that there was so much uproar over Braid’s $15 price, and a couple of perfect review scores? It’s one of the greatest games ever! (And probably deserves a book at some point, hint hint.) As for underappreciated games (and some of these are developers I’ve worked with, so fair warning): Proteus, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, Botanicula, Dyad, Closure, Hohokum, The Swapper, Ibb & Obb, From Dust...not necessarily all an A+, but different and interesting in ways that make me wish everyone would try them.
There are many ways to write about a video game. What approach do you think SotC calls for?
That’s a great question, and one that I’m still figuring out in part as I go. I think more than some games, SotC as a subject is less about the culture and circumstances around the game, and more of a deep dive into the game itself. Every colossus is a wildly different study of its own, to say nothing of the other surrounding elements. I’m also really interested in its influence on other designers, so I’m planning to chat to a few and hope to work some of that discussion into the book.
Ueda said that his favorite colossus was the first one. What's yours?
This is like making me choose a favorite from my 16 adopted children! I don’t know how Ueda does it so easily. I probably have the fondest memories of the third one, the towering anthropomorphic giant holding a sword, atop a pedestal in a lake. I love the setting, and the sense of scale he communicates, feeling tiny as you run up his sword, or watching your horse pacing on the shore far below as you cling to his head. I also think often of the eleventh colossus, the smaller lion-like one at the bottom of a canyon; it’s just a very different sort of fight from the others in several ways, and plays with a lot of expectations that you’ve built up to that point.
Thanks for reading, everybody! You can read more and pre-order Shadow of the Colossus here. And writers, get in touch if you want to look at an early digital galley of Bible Adventures.
Gabe Durham * Boss Fight Books