Recently, I finally got around to e-mailing former Namco employee and Pac-Man World designer Scott Rogers to annoy him with pointless questions about Pac-Man World, Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness, Pinky's sexuality, and the great yellow one in general. He agreed to answer them for some reason, and thus, I am pleased to present:

The 1st Church Of Pac-Man Exclusive interview with Scott Rogers

1st Church of Pac-Man

Reverend -=ShoEboX=-: Greetings, o he who programs the Man who is Pac. I rejoice that I have the honor of talking to you, and I throw myself on the floor and tremble in your presence.

Scott Rogers: Please, no bowing and scraping. Just throw money. Just for clarification purposes, I didn't actually program Pac-Man World, we had a group of talented guys called "programmers" doing that. I was one of the DESIGNERS on the title, meaning my job was to create and impliment characters, environments, gameplay and storyline of the game. Basically, make the game fun.

RS:One of the other programmers thought us Pac-Fans thought of you as the -ONLY- guy responsible for the game, for some reason...I never did figure out why he thought this...

SR:If only my pay reflected that thinking! However, as many people know, Pac-Man World went through a revision before it became the game you know and love today. Only myself, one programmer and one artist were left from the original team of "Pac-Man: Ghost Zone" as the game was originally called. Maybe that's why he was confused!

RS: You were granted the honor of being one of the chosen few selected to bring the great round yellow one to the Playstation. How does this make you feel? Did you feel pressure to make this a worthy successor to the Game of Games, and do you feel you succeeded in doing so?

SR: It was pretty cool to work on Pac-Man World. The greatest thing about being involved with it was when we were showing it at E3, (the video game industry's trade show)EVERYONE had a Pac-Man story they wanted to share. About how the original Pac-Man was their favorite game, or how they stole quarters from their Mom to feed their Pac-Man habit or how they loved the cartoon from the 80's. Pac-Man is like an old friend and everyone got really excited about the game and it felt good to be a part of that.

As for the pressure to make PMW great? well, nobody sets out to make a bad game. :) The pressure came from retaining the flavor and feel of the original Pac-Man (eating dots, chasing ghosts) while transplanting the character into a fun 3D platform game. A lot of people don't know about or remember "Pac in Time" or "Pac-Land" or any of the other Pac-Man platform games that preceeded PMW, all they had in their collective memory was the original and Ms. Pac-Man. So, we had to live up to the original and that was a tough act to follow. However, I think in the end we were pretty successful.

RS:(GASP!) There are people that aren't familiar with all the Games of the Pac?!? We must bring the golden light to these infidels!

SR:Maybe Namco could release a "History of Pac-Man" collection for the Playstation 2...

RS:What parts of Pac-Man World did you work on?

SR: What didn't I work on? :) To me, being a game designer is having your hands in all aspects of the game. I created several of the new enemies and helped decided what worlds were in the game. I worked on many of the mechanics and gameplay controls. I helped come up with maze mode and the mazes in it. I wrote the cinematics, I designed several of the levels and bosses. I even have some artwork shown in the gallery!

If you want a list of the levels I made: Crazy Cannonade, HMS Windbag, All of the factory levels, All of the Mansion levels and designed gameplay for the Krome Keeper, Anubis Rex and Toc-Man boss rounds. Remember, I didn't do these alone. There was a great team of other designers, artists and programmers that did a lot of hard work!

RS:How long have you worked in this industry and what other game projects have you worked on?

SR:I've been working in the game industry since 1993. I've worked on Soul Blade, Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, ESPN National Hockey Night, Demolition Man, Izzy's Quest for the Olympic Rings, Xevious 3D and a whole lot of games that never got finished! Pac-Man World was the first game I worked on as a designer. Before that, I was doing art or writing storylines.

RS:I've gotten a lot of Pac-Man World questions from various sources, so I'm gonna throw some of them at you now to see if you can be more helpful than I was. First of all, we all know that Pinky has always been a rather confused ghost. But we've always been assured that he's male. The Pac-Man cartoon even gave him a really deep voice to compensate for his inherent pinkness. But now Pac-Man World appears to have made him a woman. What's the story behind this?

SR:That came from Namco Japan. According to all of their marketing material and model sheets, Pinky is Sue. I think it's because everyone remembers "Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde" from the original game and they wanted to harken back to the original game. Whenever people ask about this, I jokingly say that Pinky got a sex change operation and now he's Sue.

RS:And what's with the hearts that appear whenever Pinky/Sue chomps Pac-Man?

SR:The little hearts are supposed to be Pinky kissing Pac-Man when ever she collides with him! (She's secretly in love with Pac-Man, but since her touch is lethal to him, it is an unrequited love!)That was the great idea of Brian Leake, one of the programmers who did the ghosts! I thought it was a nice touch.

RS:Why are "Spin Dizzy" and "Anibus Rex" so damned hard, and do you have any tips for these?

SR:"Spin Dizzy" was designed by the other designer on PMW, my pal Hardy LeBel. All complaints and death threats can go to him! Actually, Hardy is one of the best designers I've worked with and Spin Dizzy is actually easier when you know to jump with the rotation of the spinning disks. It's probably because there are such long lengths between check points that everyone feels that Spin Dizzy is so hard.

As for Anubis Rex, there was a lot going on at the end of the project and Anubis Rex didn't get the design attention or final tuning that it needed. Looking back on it now, it is pretty tough. My best advice is not to panic when you play it!

RS:I always panic when the fate of Pac-Man is in my hands.

SR: (No response)

RS:As I mentioned in my review, the animated sequences in this game are phenomonally cool. But why were there so few of them? And could you explain the story of "Orson" the ghost? Most people don't even know he has a name.

SR:Thanks. Glad you liked them. The cinematic animation was done by a really talented company called "Metropolis." The reason why there are so few of them, is that old enemy of video game making, time and money. As for Orson, the original draft of the cinematics was based on the classic movie, "Citizen Kane." Orson is named after "Kane"'s director, Orson Welles.

In the first pass of the script, there were interviews with classic Namco characters like Dig Dug and Valkerie and they would fill us in about Pac-man and his 20 year history. In the background of all of these stories, you would learn the story Orson the little ghost. He and Pac-Man grew up together and as Pac-man got more famous, Orson would try to copy all his success, like being in a video game, cartoon series, breakfast cereal, etc. except they were all horrible failures. Orson got more and more jealous of Pac-Man. Realizing that he would never make it in the entertainment industry, he turned to manufacturing Pac-dots and made a fortune. He built this castle on Ghost Island and grew more and more obsessed with Pac-Man and paranoid, kind of like Howard Hughes did when he got old and twisted. At one point we even had Orson enormously fat and dressing up like Pac-Man and marrying an inflatable Ms. Pac-Man! Orson thought since everyone loved Pac-Man, then he would BECOME Pac-Man. Orson's big plan was to capture and replace Pac-Man and have a big "coming out" party so everyone would love him instead. The idea of Orson dressing up as Pac-man changed to Orson in a mechanical suit and that became Toc-Man. (which was my nod to Namcot, Namco's original name) I think I really just liked the visual of a little ghost in this big mechanical suit.

RS:Nifty!!! I've heard that the high priests of Namco forbade you to give Pac-Man a voice in this game. Far be it from me to question their sacred commandments, but what was their reasoning behind this? And why was Ms. Pac-Man allowed to talk?

SR:Pac-Man never had a voice because Japan couldn't decide what Pac-Man should sound like. Some wanted him to sound like a baby, others wanted him to sound like an adult and others didn't want him to talk at all. The last option was the easiest and most cost effective to animate, so it won out. Ms. Pac-Man talked because she had something important to say!

RS:Namely "Oooooh, if I had a power pellet..."

SR:Yeah, I liked that line. I always thought that Ms. Pac-Man should be the one the ghosts had to be careful of...

RS:If Pac-Man -COULD- talk in this game, what would he have said?

SR:Pac-Man does talk! He says "Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrghh!!" Actually, Pac-man was supposed to have a line at the end of the cinematic. When Orson says "It's not fair, everyone loves you and no one loves a ghost" Pac-Man says "I love you, Orson" and then eats him. When the decision to not have Pac-Man talk came down, I suggested Pac-Man say "wocka-wocka-wocka" and have his lines subtitled like Greedo in "Star Wars." Once again, time and money killed that idea.

RS: One of the friends that Pac-Man rescues in this game is Pooka from Dig Dug. However, Dig Dug BLOWS UP Pookas! This seems to mean that Dig Dug and Pac-Man are enemies. Is this true? And if so, is Dig Dug the antichrist?

SR:In Japan, Pooka is more popular than Dig-Dug. You can buy all types of Pooka toys there. I think Pooka and the Namco characters have kissed and made up, so even though Dig-Dug is still a good guy, Pooka is now a good guy too. Dig-Dug is my one of my favorite Namco characters and I hope that one day Namco gets around to making a new version of the game.

RS: If you read my review, you know Pac-Man World is one of my favorite platform games, despite how long it took me to beat Anibus Rex. What do you feel is the best part of the game?

SR:Glad you liked the game. My favorite part about PMW is that it is DONE! Actually, I really like the Funhouse levels, Creepy Catacombs and Cannonade (to toot my own horn) My favorite boss is either the King Galaxian or the Krome Keeper. Tommy Tallarico's music is good too. I listened to it for a year and a half a never got sick of it!

RS: What do you wish you could have accomplished in this game that you didn't?

SR:Just like any other game, there are always lots of things you wish were in but aren't because of time. There was a 3D version of the original Pac-Man maze that I built but for some reason it never got in. Compared to the other mazes, it was HUGE!

RS: Were you a follower of Pac-Man yourself before working on this project, or at least a fan?

SR:I wouldn't call myself a follower, but I had a healthy respect for Pac-Man and had played my fair share of it when I was a kid.

RS:Would you mind saying "Splendid Good Pac-Man Is Be?"

SR:"Splendid Good Pac-Man Is Be."

RS:Are there any easter eggs or secrets you'd like to reveal?

SR:If you beat the entire game you unlock an art gallery which features lots of pre-production artwork. That's pretty cool. Also there is the "Jackie Chan" outtakes video at the end if you find all of the bonus letters. And if you put the game disk in a CD player, you can listen to the music from the game!

RS:I figured out that one by myself!

SR:Good for you! I didn't know about it until the game came out!

RS:Do you know anything about the upcoming "Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness" game from Namco, and can you tell me anything about it without Namco hunting you down and beating you senseless with a frozen otter corpse?

SR:I worked on "Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness" for a little bit (before I left Namco) and there are a few of my mazes in there that (hopefully) will be in the final product. Plus I helped with the storyline. They've got some phenomenal artists working on it and it looked great when I left. It's going to be a cool little puzzle/maze game.

RS:It's a puzzle-ish game?

SR:I can't talk to much about it, but it has some puzzle-ly elements to it. But it's very true to the original Pac-formula of eating dots and chasing ghosts. If it turns out as good as it started, I think Ms. Pac-Man fans will really like it.

RS: Thank you for your time. May the ever-hungry sphere that is Pac-Man shine his golden light upon you as you travel through the maze of life.

SR: It's been my pleasure!

Scott Rogers is a game designer for Capcom, a former Namco employee, and one of the designers of Pac-Man World for the Sony Playstation.

Reverend -=ShoEboX=- is a large, frightening and obsessed individual who is currently under court order to stay away from chickens.

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