As a teenager, Amy Hennig, who was born on August 19, 1964, falls in love with the topics that will shape her life for many years to come: Starwars, AtariConsoles as well as that Pen & PapeR role play Advanced dungeons & dragons. After leaving school, Hennig attended the renowned University of California in Berkeley and studied English literature there. With your degree in your pocket, you can go straight to San Francisco State University. Focus: film theory and production. But the Bay Area was an expensive place even then. In order to earn a little extra while studying, Hennig therefore works in her free time as a freelance artist for the game developer Epyx Computer Software.

Her first project: She should be the Atari LynxAction game Adapt electrocop for the Atari 7800. "The versions were not related to each other, they just had the same name," Hennig recalls in one Interview with the US magazine Game Informer. "Ultimately, it was a terrible robocop rip-off. We tried to push the limits of the technology, but shortly from the end of the 7800's life cycle." Hennig is making very good progress, and a practically finished version will still be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in 1990. However, the side-scrolling action game does not reach market maturity: Atari almost wrote off the 7800 at that time and pulled the plug shortly before the title was released.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/desert-strike-return-to-the-gulf-genesis-screenshot-pc-games.png" alt = "Quick out from the bunker: Various cutscenes from the mega-drive shoot'em-up Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (1992) were created by Hennig, who was then employed by EA as an artist.
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Get out of the bunker quickly: Various cutscenes from the mega-drive shoot'em-up Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (1992) are attributed to Hennig, who was then employed by EA as an artist.

Source: Moby Games





First Electronic Arts, then Crystal Dynamics

Hennig is not discouraged by this setback. "I realized that there was something fascinating about this medium. And even though we were only moving pixel figures around at the time, we had little memory and little color. I thought that it would be extremely interesting to join an industry that is just beginning to sprout and is doing pioneering work ".

With this motivation in her blood, the then 27-year-old applied to the software giant Electronic Arts. When he signed her on as a graphic artist and animation specialist, Hennig immediately abandoned her film studies and enthusiastically plunged into new projects. At first she worked on The Bard's Tale 4, which was unfortunately never published at the time. Then on the helicopter hit Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf, where Hennig created, among other things, many of the exciting cutscenes and brought them to life.

The self-confessed gamer loves her job, shows full commitment and is lucky on her side. Because when the leading designer of super nintendo platforming Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City suddenly quits, she can take over his post. "The concept for the game already existed and was pretty crazy. Ultimately, it was about integrating Michael Jordan into a platform," Hennig told Game Informer. "That's exactly what I did while trying to push the hardware to the limit." The result of these efforts actually looks pretty good optically and is also found to be quite entertaining by some specialist magazines.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/electrocop-lynx-screenshot-pc-games.png" alt = "The Lynx version of Electrocop (in the picture) worked with different screen levels to create a pseudo-3D effect. The version edited by Hennig for Atari 7800 ran completely in 2D, but never appeared.
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The Lynx version of Electrocop (pictured) worked with different screen levels to create a pseudo 3D effect. The version for Atari 7800 edited by Hennig ran completely in 2D. However, it never appeared.

Source: Moby Games




The real breakthrough came when Hennig switched to the developer and publisher Crystal Dynamics, also based in Redwood City, in 1995, where she became a design manager. The Californians are very satisfied with their work on the action adventure Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the sports game 3D baseball and the point'n'click adventure Blazing Dragons and will soon give them significantly more responsibility. I am referring to a position as Game Director of Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain.

In contrast to the top-down predecessor, the sequel to Blood Omen relies on an expanded version of the 3D engine already used in the bounce game Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko and aims to score with a complex story. "The original idea was loosely based on the rebellious angels from the epic poem 'The Lost Paradise' by the English poet John Milton," Hennig reveals in one in 2012 Interview with the official American PlayStation blog. "The spiritual structure of the world, on the other hand, was based on the philosophy of gnosticism, that is, the belief that the cosmos is governed by a malevolent hypocrite god; that all people are prisoners of a spiritual lie and that humanity fights for free will despite insurmountable fate. "





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/jak-3-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Debut at Naughty Dog: Technically as well as with regard to his Funny story, the Jak 3 coordinated by Amy Hennig and Jason Rubin is one of the best that the Playstation 2 has to offer in terms of platforming.
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Debut at Naughty Dog: Technically and in terms of its funny story, the Jak 3 coordinated by Amy Hennig and Jason Rubin is one of the best that Playstation 2 has to offer in terms of platforming runs.

Source: Moby Games




The development of Soul Reaver takes two and a half years and creates numerous challenges. Above all, a legal dispute with Silicon Knights, the developers of Blood Omen, is troubling the development team and causes Hennig to cut certain parts of the game out and implement a cliffhanger end. Hennig still hurts this decision to this day – but in retrospect it is the only right one to avoid further delays. When Soul Reaver finally appeared on August 16, 1999, the corks still popped at Crystal Dynamics.

The press loves Raziel's adventures and finds a lot of praise for the gripping atmosphere, the dark plot and the great cutscenes. Not to forget the convincing voice output. "Our approach to voiceacting was quite innovative for that time, because we always invited several speakers who would then start their dialogues together and not in isolation," said Hennig. Hennig ultimately worked for Crystal Dynamics for a total of eight years and was also responsible for the successful Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance, which brings the story of the protagonists Kain and Raziel to an end but does not completely resolve them .





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/legacy-of-kain-defiance-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Legacy of Kain: Defiance (2003) is the only game in the series in which you can slip into the roles of demigod Cain as well as Angel of Death Raziel, here too Hennig was responsible as game director.
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Legacy of Kain: Defiance (2003) is the only game in the series in which you can slip into the role of demigod Cain as well as Death Angel Raziel. Here too Hennig was responsible as Game Director.

Source: Moby Games





With Naughty Dog, Hennig becomes a superstar
Probably the most important job change for Hennig takes place in November 2003 and secures her a position as creative director at Sony's house and farm developer Naughty Dog in the south of Santa Monica. The PS2 Jump'n'Run Jak 3 should build on the qualities of the two predecessors – and Hennig has the honor of managing the entire project together with studio co-founder Jason Rubin. With success: Thanks to an insane, staged story and a varied mix of platform action, driving fun and gunplay, Jak 3 sold more than 1.32 million copies after its launch on November 9, 2004.

Naughty Dog meanwhile holds big pieces on Hennig and, not least thanks to her many years of storytelling experience, she transfers it to the management of Project "Big", an upcoming launch title for those still in development located Playstation 3. One of the most important design goals: Instead of stylized figures, this time realistically represented human characters should set the tone and show what the upcoming Sony console can do technically. Hennig and her co-authors Neil Druckmann and Josh Scherr serve as inspiration for the completely new brand, including pulp magazines from the 1930s to the 1950s, Jerry Bruckheimer's adventure film The Legacy of the Knights Templar (2004) and Steven Spielberg's Indiana-Jones Stripes. On the other hand, the focus is playfully on cover-based gunplay and based on Tomb Raider Platform passages.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/soul-reaver-2-windows-screenshot_director-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Soul Reaver 2 led the story of Held Raziel – which Hennig had thought up – continues on Playstation 2 and PC If you want to play it in today: The title is available both on Steam and at GOG.com.
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Soul Reaver 2 continued the story of hero Raziel – which Hennig had conceived – on Playstation 2 and PC. Who wants to play in today: The title is available both on Steam and at GOG.com.

Source: Moby Games




In contrast to the Lara Croft competition, a male hero without years of special training and with many corners and edges should give the protagonists. Or in the words of Hennig in a conversationÄch with the tech website VentureBeat to express: "Lara was an ambitious, acrobatic, James Bond-like character. So we made our heroes a bit clumsier and less fortunate – more like Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, who often operates at the limit of his abilities." So that the story never comes across as emotionless, Hennig also provides the protagonist with two supporting characters.

In November 2007 the time had finally come: Three days after the launch of the PS3, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune with Nathan Drake in the leading role stormed the US market and sold brilliantly. In the first ten weeks alone, a million copies went over the counter. Later, this sum adds up to 4.8 million worldwide.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/michael-jordan-chaos-in-the-windy-city-snes-screenshot-pc-games.png" alt = " In the SNES platform Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, Hennig played the role of the game designer, but the 16-bit game wasn't the big hit yet.
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In the SNES platform Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, Hennig played the role of the game designer. The 16-bit game wasn't the big hit, however.

Source: Moby Games




No wonder that Hennig can also coordinate the successor – this time in collaboration with Bruce Starley, who was the co-art director in part one. Hennig and her team structure Uncharted 2: Among Thieves similar to the first part, but with a completely new setting, new story, optimized technology (Naughty Engine 2.0) and for the first time a multiplayer-Mode. The bottom line is a fantastic combination that has won numerous Game of the Year awards worldwide and is in fifth place with 6.5 million copies best-selling PS3 games creates.

Incidentally, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, whose development is all about a desert scenario, follows directly in front of it with 6.6 million units. "When we had the sand idea for the first time, you could already see the glow in the eyes of those involved. Shortly afterwards, everyone said, 'Yes, it will be really difficult – let's do it!'" US magazine Entertainment Weekly. In addition, part three should feel more open than the previous games, offer an expanded multiplayer mode and support 3D televisions – goals that can all be implemented and that finally make the series a milestone in Sony's exclusive portfolio. A continuation is almost certain.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/soul-reaver-2-windows-screenshot_director-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Soul Reaver 2 led the story of Held Raziel – which Hennig had thought up – continues on Playstation 2 and PC If you want to play it in today: The title is available both on Steam and at GOG.com.
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Soul Reaver 2 continued the story of hero Raziel – which Hennig had conceived – on Playstation 2 and PC. Who wants to play in today: The title is available both on Steam and at GOG.com.

Source: Moby Games





Mud battle around Uncharted 4
Development work on Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for PS4 will begin in 2011. Just like part three, Hennig, in cooperation with Justin Richmond, will lead the project – she as creative director and he as gameplay director. The then 47-year-old immediately got to work and devised a promising story with some unusual ideas. Among other things, it is planned that Nathan Drake will not use any ranged weapons for the entire first half of the game and that his brother Sam will act as a central antagonist over long distances. Only shortly before the end Nathan should learn that Sam is his brother. Once united, the two would have taken joint action against villain Rafe. The team builds first levels (including Scotland and Madagascar), engages numerous voice actors, including Alan Tudyk (as Rafe) and Todd Stashwick (as Sam), and experiments with new gameplay mechanics, such as vehicles and a grappling hook.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/uncharted-3-drakes-deception-ps4-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception managed "only" a metascore of 92, but sold just over as part two.
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Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception managed “only” a metascore of 92, but sold just over more than part two.

Source: Moby Games




Hennig has a relatively free hand in narrative, because at this point the second team at Naughty Dog is still working feverishly on The Last of Us, which after its release on June 14, 2013 is making big waves and has won several critic awards. After the completion of Left Behind, the first and only story DLC for The Last of Us, there are heated discussions within the studio management level. Both Bruce Straley and Neil Druckmann, the creative minds behind The Last of Us, both disagree with the Uncharted 4 status quo.

The exact details of this disagreement have not been handed down. However, former employees repeatedly speak of a kind of warehouse building within the studio. Some say that Hennig made wrong design decisions and gave the game an unclear direction. The others accuse Naughty Dog of having lost sight of the concerns of the Uncharted 4 team due to the drastic success of The Last of Us.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/uncharted-2-among-thieves-ps4-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Direct hit: With a Metacritic- Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is rated one of the best games written by Amy Hennig with an average rating of 96 out of 100 points.
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Bull's eye: With a Metacritic average rating of 96 out of 100 points, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of the best games written by Amy Hennig.

Source: Moby Games




Ultimately, the tricky situation results in a tangible argument, as a result of which both Amy Hennig and Justin Richmond and some other employees leave the studio. There is no official farewell to Hennig, which says a lot about the intensity of the conflict. After all, both parties agree in writing not to comment negatively on each other afterwards.

For Hennig, the golden era of naughty dog ​​is over. Uncharted 4, on the other hand, is being turned upside down by Straley and Druckmann – in particular the part with Sam, who now hits Nathan much earlier in the final game. Incidentally, if you believe statements from Sam's new voice actor Troy Baker, you had already recorded Hennig's story for eight months and had to throw all of that out the windown.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/uncharted-4-sam-nathan-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Later rejected: In the original Uncharted 4 script Amy Hennig's brother Sam should have been the villain for long stretches of the game.
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Later rejected: In the original Uncharted 4 script by Amy Hennig, Nathan’s brother Sam should have been the villain for long stretches of the game.

Source: Moby Games





Continue to Visceral Games
In April 2014, Hennig joins Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores), where they work under high pressure on the cops-versus-criminal shooter Battlefield Hardline works. Initially, she supports the team in optimizing cutscenes and scripts. But just a few months later, she devoted herself to the project for which she was actually hired. Reminder: In May 2013, EA secured Disney's rights to work exclusively on Star Wars games for ten years. One of them is to be created at Visceral Games, others at Bioware, DICE, Motive Studios and Respawn Entertainment.

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Visceral's original War of the Stars project was called Yuma and, to some extent, was based on a pirate game called Jamaica that the Californians had previously worked on for Ubisoft Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag to compete. Yuma would have kept Jamaica's open world concept and the pirate theme should move to space. Served as a hero one inspired by Han Solo Scoundrel.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/uncharted-drakes-fortune-playstation-4-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "Modern Indiana Jones. The story from Uncharted: Drake's Fortune garnered a lot of praise and laid the foundation for Naughty Dog's winning streak.
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Modern Indiana Jones. The story of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune garnered a lot of praise and laid the foundation for Naughty Dog’s winning streak.

Source: Moby Games




However, Hennig is not a big fan of open world games, she prefers story-driven solo adventures. Since she also holds the post of creative director, it doesn't take long for Yuma to turn around again and mutate into a kind of uncharted in space. The game will soon be given the code name "Ragtag", which means "rabble" or "mob" in German. Actually, quite fitting, because that's exactly what it's all about: A five-member gang of space crooks, led by a certain Dodger, planned to carry out a series of spectacular intergalactic robberies.

Hennig Ragtag settles between episodes 4 and 5 and sets up the heroes so that they have no Jedi powers. In return, however, it should be true sabotage experts who are brilliant at manipulating the environment with gadgets etc. in their favor. Another cool feature: Players should be able to switch freely between the individually qualified heroes. The control of the other characters would take over the AI ​​in the meantime. As a motivator for the actions of the group, Hennig has in mind, among other things, the destruction of the planet Alderaan, which is known to have been destroyed by the Empire in Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope.





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/960x/2020/07/uncharted-golden-abyss-ps-vita-screenshot-pc-games.jpg" alt = "For the first PS-Vita -Exclusive Uncharted: Hennig was hired as a story consultant for Golden Abyss, and the result is also impressive.
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For the initially PS-Vita-exclusive Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Hennig was hired as a story consultant. The result is also impressive.
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Source: Moby Games




Sounds like a lot of fun? Quite. However, the project has not had a good star from the start, for several reasons. For one thing, the mood in the team is pretty bad. Especially those who need to work on Visceral downloadable content for Battlefield Hardline felt like the third, according to the book Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made, written by US game journalist Jason Schreier Wheel on the car.

Many employees also have difficulties with Hennig's way of working and accuse her of coordinating motion capturing actors too often instead of the team on site. There are also problems with the Frostbite engine, which at that time was primarily was optimized for first person shooters, but not for a third-person adventure à la Uncharted. Another stumbling block: Licensor Disney slows down numerous processes, especially since a lot has to be approved again and again. The result of all this is an increasing employee turnover, the EA – due to the high





<img src = "https://www.gamesaktuell.de/screenshots/430x/2020/07/blood-omen-legacy-of-kain-windows-front-cover-pc-games.jpg" alt = "At Blood Omen: Hennacy was already involved as a so-called designer manager in 1996. Legally of Kain, the game of Crystal Dynamics is considered a great success despite the somewhat used-up top-down perspective.
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In Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996) Hennig was already involved as a so-called designer manager. Commercially, the game from Crystal Dynamics is considered a great success despite the somewhat down-to-earth perspective.

Source: Moby Games




Personnel costs in the Bay Area – only want to compensate to a certain degree.

Although the team received support from EA Vancouver in early 2017, this measure also led to new problems. Among other things, because further discussions about the cover system flare up and the Canadian branch wants to implement gadgets that Hennig does not fit into the concept. Result: Despite a graphically impressive, internal three-section demo, EA's management believes it is increasingly unrealistic that the game will be completed within a reasonable time and cost frame. On October 17, 2017, the bad news: Visceral Games is closed and almost 80 employees have to look for new jobs. Hennig will leave the company in January 2018.

What's next?
After leaving EA, the California native initially withdraws from the public for a while and founds her own small company with a focus on consulting, especially in the VR sector. The fact that Hennig downshifts has a lot to do with her work at Naughty Dog, which is characterized by crunch times. It's up to you Interview in the developer podcast Designer Notes from 2016, then Hennig worked an average of no less than 80 hours a week over ten years.

Whether these phases are now over for them? Wait, because Hennig has been President of New Media since November 2019 Division at Skydance Media in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are hardly any specific details about your new project. What is certain, however, is that her team is working on "new, story-focused experiences that use state-of-the-art computer graphics to achieve the visual quality of film and television". Sounds exciting in any case, especially since the project is aimed at both gamers and non-gamers and on streamingPlatforms.

And what do you think about Amy Hennig? Which of the games she participated in did you like the most? Should EA's Star Wars Ragtag be revived? What could your new project result in? Let us know in the comments!

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