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Here is an interview with John Romero

First could you give us some basic info on you and your past/current projects?
Okay, i've been a game programmer/game designer for the past 19 years. I was one of the four founders of id Software and one of the four founders of Ion Storm. I've shipped over 60 games in my career thus far, including the Commander Keen series, Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, DOOM II, Heretic, Hexen and Quake (the most popular ones).

How did you first get interested in making games?
I played lots and lots of video games in the arcades back in the early '80's when i was a kid.

How did you end up at Softdisk, what was it like working there?
I left a startup company named InsideOut Software back in 1989

Why did you leave Softdisk and start id?
Because we had to make a game every month and that was not enough time to do something really cool, so we did the first Commander Keen trilogy in our spare time and after we released it, enough money was generated that we could quit Softdisk and officially start id Software on February 1st, 1991.

What was it like working at id on the games before Goodbye Galaxy?
It was great fun and a whole lotta work.

What was it like working on Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy?
It was great -- Goodbye, Galaxy took us a total of 4 months; 3 months for Secret of the Oracle and 1 month for The Armageddon Machine. It had better technology, many characters, music, FM synth sound effects, etc. It was a really great set of games.

Why did you quit your programming career to pursue game design?
I didn't quit programming, I just don't do very much of it nowadays because I have 7 programmers on my team. Game design has always been something that I've done since i started making games. I had to design them AND program them all by myself, including utilities, sound effects, graphics, etc.

What do you think of the other Commander Keen projects that are being made by 3rd parties under the approval of id? (
I think it's a really cool thing and would love to see more Keen adventures, but alas, Tom Hall is really the only person suited to create Keen sequels.

(I told yah! -eK)

Do you think Keen has a future?
Yes, but you never know when that future is going to happen.

On IRC you said Keen 7 might come out on the N64, can you give us more information on this?
Um, i was probably saying that if we did do Keen 7, it would be an N64 game because it's cute and is a perfect product placement on that platform.

Who has influenced your career and why?
Mostly, old Apple II programmers like Nasir Gebelli and Bill Budge. Design-wise, the games from Squaresoft and Shigeru Miyamoto's games.

During the making of Quake, when id added the War room, did you find that atmosphere reminiscent of the days of keen when everyone worked in the same room?
No, because everyone didn't want to work in the War Room. When id was started, we loved working in the same room (sometimes it would get annoying, but it was mostly a great thing).

How's working at Ion Storm different than working at id?
Everything is different, totally.

Do you think gaming is going more in the direction of big corperations with large budgets? Do you think small companies will stillhave a chance in 10 years?
Small companies will always have a chance. The game industry is evolving very much like Hollywood has; that's the closest parallel you'll find.

Any plans after Diakatana? If another Keen becomes a reality will you have a hand in it?
After Daikatana i will either work on the sequel, or another game that's pretty different, but still 3D FPS. I'd love to have something to do with a future Keen.

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