Speaking to NME, game developer Harvey Smith shared some of the games that he nearly made over the course of his career, including a Blade Runner game and another inspired by Michael Mann’s 1996 film Heat.
As part of NME‘s latest Boss Level feature, Smith shared that when he joined Austin-based studio Midway Games, his original plan was to make a Heat-inspired game that would have had “immersive sim values.”
However, Midway’s CEO convinced Smith to instead become the executive creative director for BlackSite: Area 51, a sci-fi shooter that launched in 2007. Subsequently, Smith’s Heat-inspired game never came to light – Midway went on to file bankruptcy and close in 2010.
Smith went on to join Arkane, where he’s best known for his work as creative director for the Dishonored series. Smith joined Arkane while the studio was looking for a new project to start on, and recalls pitching a Blade Runner game and considering a fourth Thief title.
Instead, Smith was asked to work on Dishonored. Looking back, Smith remembers being asked “How about you work on this ninja game we’ve got called Dishonored, which is just [on] paper right now?”
Smith recalls asking if Dishonored could move away from the ninja premise, and says publisher Bethesda was supportive of their direction. “We just did what we love to do, and to our utter surprise, they were fully supportive every step of the way,” shared Smith. “The weirder we got, the more they were like, ‘wow, this is very distinct’. Most publishers aren’t like that. Most publishers are like ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, can you maybe set it in Detroit instead?’”