Interview : Skyjockey (AKA The Blakeness), Project Manager, Year of the Monkey (YOTM)
Interviewer : Rocky
The YOTM is shaping up to be the sleeper hit of the year in the Ghost Recon community. Rather than post community updates every few weeks, the project team have been busy quietly working away on producing what they hope will be one of the most remarkable Ghost Recon mods ever released.
With the mods completion edging ever closer we pinned down the guy who pulled together the talented team of modders and kept the mod moving along all this time, Skyjockey, or as many people will know him as The Blakeness.
Who is contributing to YOTM?
The Blakeness :
for YOTM I built a small team to head off various parts of the project. I'm project lead, Sleeper is my number 2 guy and map lead, El OSO is the scripting lead as well as a level designer. Don Miguel is the sound technician. That is basically the staff. Oso has a small team of really talented scriptors put together and they are Rebar and X69RZX. There have been countless people who have contributed along the way in some shape or form as well.
Cool, big name team there. How long have you been working on YOTM?
Off and on close to three years now.
When you started out, did you think for one minute it was going to be a 3 year project?
No not at all. this project started out as a weapons and characters mod, the two things I could do at the time. It really grew due to all the fans input.
...and projected release date is....?
While I have never been one to burden myself with a date obviously, I can honestly say that we are unbelievably close. Missions are being finished up as we speak and it's really down to just the loose ends.
What has it grown into - a full conversion?
To say the least. Damn near everything has been redone. We even have the enemys speaking Vietnamese.
Wow, who did the voice samples for that?!
I actually had a former team member supply them to me. From what I understand, he basically did a ton of internet searching and some clever audio matches to get them. They are very well done but i have no idea what they are saying!
Let's get down to the nitty gritty, how many new maps, how many new missions and how big a download is this going to be, approximately?
It's a 13 mission campaign with all new maps. Some of the missions though are purely cinematic "briefing" missions for specialist unlocking purposes, and some missions use the same maps but have been altered in ways. It's not going to be a small download.
Which parts of the project are you most pleased with?
You know the maps really give the mod the feel. Sleeper and El OSO are hands down the most talented mappers I know. I wonder sometimes why RSE hasn't snatched them from me yet but you know, this mod is nothing without the 110% that is put in by everybody.
Understood, I am sure the fans will appreciate and acknowledge that effort when they see the finished article.
I hope so. They are really what kept this fiasco running for so long.
Why "Year of the Monkey" and what is the basic plot line?
I chose to call the mod "Year of the Monkey" due to the timeline that it takes place. The mod takes place in 1968 which happens to be the Vietnamese lunar year of the monkey. 1968 also happens to be the year of the famous Tet Offensive.
I'll have to google that for more info, as will many fans I suspect.
Trust me i had to as well. The mod basically centers around a SEAL Team in Vietnam. No mission is based off any actual mission in Vietnam but instead the missions are based off the actual type of missions that SEAL teams took part
Do you have an interest in that time period that inspired you to start a mod based on it?
Definitely. I have always had a very keen interest in special operations in Vietnam, especially with SEALs. It was during a time that the teams were first being put together and they absolutely shined.
SEALs in Vietnam accounted for the least amount of friendly casualties.
It goes without saying that the best projects rise from a genuine interest in a specific area, so I am sure that your interest in this theatre will add to the whole feel of the mod.
Of course, look how well War Of Infamy did.
Is there anything I have not covered so far that you would like to mention?
You know I cant really think of anything. I just hope the public is ready for what I feel is a truly awesome mod.
Can you name some of the weapons?
Oh yes definitely. As a SEAL you will get to man weapons common to them in Vietnam like the M16a1, M60, M79 as well as the rare M63 Stoner. There are also a few non SEAL specialists and you will get to use weapons that are familiar to them,
while your enemy will be toting various chinese knockoffs of famous Russian weapons.
Well, good luck with the final stages of your mod, it takes immense dedication to see a mod of this size and lengthy development period though to the end, and you and your team are to be commended on that. Hopefully very soon we shall be in a position to commend you all for an excellent campaign and new maps and weapons to play on.
Thank you I hope it does well.
Year of the Monkey