MediEvil EU site


  • Lives: Cambridge, UK (born Manchester)
  • Education: Computer Science at Leeds University
  • Joined MediEvil Team: February 1996
  • Previous Jobs: Technology team at Millennium Interactive
  • Nickname: Vileda Boy

Is your hair real?
No, they're false hair extensions

How long have you had them?
Three months, but my real hair is only a few inches shorter. It looks really rocky 'cause it breaks really easy. Unless I kind of do something with it, it ends up being a bouffant.

Does it hurt?
Having this done? Yeah, they have to put it in really tight.

What did everyone else say when you came in with it like that?
I'd been threatening to do it for a while because I had wanted to do something with it for ages. They were all saying "Matty, don't do it. Don't do it" But in the end it just happened, so when I eventually came in with it. . . I got called 'Vileda'!

Is she a character in MediEvil?
No. Vileda is a brand name for a kind of cleaning mop. You know, the ones that 'get in all the corners' - there's loads of adverts for them. So I get called 'Vileda Boy' all the time.


Why are you working in the Games Industry?
Because I've always loved games since I was a kid. The first game I ever played properly was Manic Miner on the Spectrum in the 80's. Ever since then I've been into games.

So you've been making games at home?
Yeah. And at university, I helped on a few projects on the Amiga that some other people were working on.

Did they really want your help?
Yes. I was writing stuff at home but of course, being a student, I did not have time to do something really serious. The first time, one of my friends made a cheap title called Carnage on an Amiga and learned that he had only two weeks to finish it, or "otherwise ...". He panicked and asked me "help me, I will not get there, it will not be finished, HELP ME". So we put two computers in his room and we finished the game. This is the first thing I was paid for and it was nice.


How did you end up working here?
When I finished college, I did a few bits of work at home for a while until my parents got in financial trouble and I needed a proper job.

"Get thee out of t'house and get thee down t'mine?"
That was exactly it. I didn't think that having a computer science degree would be enough to get me a decent position, so I spent a lot of time at home building up my portfolio. . . and it worked. I had a lot of offers. I must have gone to ten interviews and received five offers.

Who did you turn down?
One place near Birmingham which was like a ghost-town in the wild west; tumbleweed rolling down the streets. The atmosphere was like "GET ME OUTTA HERE."

Why do you like working in Games?
I like it because it's like really free and really challenging. You either love it or you hate it. I don't want to leave the games industry at the moment as it's really my scene.


What's your favourite game on PlayStation.
I really like Tempest X, it's an old arcade game.

No one's ever said they like that one before. Everyone says GT.
It's a terrible crime, but because I've been so busy at work, I haven't played it.

You've never even seen the game? THE racing game? 
I've seen it. I've actually been given it by the company. I just haven't had the chance to play it yet. So it's just been sat there. It seems alright, but I'm not really into driving games.

What kind of game do you like?
I love shoot 'em ups, so all the arcade shoot 'em up / slash 'em ups.

Has any of that shoot 'em up violent streak gone into Medievil?
I always get accused of making my enemies too hard, so, maybe.


Which bit of the game do you think about and say: "Yes, I'm really glad we put that in there. That's really made it worthwhile."?
Definitely being able to kill the rats. . . .and the bit you sweated the most blood over?
Probably a level we call "the ghost ship". I did the original version of the level and James finished it off when he came in to the second pass. It's really unusual because it's got lots of original bits included that were quite tough to write because of technical problems. It's been quite a headache.


So do you sleep in the office? 

It's you. I knew somebody had.
Yeah. It's me

What do you do about having a shower? Or do you not bother?
I get a wash. We have got fairly big sinks. I really dream about having showers here though. It would be really good.

I think that all games developers should have showers because everyone ends up sleeping at work.
When it comes to deadlines, with all the good intentions in the world, there's always one more thing that you end up wanting to put in before the deadline isn't there? It's just impossible to ever really do that on a schedule. You get to your deadline and you think "Oh my God, I should have done this", or people just keep having new ideas all the time. And you really want to make the best of what you're doing. You can't say "oh, well" and go home instead.


So, how do you keep awake?
I have a habit for being able to do that. When I go out clubbing on an all-nighter I can stay awake for ages without any artificial enhancement. Although, yesterday, as soon as we completed an urgent demo, I completely passed out. Did you have to be carried home? I heard someone had to order a cab for you.
Yeah, that was me. The thing is they all left me. I woke up, and I was talking about what went right and what went wrong with the demo and it got more and more fantastic, until in the end I realised I was in a complete dreamland. And then I woke up, and a couple of hours had passed and all the screens were off and the office was deserted. . .


Your favourite take-aways are?
I detest take-aways so much. It's got to the stage now where we are just desperately trying to find unusual things to eat. I went through a stage of deliberately not having any curries because I just couldn't stand them anymore. I've just about started to be able to eat them again. Pizzas are just like bread to me. Thai's kind of alright. Chinese isn't that bad at the moment, because we don't get Chinese all that much.


What's your average working day?
It's a bit weird, 'cause there are up and down times. I went through times that were like really, really busy. At the beginning of projects and when we go through big upheavals, we can usually work from ten in the morning until ten in the evening.

Do you have to come in on the weekend?
Sometimes, yeah. We usually have to. Until seven or eight o'clock is usually standard. When it gets really bad, we go through the whole night and through the next day as well. It can be a bit monstrous.

What will you do when it's completely finished?
I rest.

You are not going on vacation? 
No, I'm broke. I cannot afford a vacation. . . I think I'll go see most of my friends. Take a little time for me. Take a walk in the country, go to see friends in the north.


  1. Memory Card Sorcerers - Matt Johnson on MediEvil Official EU Website (archived version).
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