Top 30 Sam Lake Quotes

We picked thirty quotes said by Sam Lake, the face of 2001’s Max Payne and the writer of Remedy’s games including the first two Max Payne games, Alan Wake, Quantum Break and the upcoming Control

''Prose is an art form, movies and acting, in general, are art forms, so is music, painting, graphics, sculpture, and so on. Some might even consider classic games like chess to be an art form. Video games use elements of all of these to create something new. Why wouldn't video games be an art form?''

''Well, we look for sources of inspiration in pop culture in general. It's very important for us that, when it comes to storytelling, we don't look into other video games. We'd rather look into other mediums – movies, television series and books – for sources of inspiration.''

''There needs to be just a little bit of crazy when dreaming up a new concept.''

''It's also very important to make sure that the main character and the player are completely in synch.''

[on predefined meaning in his head while creating]

''I feel it's a good thing to resist the impulse to explain or over-explain everything. It's fine to leave things open for interpretation, but it can't be, ''Yeah, anything goes'' because then it loses its meaning. There have to be pieces [that fit] together.''

''I think that in general – well, at least it's true for me – you tend to put something of yourself into the story as a whole. Not necessarily in any character, you understand. But you've got your own way of looking at the world, and that naturally will affect how you craft a story.''

''The way you write dialogue is the same whether you're writing for movies or TV or games. We use movie scriptwriting software to write the screenplays for our games, but naturally, we have things in the script that you would never have in a movie script - different branches and optional dialogue, for example. But still, when it comes to storytelling and dialogue, they are very much the same.''

''Some actors, more and more these days, have some experience with motion capture. Maybe the biggest thing for an actor who hasn't had past experience in this is explaining that we are of the high quality and fidelity that you don't need to overact. That's often their kind of feeling that we'll lose so much in the process that we need to make it big. That's no longer the case. We are finally at the stage where we essentially have digital doubles of the actors. Every small thing and every flaw, in a way, is translated on screen in real-time and in-game.''

[on writing Max Payne 2]

''Writing a sequel is certainly an art of its own. The setting and the characters have already been established. On one hand, you have to stay faithful to that. On the other, you need to shake things up and take the story to surprising directions, to keep what's good and fix what was not so good. The goal is naturally to top the original in every area possible.''

''You can chase the mystery, you can try to find answers. Maybe we are not force feeding the answers and holding the player's hand, going 'Look, this is the next clue,' but it's out there; it's there to be discovered.''

''We have a lot of passion towards Max Payne. It was wonderful to create that and to take certain ideas from the first one and... Making a sequel is great fun in many ways. But at the same time, that was all with the understanding that this will be the final Max Payne game for us. And you could kind of go through that emotional process while working on it, saying goodbye.''

''So the humor aspect is part of it, but the other side of it is I’m a big fan of postmodern literature. And the cool thing about that is that self-referential material, and different layers in that, and kind of a ‘game’ we play on the story side as well is a big part. That excites me. That’s an interesting thing. To me it feels — obviously games are about, you know, playing games, so it somehow feels very natural and fits very well in a game. That’s kind of the starting point of it. But it’s also just having fun with it. In a way, kind of having this multiverse aspect to it.''

''...I think that it’s very unlikely that we would do more Max Payne, but never say never.''

[after mentioning David Lynch, Twin Peaks, New Weird as a literary genre]

''So, you know, all of these elements coming together and forming this world and fiction that, you know… giving ourselves a license to be weird.''

''Here I felt that from the beginning the idea was that, you know, with this world-building how can we use the world as a storytelling tool? Have fragmented discovers to be found and pieced together in the world. So that was part of it.''

''Speaking as a professional idea guy, this might sound bad, but ideas are cheap. They’re not necessarily worth anything on their own. It’s how you refine that idea and get the team excited about it and then doing the hard work of getting it realized. You’ll never run out of ideas. They just keep popping up.''

[on the inspiration for creating Control]

‘'Obviously inspiration always comes from many different directions, but one purposeful source of inspiration was the literary genre New Weird, which is kind of a subgenre of sci-fi in a way that deals with the unexplainable. Sometimes there are no answers, and sometimes we are dealing with forces that the human mind can't quite comprehend, or our modern science can't explain.''

''Having a strong story component, to begin with — not all games need a strong story. You have different audiences with different preferences in games, and that’s great. It gives a richness to gaming. There’s interaction between different game genres and innovation flows through all of that.''

''I suppose, like any creative person, you hope that as many people as possible like your creation. But it’s also always much better to have people love it or hate it rather than not have any opinion and forget about it a day later. If there’s a strong response, that’s always mission accomplished.''

''I love the idea of getting inside the head of the main character and using their voice as a storytelling tool.''

''The more that there are creative visions, and strong visions, and opportunities for creative people to express themselves, the more benefit it is to the whole games industry. It's an opportunity to be inspired and try out new things.''

[on how to make the Max Payne face]

''Push your chin forward. Straighten your nose. Narrow your mouth. Lift your cheeks up. Squint your eyes. Arch your eyebrows. And there he is.''

''As a writer, you can't help but put a piece of yourself in the writing; if nothing else it's the way you look at life in general.''

''I believe we can tell stories with games, and I want to tell stories with them. That’s my passion. But I can see where you’re coming from. I think the great thing about games is that there’re so many different games you can make, and I don’t think that having ambition in a story game, and pushing that forward, is a bad thing.''

''I feel narration is a much more sophisticated and stylised way of doing that [giving hints and clues to the player], than to have other characters babbling aloud to you like, ‘Oh, I guess I need a key to open this door!''

''What you spend most of the time doing is combat, and other things are more like spices to add variety and give a change of pace now and again to keep it fresh.''

''I do think games work really well with the idea of echoes and twisted mirrors and different layers of story to be discovered, that can reflect back in interactive form to comment on different elements of it.''

Interviewer: What is time?

Sam Lake: That's the question.

''I feel that games, in my mind, fit really really well, into something that you can pull from many different mediums and use them as storytelling devices inside a game.''

''You create a world and there are different layers of storytelling, different methods and different mediums in it. All of these fragments build the experience. All of them are important in some way. But once again, the player is an active part of it. Sometimes you miss one thing or focus more on another thing and it tweaks your perception of the overall story.''