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Interview With Travis Howe: Animator For Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time

Sean W. Jun 19, 2012 0

Sly Cooper Logo

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is the fourth game in the PlayStation exclusive series.  It is being developed by Sanzaru Games and I had the opportunity to speak to Travis Howe, animator for the game at E3 this year.

LTG: Let’s begin by telling us who you are and what you do.

Travis H: My name is Travis Howe and I’m an animator at Sanzaru Games. I’ve been working mostly with playable characters. Sly, Bentley, Murray, their ancestors and their costumes. It’s been an interesting ride.

Tell us a little about Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.

Sure. The game picks up a few years after the third game. At the onset of this game, crazy stuff has been happening.  Sly, Bentley and Murray have to go back in time and sort of set things right.  It’s got a pretty awesome story honestly and I’m really happy how the story has come together.

For the people who are big fans of the series, are all the characters they know and love coming back?

Definitely can’t say all.  What I can say that fans will not be disappointed.

Are you a big fan of the Sly Cooper series?

Oh yeah! Honestly everybody at the studio is in love with it.  It’s such an awesome franchise.

Do you find that brings a new “heart” to the development of the game?

I think more than anything it really fuels what we’re doing.  It’ fuels our passions for the game and I think that it really shows.  You just played it, it’s a fun game.  Everybody that’s involved in it is having such a good time making it because we know that it’s part of such an awesome series and we’re just honored to be part of it.

Tell us about the demo that you’re showing here at E3?

What we have on the demo here, we have two separate playable areas.  We have something with Ryuichi Cooper which is in feudal Japan.  Then we have something with Sir Galleth Cooper, but you’re actually playing as Sly and utilizing Sly’s Robin costume.  The bit that you played, you were going through a circus tent to set Sir Galleth free.

Now you said before this interview that you’ve played this level before and it seemed OK but now it seems more difficult, like you team added some challenge to it?

It’s one of the benefits of working at a studio where everyone is so passionate about it.  Everybody is constantly playing it.  I’ll talk to this designer and say ‘I played this bit and I loved it but I felt this was too easy or this was too hard.’  We’ve come to this great balance where the game is difficult but at the same time, it’s not off-putting.  I don’t think that someone who is not a gamer is going to pick this up and say, ‘oh this is frustrating’.

When is this game coming out?

It’s coming out in Fall this year for the PlayStation 3 and it’s also coming out for the Vita.

Is there going to be any cross functionality?

Yeah, you can play it on the Vita, save it out and play it on the PS3 and pick up right from where you started.  The cool thing about having two different systems is you get two different types of gameplay.  For examples, the arrows in the demo, you control them by moving the Vita back and forth.

Thank you again for your time and I look forward to playing this game more and I’m sure many other people are also.

Awesome. Thanks.