Terry Pratchett

The award-winning fantasy guru reveals all on his secret PC gaming life, including why there'll be no Discworld MMORPG...

To herald our burgeoning fantasy special (which kicked off with Dark Messiah, NeverWinter Nights 2 and Oblivion - see top box for the goods), what better excuse, we thought, do we need to get in touch with best-selling, award-winning, all-round fantasy hero Terry Pratchett? As well as being prolific, funny and insightful, he of beard, hat and redoubtable imagination is an avid PC gamer. So read on, and rejoice. And if any of our other personal heroes happen to like gaming, then please get in touch...

As a fantasy writer, do you find yourself preferring fantasy games, or does spending time in an imaginary land feel like another day at the office?
Ho ho. No, I'll pretty much play anything that's intelligent and has some depth. That means Half-Life 2 and not Doom 3, for example"


What do you make of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion? What have been your favourite moments?
I'm a thief and an assassin, and treat the game as a continuation of the Thief universe. I'm in it for the sneaking, but I like the free form nature of the game, the fact that you can ignore the quests and set off into this big, complex world. You really can explore. All the best moments have been in the shadows. Pick pockets, open locks, creep away.

We're really excited about Warhammer Online - a World Of Warcraft-style affair that shows its British roots with a real underlying sense of humour. Can you take po-faced fantasy seriously? Or do you prefer stuff that's slightly more tongue-in-cheek?
If it offers good gameplay, I don't mind. You should be able to immerse yourself in a game - in other words, take it seriously in context. Taking it seriously is part of the fun.

What have been your favourite games of the past few years?
Far Cry, Call Of Duty, Half-Life 2 and a great many fan missions for Thief! A good fan mission is a joy, because the author reads your mind.

Do you think Discworld would ever work as either an Oblivion-style solo adventure or as a gargantuan MMO?
No. I think games like that have to be slightly vanilla, so the player does some of the work. I don't think a Discworld game could be free form enough.

Even though they were fiendishly difficult, the Discworld point-and-clicks are our favourites. How heavy was your involvement with them? Do you remember them as fondly as we do?
My involvement was very high with the first, and when I realised the guys knew what they were doing, I let them get on with it. They were fun, and of their time."

Did you get the number of that donkey cart? "I think it was 'one'!