Imagine being the only person in the building allowed to go into a room because there’s a top secret console inside. It’s bizarre and yet it happens – console manufacturers are famously secretive about their new hardware. And this is how a man called Simon Pick found himself shut away in a room with a new machine Sony was working on, called, at the time, the PSX – better known to us today as the PlayStation 1.
Pick worked at a studio called Probe Software, which had been commissioned to make a PlayStation game for the Crystal Maze, a TV game show – except it wasn’t on the TV at the time and there were problems with it, so the game tie-in was abruptly canned. Pick had signed an NDA to work on it, and Probe had PlayStation hardware because of it, so both now needed something else to do.
Cue a piece of history in the making: Fergus McGovern, the boss of Probe Software, pokes his head around the corner to make a suggestion to Simon that he cannot resist. “Sorry, it’s cancelled,” McGovern says, according to Pick, who I’m talking to now. “But I can offer you this other thing which is a film tie-in.” Simon Pick’s ears prick up. “We want to make a Die Hard Trilogy video game. Are you interested?”