“Omikron provided a vehicle for Bowie to virtually recreate himself as a 21-year-old rock star (Boz) who performs in an alternate dimension. Dorian Gray looks back through pixilated reflections in the digital mirror”.
GI: Finally, in Omikron, there’s this theme of transmigration of souls with different characters within the game. And a player can be anyone including Iman, but not you.
DB: Yes, that’s right. [More laughter]
GI: How does she feel about that? How do you feel about that?
DB: She is a freelancer. You can hire her. She’ll work for anyone… apparently.Well, I quite like that they can’t get inside of me. That was tabled by the French. It’s a French game. A really diplomatic courtesy was extended toward me.
They said, [in his best camp French] “But of coorse, nooone can become you. You are David Bowieee.” I said, “Yes, you’re absolutely correct.” I’m not lettin’ anybody climb inside of me.
Artist’s design for Iman in Omikron
- This is one of a number of interviews I worked on with Bowie. Together, we worked up fantasies and blatant lies for many media outlets, including Spin, CNET, EOnline and Salon…
David Bowie: Quite simply, they asked. I popped in to take a look and was knocked out by what I saw. I dragged everyone I knew and their mothers in to see Omikron, and we realized we couldn’t turn down this opportunity—to write the music for an entire civilization! My son Joe was the one who totally convinced me it was a great thing to do, though I really didn’t need much persuasion.
I suppose it helped that the Eidos team had targeted me specifically with the intelligent questions they posed about the musical tapestry required and the nature of my characterizations, and gave me the freedom to answer in my own way.
DB: It’s another place for the creative juices to flow and a hell of a challenge. Reeves [Gabrels] and I had to work away from our individual viewpoints and conjure up something that was representative of an intricate and tangible parallel universe. We had to respond to the challenge of new musical concepts— well, new to us, anyway—such as gameplay pacing and the simultaneously interactive “pleasuring” of both the real-life player and real-time drama. We found delving into the world of Omikron an incredibly immersive experience. Here’s a game that wants to offer you every conceivable computer-related possibility known to man, and I wanted to be one of those possibilities.
DB: We developed one of the characters during our design sessions in Paris, and we played off the fact that this character wasn’t actually me, but in a strange way was spiritually aligned to me. To reinforce the parallel universe nature of the game, we created this twentysomething beggar and singer who receives fragments of songs in visions—from Earth?—and struggles to make sense of them in his performance. The other character I play is Boz, the virtual, omnipotent superbeing. Nothing like me, I’m afraid—I have a lot more flesh and bones.
DB: I’m new to this flavor of “virtual feast,” but I can see now how a game like Omikron can jolt you into an altered state—with few of those messy side effects! It seems to me that you could lose days of real time just wandering around Omikron’s dark streets, eating, shopping, living your parallel life and of course spending more time than you should in that oh-so-hot red light district or the after-hours bars with, I might add, some of the sexiest girls yet in a game. I really should add here that the sexiest, of course, is my wife Iman, who is characterized as a kind of gun-for-hire. But I would say that, wouldn’t I?