Meet Haris Orkin, writer and voice director behind the critically acclaimed Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. He assisted Techland on the first Juarez game back in ’05, when he suggested the polish developer hire an American writer to get the dialogue right. He’s been working with them ever since.
In a ‘making of’ documentary posted by Ubisoft, Orkin recounts the process behind how Gunslinger came to fruition. From the beginning when Techland didn’t know if they needed a traditional story since this was a “downloadable game”, through the process of developing Silas Greaves and presenting the tall tale history of the Wild West.
“They came to me with the idea of the entire game being narrated a la Bastion,” Orkin recounts. “They told me they wanted narrative tricks in the game; that things in the game world would change depending on the narrators story. I thought that idea was pretty brilliant and mirrored exactly how the history of the West came to be written in the first place.”
To delve into that rich history of the Wild West, Techland wanted the larger-than life personas that cut out a living during the time. “They wanted the game to feature some of the most iconic Western legends and characters from the past,” Orkin says. “Together we crafted a story based on that premise. The character would be someone who brushed against all those famous characters.”
Thus, the narrator and protagonist Silas Greaves was born, drawing inspiration from old Hollywood. Citing 1970’s Little Big Man as an influence, which Orkin explains, “Followed a fictional character who brushed against many of the Wild West’s greatest legends.”
Orkin also recalls a famous line of dialogue from a 1962 John Wayne film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, which helped to inform the storytelling direction Gunslinger would take. “‘When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.’ That’s pretty much the central theme of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.”
How Gunslinger returned the name of Call of Juarez to high standing isn’t a mystery. It’s a virtual history lesson from a team of developers entranced by the mysticism of the Old West, and dedicated to sharing it.
“Being we’re all Western history buffs, we really enjoyed introducing the Wild West to a generation of players who may not know much about it,” Orkin concludes. “I’m really pleased with the reception Gunslinger’s received from the critics and fans. We weren’t exactly sure it was all going to work and the fact that it did and that people actually love it, that’s very gratifying.”
We did love Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and recommended you “Buy It” based on our review scale. To hear this tale of inspiration and dedication in Orkin’s own words, you’ll find the video below.