My Favourite Game
The Foals drummer on finding time to play between albums, murderous sprees, and his long love affair with Final Fantasy VII
Foals drummer Jack Bevan talks Bandicoots and open worlds
Jack Bevan is the drummer for Oxford five-piece Foals. The band has released three albums, with 2013’s Holy Fire reaching number two in the UK charts. The album was nominated for the Mercury Prize, as was 2010’s second LP, Total Life Forever. Here, Bevan tells us about his gaming journey to date, from Sonic 2 to Assassin’s Creed IV. You picked up a PlayStation 4 earlier this year. Why Sony’s console and not a Wii U or an Xbox One? I’ve always been on the PlayStation side of things. I got the first PlayStation in 1997; at the time the competition was the Sega Saturn, and there was nothing on that which particularly appealed to me. Then I upgraded to the PS2, and then PS3, as a matter of course. I think that the PS4 looks really great – it’s probably the most aesthetically appealing console yet. Was getting a PlayStation your first experience of videogames? No, I had a Mega Drive II – I got it for Christmas when I was seven, I think. That came with Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and that was my first gaming experience. I loved the Sonic series, and how weird and twisted Earthworm Jim was. I have an older cousin, and he’s always been on top of technology. He got a PlayStation before me, and I got to play Crash Bandicoot on it. I must have been about ten years old. To be able to play something in 3D, at the time it felt like it had the most incredible, beautiful graphics. I thought I was in this other world. Which forthcoming games are you looking forward to playing? I love open-world games, and I love games that use stealth. I’m a big Elder Scrolls fan, too, so I’ll be getting the next one in that series. Right now I’m playing Assassin’s Creed IV, when I get the chance. It looks great but I think it always takes developers a while to really get a handle on the new machines, so it’ll be interesting to see what people are doing with the PS4 in the future. Given all of your commitments with the band, is it difficult to find the time to properly immerse yourself in a game when it’s built to the scale of Black Flag? Well, we’re actually either really busy or hardly busy at all. When we were writing Holy Fire, I actually had downtime enough to play through Skyrim, Uncharted 3 and Portal 2. I have other games that I dip into for shorter sessions. Skyrim is like a movie – I’m going to spend hours in front of it in one sitting. But something like Grand Theft Auto V, I can turn that on and just run around murdering people for half an hour. I’m looking forward to the PS4 port because I foolishly gave away my PS3 when I upgraded. We’ve licensed some tracks before, to FIFA a couple of times, and I think there might have been a racing game too. So far as doing a game soundtrack goes, I think we’d love to if we had the time. We’ve always talked about how exciting it would be to soundtrack a film, but that extends to a game too. Right now we’re too busy – we write, we release a record, we tour, repeat. But maybe in a few years, when we’ve maybe slowed down a bit, there’ll be a chance to do something like that.
“When I got FFVII I didn’t have a memory card, so I left my PlayStation switched on for about two months”
The Grand Theft Auto games are renowned for their soundtracks – have you ever contributed to games? Would you like to create an entire game soundtrack at some point, even? Finally, what’s your favourite game? That’s Final Fantasy VII, definitely. Whenever I hear of someone else loving that game, I feel I’ll have a great connection with them. It’s the first game I remember having a proper, emotionally engaging storyline. When I got it I didn’t have a memory card, so I actually left my PlayStation on for about two months. My biggest fear was that there’d be a power cut. Honestly, at the time, the idea of losing my progress was on a par with losing a family pet. When I did get a memory card, I sunk so many hours into that game. It felt amazingly open. The game generated a community at school; we’d talk to each other about our achievements. We’d talk about beating Emerald Weapon. Of course, none of us actually had – that was insanely difficult. When Aeris died, I was absolutely devastated. I’ve played it so many times, but I think it’s one of the best games of all time.