Jason Wilson (also known by the pen-name Jay Gunn) is one of the key figures in the creation and development of the BAFTA-winning PlayStation classic MediEvil, and he's just announced with a heavy heart that he is selling his entire archive of artwork and game design documents related to the 1998 title.
"This was work that I undertook as the game’s lead game designer, art director, concept art, level design, co-writer and voice/actor director," says Wilson in a lengthy Twitter thread which also includes photos of the aforementioned documents.
"Due to changes in my personal life and the protracted situation trying to obtain video-game work means that I am in financial woes," he adds. "This archive of game design work spans hundreds of handcrafted original drawings, designs and maps made by me."
Wilson claims this is perhaps the most "comprehensive and complete" archive of a game's creation, "from initial pitch through all stages of development." The documents also include Wilson's hand-written re-design work, resulting in what he calls "an amazing time capsule museum collection from the PlayStation era."
There are four books of "concept drawings, environment designs, texture plans, fold-out gameplay maps, lost level design work and early topographical transparencies for building MediEvil’s environments," all of which is entirely bespoke and hand-drawn; as Wilson notes, this was before the likes of Photoshop and Unreal Engine became such a big part of game design.
Wilson's far-reaching involvement with the game – which was followed by a sequel in 2000, a PSP remake in 2005 and, more recently, a comprehensive remaster for the PS4 in 2019 – is evidenced by the existence of dialogue recording scripts within the documents. "This is a HUGE collection of game design materials from the [original] Playstation era," Wilson explains. "What is shown here is just a tiny drop in the ocean of my personal hand-crafted game archive."
As Wilson notes, he is being forced to sell this treasure trove of material due to pressing financial concerns; he's currently looking for work within the games industry but is finding it difficult. "Some HR departments tend to get confused by my eclectic career," he explains. "Interviews can take anything from a month to two months. The cost of living crisis hammered me this winter, and the protracted interview processes drain my finances. So, I’m in trouble."
"It saddens me to sell my original MediEvil game design archive. But if it helps me to continue to look for full-time work and keep a roof over my head (and not put my cat into a shelter), then it’ll help. The cost of such a collection will not be cheap."
"It is very embarrassing to write this thread," he admits. "But when in need, you have to know when to ask for help. I’ve helped others in the past and given many their first break in the industry, so I hope fortune and fate will smile for me if I can survive a little longer."
He adds that he has acknowledged the many recommendations he has received to turn this archive into a published book but says it's not an option. "Sadly, I do not own the MediEvil IP and would fall foul of Sony’s legal department. And if Sony were to publish such a work/book remastered from my original work, I would receive no royalties."
Wilson has been working as a prolific creator of graphic novels recently, with Surface Tension and Coal Face – The Devil in the Smoke being two of his latest ventures.