To really understand why Phantasmagoria was such a big hit (one million copies sold, back in the days when the industry was a lot smaller), you need to view it in a historical context.
It was “ahead of its time” in many areas:
– First game with live actors
– New user interface
– Controversial subject matter not previously seen in computer games (a rape scene, and it was shot with a nude scene that we later became chicken and yanked)
– We were trying to build a game that could reach beyond the classic “gamers” and bring a new tier of buyers into the market. Specifically, we were saying “is this a game my mom could (or, would want to) play. This worked.
– First experiment with a huge budget.
Phantasmagoria should have been the start of something, but for some reason, the industry didn’t evolve beyond it. If viewed as the first step in an interesting direction, it is interesting.I think that if we had taken the direction we were moving with Phantasmagoria, and evolved it by another 10 years, you would be looking at some very interesting games now.