Vidjagame Apocalypse 231 – Bands of Thieves with Walt Williams

This week’s guest is an especially special one: Walt Williams, co-writer of Star Wars Battlefront II, lead writer of Spec Ops: The Line, and author of games-industry memoir Significant Zero (out Sept. 19!). Inspired by Walt’s stories of youthful thievery, we focus this week’s Top 5 on thieves who decided to work together and became like family in the process. (Fair warning, it takes us about an hour and 17 minutes to get there.) Then we get real chatty about Metroid: Samus Returns, new iPhones, SNES Classic reassurances, and your most memorable game-launch stories.

Question of the Week
What’s a game that you’ve made up stories about in your head, whether imagining more about in-game events or writing actual fanfiction?



Theme song by Matthew Joseph Payne. Break song is To Catch A Thief by Lovage. Haunting and beautiful New Releases Theme by David B. Cooper.

This show is brought to you buy Audible. To get your FREE Audio Book & 30-day trial CLICK HERE
lt audible ad

This show is brought to you by GAMEFLY. To get started with your free 30-day trial or a discounted introductory rate of $9.50 a month, CLICK HERE

If ya haven’t checked out the Laser Time YouTube channel, here’s something swell you might’ve missed!


Kingdom Hearts III
Red Dead Redemption 2
South Park: The Fractured But Whole
Death Stranding
Final Fantasy VII Remake
Super Mario Odyssey
Assassin’s Creed Origins
Crackdown 3
Destiny 2
Call of Duty: WWII
Middle-Earth: Shadow Of War
God of War
The Evil Within II
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus
Metro: Exodus
Monster Hunter World
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite

Follow us on Twitter @VGApocalypse!

16 thoughts on “Vidjagame Apocalypse 231 – Bands of Thieves with Walt Williams

  1. QotW: I attempted to write a crossover fanfiction between Starcraft and Warcraft, aptly named “Craft.” I don’t remember much about it but the story goes, the Dark Portal of WC2 somehow intermixed with the Protoss portal technology allowing the Orcs to enter the SC universe. It was then the zergs and Orcs become allies to trump the Humans/Terrans..Protoss are neutral but working to get the Dark Portal to reverse itself so the orcs and zergs would be sucked into Azeroth.

    Yeaah…pretty bad. I know

  2. QOTW: I guess this qualifies as fan fiction, but I’ve gotten a lot of enjoyment out of recontextualizing Metal Gear characters. They’re so ridiculously self-serious and over the top that it’s hilarious to place them into the most banal situations. Seriously, imagine Liquid Snake and Ocelot in the middle of Safeway arguing about whether to buy regular or organic apples. Anyway, my point is that Metal Gear is dumb and should be made fun of always.

    Thanks for the great shows. Also…BOO, MATT! 😉

  3. QotW: Close enough and I wish I remembered all the details. In the age before the internet and having an easy access to VHS movies, a “cool” friend of mine in elementary school watched the second Mortal Kombat movie and I sat in awe listening to him telling me the whole story and what happened to all the characters.

    Years pass and I finally got to watch the movie… and it was NOTHING like how he described it. I realized that the kid made up a whole freaking movie. I don’t know what happend to him but I hope he found a job as a movie maker or at least a really good DM somewhere.

  4. As much as I love Secret of Mana music, it’s kind of distracting hearing it in the background so often. The first segments made me think they’d gotten some new music, but then the SoM kicked in in the third segment. Great music, but maybe not every week.

    I liked Walt’s visit, but I wonder if an hour long special might have worked better for some people than a first segment that breaks the usual format. It worked for me, but I can see some people having problems with it.

  5. QoTW – Forums are screwed, btw.
    I was always into fantasy and so RPGs always drew me in ball deep. So when I first saw games like Magic Sword, Rastan and Golden Axe in the arcades I couldn’t help but make them into fantasy epics in my head.
    Summoning the vast power of imagination that only comes with childhood, I made Axe Battler and Tyris Flare a couple and Brave One and Amazon from Magic Sword a couple and for Rastan’s girlfriend I remember picking a girl from the Sear’s catalog bra section. (Probably from the Xmas catalog)
    Making sure all the muscle dudes had something to bang was about the extent of my boundless childhood imagination.

  6. Great show, guys! Walt was a great guest and the opening segment just discussing his career and work in the games field was super interesting.

  7. QOTW: Currently playing through Skyrim for the first time and when I made my character I realized I made him too attractive. Like he’s distractingly attractive. Like a more chiseled Chris Hemsworth.

    When it came time to make important decision (siding with the stormcloaks, settling the jarl treaty) I realized I hadn’t been paying attention to the lore at all and had no idea what I was supposed to do and I ended up choosing answers at random.

    So from there, my head-canon became that my character was a completely gorgeous chosen-one, with all the brain power of a mud crab.

  8. It’s interesting to hear it from Walt’s perspective. My friend was the EP on Spec Ops: The Line and I had heard quite a bit about the game dev side and working with Walt.

  9. QOTW – When I was in 5th grade, Mortal Kombat was the shit. In school, we had a thing called Young Authors where every student in school had to write and illustrate a story and submit it into a school-wide contest. Being an unoriginal dolt, I made the sure to become classic story “Sub-Zero vs Scorpion.” It was actually not my first idea as my teacher rejected my first one for being “too violent” because it was about some war starring a blatant rip-off of Marvel’s Green Goblin, and yet she was inexplicably okay with this new pitch. I even read the first paragraph to the class and everyone loved it, from what I can remember it was actually pretty descriptive and probably okay, but it was also just the setup for the story. I did not know how to actually go from one plot point to another, so I basically didn’t. It was a mess. And then I beat the newly released home version of Mortal Kombat II with Scorpion and in his ending he vows to become a guardian or something to Sub-Zero, which I felt needed to be in my story for some reason, so the story ends with everyone ceasing fisticuffs (Raiden and Reptile had joined the fight by then, for no reason other than I liked playing as them in the game) and they basically say “let’s be friends!” I did not win the contest.

  10. I know I’ve filled in gaps within games’ stories here and there, but the most concrete example I can think of regarding writing fanfiction is when I wrote and illustrated a short story in second grade about the TMNT using Donatello’s dimensional teleporter to visit the Mushroom Kingdom and meet Mario.

  11. I was busy this weekend, so I just finished this episode today. So question of the week. A series I would pick is Kat Bailey’s favorite, Super Robot Wars, so far most of the games except for three of them have been officially translated into English. Not fluent in Japanese, knowing which menu options does which and some words, I cannot tell you what the story of any of the games. The missions themselves do not require much ingenuity, though it is a Tactics game, but the interludes… I could just make up much abbreviated stuff as I skip through those very lengthy portions. Stories I made up, the main villain , clearly the head of a technomagical empire, is out to steal the quadrant of its twinkies used to satiate his appetites, half the pilots have a running gambling ring about March Madness, and who put the oranges in Bright Noa’s quarters? Yeah they were lame, at least it kept me attentive until the next exciting battle.

  12. My answer to the question of the week is that when the Wii U was announced I had a bunch of ideas for how the dual screens could be used (too bad no actual game devs did) So I fan wrote and designed a Zelda game for it which mixed 3rd person action and RTS. Basically Gannon becomes aware of the death and rebirth cycle so he tries to break it and you have to piece it back together with Zelda leading a rebel army. My full description can be found at

  13. QOTW: Oh christ how do I even get into this.

    I was a huge huge Mega Man fan as a kid, so when I was a teenager and got Mega Man X, I adored it for feeling and looking more grown up, and I imagined it being more cyberpunk and Blade Runner esque in my head. I had a lot of ideas about who X and Zero were as people, and after the reveal that Zero was made by Wily to kill Mega Man, I was captivated by where the story would go.

    I liked to imagine the two were beginning to struggle internally with their own problems, X getting more tightly wound as he tried to suppress not just the knowledge his best friend might try to kill him one day, but knowing that after three big incidents, the dream of peace might never happen no matter how he tries, and that his world is just violence and pain as his friends and allies turn evil. Meanwhile, Zero has died and been remade multiple times, making him not just careless and apathetic, but nihilistic and bitter, thus furthering X’s suspicion and creating a greater divide and fueling aggression and resentment the two bury to try and do their jobs.

    Would the final game end with a once-and-for-all fight as the two once-friends bitterly duke it out? I thought yes, and so you can imagine my horror when X4 came out and instead, X was a goody-good who hated violence but was forced to stand up for his beliefs, and we got the infamous Zero scene of, “What am I FIGHTING FOOOORRRRRRRRRR???” I quietly put that away in my head and decided, nope, that didn’t happen.

    Side note: I’m cannibalizing this into a book I will be releasing next year cause the premise has stuck with me for over a decade. I really like robots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.