GS: Is Game Studio Express also going to launch there? I know Japan has an incredibly good independent games community that has not been tapped by the 360 yet.
DM: We've actually launched XNA Game Studio Express internationally, and that 250,000 download figure includes a pretty good contingent of folks in Japan that have downloaded, and all throughout Asia as a matter of fact. I can show you samples of what a Japanese game developer has done, picking this up and creating a very Japanese looking and feeling game based upon that.
SK: And then also the universities.
DM: Yes, we've got over eighty universities from eight countries that are teaching, including Japan. In Japan, we've got Iwatani-san, the creator of Pac-Man, extremely excited about getting into the possibilities of Express. As a result, when he retires, he is going to be teaching at Tokyo Polytechnic University, using Game Studio Express to teach game design to future game developers.
We also have the University of Tokyo -- the list just keeps growing in terms of Japanese university support of Game Studio Express, and localization for the Japanese language is also planned on the horizon as well, to expressly support Japan.
GS: Do you know if Bungie has a second team working on their episodic games?
SK: Bungie is a pretty big studio, and I think the way you should think about most studios is that there's a difference between production teams and creative design teams. A lot of studios have multiple design teams that are thinking of their next thing. Some of those things are known, and some aren't.
I don't think Bungie's any different. I know that we are working with Peter Jackson on the next installment in the Halo series and that we've had that planning going on, and when one production team is finished with Halo 3, they need to be ready to move on to the next thing. That's really how you manage the life cycle of a studio.
GS: How involved is Peter Jackson?
SK: He's very involved. There's great collaboration going on between Bungie and Peter, which is really fun to watch.
GS: He's kind of a crazy guy.
SK: You think so? I found him to be one of the most normal Hollywood people I've ever met, though he's from New Zealand, so that's could explain it.
GS: I've seen his early movies.
SK: He does have an interesting background. When I visited him down in New Zealand, I saw some movie posters for those. He's a big horror guy. He's a great guy -- he's in this for the right reasons. It's not about a Hollywood guy wanting to make games -- because there's plenty of those guys -- or a guy who wants to see games made out of his movies. He really wants to try to create something new.
GS: Now it's Spielberg versus Peter Jackson, so we'll see what happens there.
SK: Fortunately those guys are good friends. I don't know that they look at it [as a competition], and I wouldn't want to position it that way!
GS: Any plans for Zune and Xbox 360 interconnectivity in a bigger way?
SK: Nothing specific to announce, but the strategy and the vision for Robby Bach's entertainment device division is about connective entertainment and about bringing all forms of entertainment together via software, which is something we feel like we're in a position to do. Obviously Zune is part of Robby's division.
We've already built great digital entertainment integration directly into the Xbox 360, and also provided connectivity to your home media network through Media Center integration. I think it's logical that the Zune with those scenarios as they start to get more and more integrated in the future.
GS: Can you say what [Panzer Dragoon director] Yukio Futatsugi is working on?
SK: Mr. Futatsugi is working closely with Sakaguchi-san on Sakaguchi-san's projects. As an MGS Japan employee, he's working really closely on those projects. Those are the big things we're really working on in Japan.
GS: Thanks Shane!