So what’s it going to take for you to get back into doing games? Is it just a matter of time, or…?
JR: There’s nothing really holding me away from it. I have opportunities. I’m not waiting for someone to come and give me something or offer me something. It’s more a question of seeing where things go. I’m very focused on flektor.com right now and I’m having a great amount of fun with that. We’ll see. If the right opportunity with the right property and right people to work with, I think, comes together, then I’ll be there.
What do you feel about the current crop of consoles? Where do you feel this current generation is going? It’s a unique one, I think.
JR: It is. I gave a speech in 2004 called “Great Graphics: Who Cares?” And I built Naughty Dog on graphics – Crash looked better than most other games at the time, and that’s what made people look at it – but it’s more about gameplay now. And I think the console manufacturers, as a whole, with the possible exception of Nintendo, have gotten caught up in the technology, and the prices have gotten a little bit out of hand for the end user, and that hampers the launches.
And I would much rather have a console that’s 30% weaker and have three times as many of them in the first year sold, so your game reaches a broader audience, and you can be a little bit more aggressive with your budgets up front and things like that. I don’t think it’s about technology. It’s about entertainment. No one that came to this show today came here to see the next technological advancement.
They came to see the characters, the art, the style, and, if they’re in the game area, the gameplay they love. And I think as an industry we need to realize that we’re now fully entertainment, we’re not technology.
Yeah. I wonder who it is that the console manufacturers are listening to that makes them think it’s all about technology. Because a lot of the success stories that you see are things like Nintendo’s games, or like World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is one of the lower-end graphical (3D) MMOs out there.
JR: Sure. So is Grand Theft Auto. It was never the best looking game. And Guitar Hero, which is taking the world over –
It doesn’t even look that good.
JR: It’s not that good at all! From a visual, technological standpoint. From a gameplay standpoint? Fabulous. And great for the industry. And look at the Wii. People are playing games without a joystick with 20 buttons it. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s a good thing. I think that makes the industry broader and entertains more people. And that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re entertainers.
Right. Do you have any opinion on Naughty Dog’s current status?
JR: Uncharted looks great. I mean, I played it for awhile (at comic con). I haven’t sat down long enough that I’ve really gotten a good feel for the gameplay, but it looks fabulous, and I think they’ve got a hit on their hands. I think it’s amazing. It kind of makes me feel like I should’ve stayed. They’re some of the most talented people in the industry, beyond a shadow of a doubt. And I just congratulate them on such a great game.
You know I thought the lead character looked a little bit like you.
JR: Yeah, I’ve been answering this question for months now.
JR: Honestly, I don’t see the resemblance. I’d point you to Evan Wells (Google him); he runs Naughty Dog now. I think it looks a little more like him, but of course I’m just trying to change the focus to be on him. I guess it’s supposed to be the average man, so I look like the average man, and that’s a good thing, right? I don’t have any odd features. (laughs)