GS: So with the Burger King games, did you have free reign in design, or no?
PO: There’s an interesting question! We approached this from the idealistic position that they know their products, and we know video games, and tell us what your products are, and we’ll make some cool video games from them. They had an awful lot of ideas, and they really wanted us to adopt a lot of their ideas. We eventually came down on a compromise, and the compromise was they get to fully design one, we get to fully design one, and we have one in the middle.
The one in the middle was a racing game, and that’s obviously Pocketbike Racers, where basically they really, really wanted their characters on pocketbikes. But they would let us worry about the actual mechanics of that.
Sneak King is derived by them, purely from their commercials. It was basically ‘here’s our commercials, we have to have a video game around them.’They threw in all their ideas, and we made it work. With Bumper King, they pretty much let us have free reign. They basically said ‘we know you want to do your own game and everything, just make sure it’s kind of Burger King lighted.’So that’s Bumper King.
GS: Well I’m looking forward to it, especially Sneak King. I’m a vegetarian and I’ll be going in and buying them. Without the food, of course.
PO: Well yeah, there’s that. Does Burger King do vegetarian things, I don’t know! They must have something.
GS: They may, but even if they do I’m sure they cook it on the same grill, and I’m not about to do that.
PO: Yeah, I suppose –my wife always gets a salad if she ever has to eat in these places, because she’s a vegetarian. She’s like, 'I don’t trust these places, it’s all the same grill, same utensils.'
GS: Well, she’s right! So, you sort of touched on this, but what demands did they make in terms of product representation?
PO: Well, obviously they’re paying for this, and obviously they’re fully promotional games, so they wanted their characters to be sort of key to all of the games. The King specifically, but also other characters like the Subservient Chicken, god knows who named that. They were quite precious that the characters had to be very big. What we were quite surprised at is that they didn’t make a big deal about advertising holdings, and putting the BK logo all round the place, they just weren’t bothered about that. And since they weren’t, we didn’t feel it was necessary to put them in.
They were quite precious about how their characters were perceived. So our project managers had conference calls with them virtually every day, just about negative things about their characters. Could the characters be seen as almost being defeated, could they be seen to be not very clever in the world, and they really wanted their characters to be seen as very very positive. Strange, but that’s what they were very precious about. Less so about their logo!
PO: It was a bit curious, but we were happy to oblige. The thing is, Blitz has to work with licensees all the time, it’s kind of what we’re known for. So we basically take on the clients' views, and we’re happy to oblige.
GS: I found it a little odd that they went with a British company, when Burger King is so American. I was thinking maybe they wanted somebody who actually had a king?
PO: Very good. I have to say, this is blowing our own trumpet, but name a company that’s got its own technology, is on 360, is known for licenses on time, on schedule. All the years we’ve been trading we’ve never missed a deadline, and we’ve had some pretty tight timelines in the past, and have always shipped pretty decent games. So, we’ve kind of got a reputation to hit the deadlines when it matters, for licenses.
Also, I think people like Fusion Frenzy, and the Burger King people already knew Fusion Frenzy, so the minute our name was put forward by Ross, to them, they said ‘what, the guys that did Fusion Frenzy? Cool.’And Fusion Frenzy took 8 months to finish, as that was the very first Xbox master ever, so that’s hitting your deadlines!