GS: It’s good to hear that Nintendo will be doing some actual third party Live Arcade-type stuff, because I was under the impression it would be majority retro stuff.
PO: Yeah, that’s not what we’re proposing at all, we’re proposing new, fun games. One of the things we’ve had problems with in the past few years, and if you know Dizzy, you know mine and Andrew’s background. When we were writing these games years ago, you could pretty much just come up with any idea. You go –‘you know what? Jet skis, they’re cool, let’s do a game about them.' Then a few months later, the idea of fighting ghosts or whatever is pretty cool. Let’s do that. Essentially you kept going ‘that’s a bit cool, let’s do a game about that.' But in the last few years, it’s been impossible! You go ‘that’s cool, but oh, well, we can’t do anything with that!' We’ve had a devil’s own job trying to sell Possession. We think zombies are really, really cool, but trying to convince publishers to sort of part with it, and it is a lot of money, and I can understand it from the other side, there’s an awful lot of money at stake, so you can see what the problem.
With Live Arcade, you say ‘that’s a bit cool, that’s worth five dollars of anybody’s money,' and we can just do it! And the games will be pretty cool. The technology that we’ve actually got here, our engine is kind of straight onto the Xbox 360, and it runs on Sony’s EDI system, which will be renamed obviously, and it’ll run on the Nintendo system, because you know we’ve got a launch title on the Wii with SpongeBob, so our engine is completely road tested. So we’re effectively letting Chris Swan and all his people, just have all that technology and make some cool games. While they could be 2D games, what’s the point? It’s kind of easier for them to do 3D games, and basically just don’t make them huge. But they can make some really fun 3D games on subjects which in the past haven’t justified a $40 price tag.
GS: Do you think it’ll be possible to do one game across multiple platforms, or will you have to tailor make games for each system?
PO: I believe, and the line that Sony and Microsoft and everybody uses is ‘individual negotiation.' What I’m hoping is that our games are good enough that we will have a good hand in negotiating (laughs). But I believe it’s an individual negotiation. If they’re funding them, they’re pretty much going to make them exclusive, I’d imagine. If the developer is funding them, then I’d think the developer’s got this sort of stronger hand, and more high ground to say come on guys, you don’t need an exclusive on this. But to be honest we’re yet to see on that one.
GS: Have you heard about this LiveMove thing?
PO: No, I haven’t, but I do think that with the controller the people at Nintendo were absolute geniuses. Two years ago, because obviously we saw some early dev kits, you just saw what Microsoft and Sony were doing, and the amount of processing power they were putting into these things, and how much it was going to cost them to make these machines, and it’s just like jesus, these two heavyweights going up against each other, and there’s Nintendo on the sidelines and I’m thinking ‘guys, I wouldn’t like to be where you’re sitting right now.' How the hell are you going to compete with that?
And to be honest, they said ‘we’ve got something coming, and it’s going to be a revolution,' and I’m thinking I don’t know what you’ve got, but I can’t see how you can compete. But then coming out with what they’ve come out with, it’s like –that’s genius! Basically these two heavyweights have gone in with sledgehammers, and you’ve come in with this sort of very nice small hammer which suits so many of the customers down to the ground very very nicely, and does what they need.
There’s the hardcore market, the ‘I expect an epic and I’m willing to pay for it’people, and they tend to be your sort of 16+ or whatever, and Microsoft and Sony have gone after those big time. But there’s this other market, the sub 16, and I know I’m really generalizing there, but they just want good value for money, and fun. And let me tell you, that controller gives you fun. And the processing power inside the machine is good enough. It’s good enough to make any fun game that you want to. And that controller will give you kind of new and original games that the other platforms can’t even do, with all their power. It’s a masterstroke, I have to say.
But I think with the other platforms, and I know I’m being politically correct here, I like doing epics too, and it’s great to have these machines that’ll be so famously powerful, that we’ll have games that look better than movies.
GS: It is good to be able to do both…so do you think the Wii will be able to take back some of the European market for Nintendo?
PO: Well, Nintendo seems to have been making a profit over the others, and I think both the 360 and PS3 will do really well, but specifically I know that with the sub-16 year olds, when we talk to publishers like THQ, and they have a Nickelodeon game, they say ‘well we’ve got to have it on Wii, and maybe not the other two.' So they’ve basically taken a huge slug of the market exclusively. I think each of them will sort of take equal slices, really. I think that’ll be good for everybody.