Do you find that in the wake of the popularity of Guitar Hero, you're having to fend off more offers to develop games?
KY: Definitely, yes. We've been very lucky that a lot of publishers have really looked at us to do titles for them. We haven't unfortunately been able to cater to all the requests, but definitely it's been very good, and hopefully it'll lead to bigger and better things in the future, for everybody.
Is it easier for you guys to work
with U.S.-based publishers, since you speak English with a native fluency?
KY: Definitely it's one of the things that I'm really pushing for. To answer your question, it's definitely easier to do, not to mention that it's something that I would want to do personally, and will probably do sometime in the future very soon. Yeah, it's all a good thing.
There's another element to this -- and Gamefest ties into this -- where the development houses in Japan are very closed in. Companies don't share tech, don't use a lot of middleware, and they do a lot of custom stuff for a title. Do you think iNiS is more able to take advantage of the Gamefest-style environment and this information because you can personally come here and participate? And also, do you think that this mentality is spreading in Japan during the next generation?
KY: Well, I definitely think that we
have an advantage, especially for me. I'm kind of used to this. It's
more alien to me sometimes when we can't talk about stuff, like in Japan.
At the same time, I think that Japanese developers are starting to feel
the pressure, and there is definitely a need for quicker speed, in terms
of getting an idea and getting games up, and getting them up at a certain
quality level right now. So yeah, I think that more and more developers
will be looking to middleware. I don't know if you know, but the Unreal Engine is starting to get licensed to a lot of developers in Japan.
There are some real high-profile Unreal Engine games -- The Last Remnant from Square Enix, and of course Microsoft's Lost Odyssey. There are some more, but those are probably the highest-profile.
KY: Definitely. And as you know, the RPG genre is very big in Japan, so it's very important to have RPG developers on that middleware bandwagon. It'll definitely help those companies.
Xbox Live Arcade is also a very hot topic here, and in general the download services are taking off. What do you think about that market?
KY: Well, first of all, from a development
standpoint, I really love it, just to be able to say, "Oh, I have
this cool idea. I couldn't sell it for a retail box, but it might be
really cool for a five-dollar download." So you can get a lot of
interesting and neat ideas that otherwise wouldn't be realized. At the
same time, I'm looking at the performance figures, and there is definitely
a cap to what you can do. As long as you can work within those confines,
I think it's a really great platform that'll continue to grow, definitely.
Do you think it's
sort of a problem that the download services for the three consoles
all kind of have their own quirks? Does that limit them?
KY: From my perspective, it's cool if we could create one game and share it across platforms and download services, that's one thing. I think that'll be the future, definitely. But at the same time, for us especially, we build games that really take advantage of the hardware that we're targeting, whether it be PlayStation or the DS or Wii. So it doesn't really make sense for us to want cross-platform capability there, because we always just tune to the hardware, not just in performance, but in the IO -- the input and the output, definitely, I think, is very custom, clearly. It doesn't match for us, but I can see where that would become very important in the future. You'd probably want to do more of that, going out.