I think those other tools are probably like, situational happenings that make you feel like you're in the universe and integrated there.
SS: So-called non-invasive cutscenes or whatever, right?
Right. Scripted events that make good sense, like the ones which happen in Call of Duty 4. The best implementation of story I've seen is probably BioShock, because you have to search for it. You have to find the story.
SS: You're talking about the little voice-overs?
It's cool, because you can ignore it if you want, but it's kind of neat.
SS: Creepiest moment in games is in System Shock 2, putting those recordings on. Did you play System Shock 2?
I actually didn't. I'm remiss.
SS: It's tricky, but I remember there's one part where you get the recording of the doctor who's gone insane, and you can hear it in his voice -- the straining and the insanity -- and he's talking about Nurse Bloom
And of course, just at this moment as he's speaking through the dialogue, you turn the corner -- and it's 1999 graphics -- but you turn the corner and you see this body on a table that's obviously female, and you feel a flush going up your face. Some of that stuff is brilliant for sure.
Yeah, that's good stuff. Have you
anything to say in the Quebec versus Ontario debate that has recently...?
SS: Is there a debate?
Just a small one.
SS: Does this have to do with government funding and so on?
It does. It has a lot to do with that.
Because you Ontario guys don't get it.
SS: We don't get as much. Well, I think Telefilm has now opened it up for game developers in Canada, which I think is going to be pretty helpful for us as well. I don't know. I think this probably for my boss to talk about more than me, because he has to pay everyone. (laughs)
Fair enough. Do you have any plans to sell your technology at any point?
SS: Well, maybe. But I think that the
kind of people who I look up to, technically -- the Naughty Dogs and
the Insomniacs [don't]. It's hard to say. I think it would be nice,
but it would definitely be gravy, and it wouldn't be a company focus.
I don't know. Is that part of their competitive advantage? I'm not sure.
In some ways, it seems like companies
are selling a kind of supplemental business, in a way, and also to keep
them going when they're not working on a project or stuff like that.
But also, when people do weird things to their engine, they can be like, "Oh, look what they did. We can do that!"
SS: Sure. I think Epic sort of hit
that perfect storm for market penetration, and those guys have... I
think they've had to grow a lot to accommodate that. But they've always
done a great job on their tools, as much as everybody likes to bitch
and moan. Their stuff is nothing short of amazing.
It's true that not everybody wants to work on a tool that doesn't wind up getting used in the game that you are making.
SS: For sure. The f*cked up thing is,
I think a lot of people will get these engines. You see a lot of slips,
or you see massive teams -- even compared to ours -- where a guy comes
back and says, "Did you realize that this team is like 60 guys
with 10 people on programming stuff... and they started with Unreal
3 as well! What the f*ck are you guys doing?" You know? It's a
little bit out of control. So, scope management's tough.