BS: I've been talking to a lot of Japanese developers for a while about the fact that they are kind of falling behind on technology in games.
MR: I wouldn't say that.
BS: Well, I would say that, and a lot of them would say it too. I was talking to someone recently, and asked if Unreal Engine 3 completely localized in Japanese would help bring people up to speed. And he said, "If that happened all the way, I would be really excited. It would help us a lot."
MR: Yeah. We've localized the tools
in Japanese, but that's difficult to support in Japanese. All of our
support goes through a translator, and you know what happens when things
get translated. It does make a layer of fog between us and them. We're
working on that. We've had some successes and some setbacks, but I think
overall, there is definitely a will there on both sides.
We'd love to be working with more Japanese developers, and I think we definitely have seen -- especially from the Tokyo Game Show... we had a very good Tokyo Game Show, in that respect. We're discussing a lot of interest there, and are talking with potential licensees -- some small developers and large developers -- and it's definitely interest there.
It's just a matter of making sure that we support them properly. As the tools get more mature, and as we ship Unreal Tournament 3, for example the PC version travels around the world, and people start playing with it, and they'll develop their own support structure, much in the same way we've had the Unreal Wiki in the U.S. Hopefully the Japanese people will gradually embrace it and learn it and share with each other.
CN: That's the problem with Japan.
The Japanese development industry...
people who work at different companies or even different departments
in the same company don't talk to each other.
BS: That's the trouble.
CN: But that's not your problem.
MR: I think you'll see some changes
there. I think that this is a very, very smart people, and there are
some amazing companies there. We would love just so many Japanese companies
to be working with us. Where there's a will, there's a way.
Emergent actually started a partnership with Acquire to localize their
tools. Is that going to put pressure on you guys, you think?
MR: No, I wouldn't think so. That's not our style to go through a middleman or a distributor. What would be ideal for us would be to have a native, fluent Japanese speaker who is also a fluent, conversational English speaker, so that when Tim Sweeney says how something works in the engine, it gets translated by somebody who not only understands what Tim Sweeney is saying exactly, but also speaks fluent Japanese and is an engineer and can relate in the same way anybody else on our team can relate that information.
That's the ideal situation, and that's really what we're trying to do in Japan -- to find a good group of people to be working with the technology and learning it and being able to provide direct answers there, and to basically be working for us. So we'll see. We've got some irons in the fire, and we'll see what happens.
BS: I'm curious to know that -- you may not want to speculate on this -- but do you think the PC or the PS3 version of Unreal Tournament 3 will sell better?
MR: In Japan, you mean?
BS: Just in general.
MR: It's hard to say.
BS: Game Developer [magazine] had a postmortem with Puzzle Quest. It's obviously a totally different scale, but those guys are traditionally PC developers based on their old Warlords license. They made the game for DS, but they also made a PC demo.
MR: Oh, that's cool.
BS: But then when the demo came
out, and there wasn't a full PC version, all of their old PC guys were
like, "Where's our game? You're abandoning us! What's going on?"
And so I was just wondering... UT is obviously a very PC...
MR: It's hard to say. We never know how a game is going to sell until it's actually on store shelves. We try not to make those guesses. We had no idea that Gears of War was going to go as crazy as it did. We had an idea, but four million? Come on. You don't even dream about four million. We're over that now, but...
BS: Microsoft was like, "fingers crossed!"
MR: Well, that's still way beyond what we thought. But it's hard to say. I think there's a really good opportunity on the PlayStation 3, because there's fewer titles on there, and the releases aren't as often. I think we're a pretty unique game on that platform -- that kind of pick-up-and-play shooter. Not so much as the role-type shooter game. We're that action, pick-up-and-play, "go have fun," game.
CN: Plus it's a graphical powerhouse.
MR: Yeah. I have high hopes for it on PlayStation 3, but it's hard to say. You look at the sales numbers of games on the platform, and you do see Resistance: Fall of Man has done quite well. I don't know that we'll get to that level, because we're not a first-party game with a big marketing push behind it, but it would be nice.
BS: There are more consoles out there now.
MR: That's the other point. There's lots of consoles out there, and there's certainly players on that platform have embraced shooters, so we'll see. We're known as a PC developer, so that's our main focus.