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You just want it to be a little bit more than it is, and you know it could have been if they had had time.
MM: The thing that happens is that, especially with smaller listed publishers, they have financial pressures to meet their quarters. It's earnings per share on the short term cutting their long-term success.
If you put out an okay title, it's not gonna make much of a dent in the market. It might help you in that three-month period, but if you put out something great, that might actually have strategic significance for your company.
In that way, I feel that it's a bit short-sighted. I understand why it is the way it is, but that doesn't mean that I like it.
Well, Call of Duty wouldn't be where it's at now if they had just pushed it out the door.
MM: Yeah. That's true. That's true.
But you can't say, again, when the first one came out, they could have predicted that it'd be where it's at now.
MM: That's true, and I have to say that I have a huge amount of respect for the guys at Infinity Ward. They've constantly improved on what they've done. I played the first Modern Warfare; it was kind of an "Okay. This is the end; you've reached the logical progression. We've reached the peak."
Then they come up with Modern Warfare 2, and it's even better! That, for me, was... I'm humbled by stuff like that -- that they're able to do that. Hopefully, Wake, in its own genre, will do a lot for thrillers and kind of be the first psychological action-thriller in games and define that space.
I think it's something that we want. If you look at the other games that are in the thriller-ish genre -- Heavy Rain is completely not an action game, and Silent Hill was psychological, but plodding. I think that we're crying out -- at least, I feel like we're crying out -- for a little bit more of a rounded genre.
MM: Yeah. I hope that we're not that far away from being able to share the whole game with the world. Folks have played, and we've had a really warm reception. It's been nice; comforting, after this long journey. (laughs)
I don't know. The thing is, you need to appeal to both. Games are interactive, right? I mean, it's almost mundane, but what the player does -- how that feels -- at least for me, it's at least as important as what you show them and tell them in terms of the story.
It's an interactive medium! Making that gameplay fun; but on the other hand, it shouldn't take away to actually augment and help the storytelling in a way. You can have both. It's just finding the right pacing and balance that I think is tricky.
How was working with your writer?
MM: I've worked with Sam [Lake]... Well, ever since I was there, so eleven years? He wrote both Max Payne games, and I think he did some minor writing for Death Rally, back in the day. I think, back then, he could only use so many words because they ran out of memory and cut his writing out.
But anyway, Sam's a great guy to work with, and we now also have a second writer who works with him. We've used an external drama consultant always -- well, at least for the last seven or eight years. Microsoft also has an editor who will help. So I think it's very much Sam's story and Sam's vision of what he wants; there's a lot of him. I'm not saying it's autobiographical, but you put a lot of yourself into it as a writer.
Sam's one of those really down-to-earth -- he's a great guy to work with. Always, it's a team effort, but when you have somebody who's accessible and open to other people's ideas and still has his own kind of direction of what he wants to achieve, those are easy people to work with.
We're very much more than colleagues after all these years; it's more like a family and a team working together. We've traveled around the world with them, and we've been through thick and thin. We were there when things weren't as smooth in the beginning, just trying to shoestring it, and then been through some successes together. That builds and kind of binds you together as well.