I saw on your blog that you went to visit a museum for planes after E3, so I wonder if that's connected to this.
TI: Certainly, yes.
Do you find it important that you have hands-on experience with this hardware? A lot of studios would delegate that research to others.
TI: I'm not the sort of person who makes games by looking at other games. My inspirations lie in real-life, in completely different things.
A lot of companies hire ex-soldiers or military consultants to advise them. Is that something you'd do, or do you prefer direct experience?
TI: Well, among my friends, I have a colonel in the Japanese army and a commander in the navy. That's the JSDF, I mean, which is the military, really; it's called the Self-Defense Force mainly for political reasons.
I've also had a look at a firing session for the newest MBT (Main Battle Tank); I got to see it firing off these shots and take pictures, and you could really feel it, too. I wonder how many people would know what the shockwave feels like when the MBT fires its 120mm gun.
In Battlefield 3, for example, you have a scene with a MBT firing away with its cannon while running along in the middle of the desert. The speed of sound is about 340 meters per second, but it fires really quickly, so the fire can reach targets several kilometers away very quickly. Battlefield runs at 30 frames per second on consoles, so it's not possible to actually show it at that frame rate.
If something explodes from two kilometers away, you'll hear the sound of it six or so seconds afterward. That's reality, but in the world of entertainment, there's more of an emphasis on making things easier to understand. It's like how you can hear the explosions in outer space during Star Wars. So, when something explodes, you just hear the sound, and when a 120mm gun fires, you can see it in action.
I mentioned that I don't rely on other games while I'm making my own, but that doesn't mean I'm not playing them, either. At that same time, though, if you want to make a real breakthrough in this genre, it's going to have come through realism. So, again, I don't want to be misunderstood here -- I'm really excited about playing Battlefield on both consoles and the PC. I just want gamers to realize the difference between entertainment and reality.
To go back, how did you get interested in pursuing this? Was it because it's the hottest area of competition right now, or are you interested in the genre itself?
TI: Well, I'm a military nut, an otaku. I also thought there was ample opportunity to really break into this genre. I'm not about to make a chess game, because that genre has already been pretty well perfected. There are good shooters out there, of course, but the genre hasn't been perfected yet.
What will make it perfect?
TI: Well, if I told you that, I'd be disclosing some of our ideas before their time.
But I get the impression, nonetheless, that this game isn't following in the footsteps of Modern Warfare and Battlefield.
Just like you'd say Ninja Gaiden wasn't your average ninja game, I get the sense that this isn't your average shooter. Is the way to perfect it to bring new stuff to it, or to bring up the level of detail, as you said?
TI: There are a few things, or ideas, that I feel need to be implemented in shooters that haven't shown up yet. If you're working on a war-themed title, there are a few things that have to be in there.
TI: Well, if you look at military-themed games, do you really feel like it's a battlefield you're seeing?
Not at all.
TI: That's my answer.
But when I look at your games and think about the question of realism versus entertainment, I'd say you go towards entertainment.
TI: Well, certainly, these games are made for the sake of entertainment, but these games really just drift too far from reality.