Shane Kim is a busy man, especially during the non-stop slogfest which was E3 this year, with Microsoft generally acknowledged to have run a close second to Nintendo in the conference war and the bid to grab headlines and build momentum from the show.
Not a bad effort considering Microsoft didn't have a whole new platform to unveil and the new hardware it announced was confined to the long awaited Xbox 360 Camera, the interesting though scarecly massively exciting HD-DVD drive and the slightly more intriguing wireless steering wheel.
Nope, this year, for Microsoft, it was pretty much all about the games and as head of MS Game Studios, Shane Kim had plenty to talk about including a raft of huge franchises like Halo 3, Gears of War, Forza Motorsport 2, Viva Pinata, Fable 2 and of course the ultra spoogeworthy GTA IV - with episodic content.
All nailed and covered in this interview naturally , but Kim was also forthright on his opinions on some of the key issues arising out of the show, including the PS3's price point, 'a huge surprise,', how he sees Nintendo's Wii 'they're not really a competitor' and on good form on the continuing issue of an Xbox handheld 'ha!'.
There's a ton of great stuff to get through, so we won't bore you with any further preliminaries but get stuck right into the meat of the action... over to you Mr Kim...
We were all praying you'd show the Halo 3 trailer at your press conference and you didn't disappoint us. How'd it feel to get it out there?
Shane Kim: Didn't I call it the 'mythical Halo 3' when I spoke to you last? You used that quote too!
That's right. So ahem it does exist after all...
Shane Kim: Yeah, it exists! It felt great. It's easily going to be the most anticipated title in the industry and I got goosebumps just watching it. It was a great way for us to end our briefing as opposed to the way some other people ended their briefings.
So I think it was great to get it out there, confirm to people that it will be the third chapter in the trilogy and that Master Chief will be returning to Earth to finish the fight. That anticipation, and lust, and thirst for information will just keep growing now, and I know you're going to keep hitting me up for more information. But you'll just have to wait!
Does the announcement that it will indeed be Halo 3 put any rumours of a spin-off game or something else within the Halo universe to bed?
Shane Kim: Something called Forerunner seemed to be the big rumour and I'm not sure where that came from. But hopefully it puts to bed any concerns or confusion about what Bungie is going to be doing in the Halo universe. They're going to make Halo 3 bigger and better and deliver everything we're all expecting from the next game in such a huge series.
Where do you want the launch of Halo 3 in 2007 to fit in with the PS3's launch in November? Do you want to hit them 6 months down the line, or straight after Christmas?
Shane Kim: [Laughs] I want Halo 3 to hit sometime between January and December 2007! No, that's not really how we think about it. If you just looked at it as a pawn in a chess game then we'd just say, "Halo 3 will be out when the PS3 launches". But that's not how you get the best game possible. At Bungie and Microsoft Game Studios we're completely committed to making the best possible Halo experience for our customers. Whenever the time comes for us to launch I'm confident that it'll be the right time for us versus the competition.