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Interviews

THQ's Danny Bilson Pt. 1

VP of Core Games talks UFC, future titles

Page 2 of 2

And obviously this year you'll have competition from EA and its MMA game. How will that affect your plans?

Not at all. How do American football games do without the NFL? Not too well. I really enjoyed that all-pro football game with the historical players in it, but it couldn't sell. I used to work [at EA], they're my friends. Good luck to them.

I don't know what to say but I think they're at a tough road with that game. I mean, do you think of MMA first or do you think of UFC first?

What's the next year going to be like for THQ?

The next year for us starts in a week, right? April 1 is our fiscal year. The next year is going to be a good year like this year was. But in core it takes me two, three years to build an awesome game, so you have to realise that if we rebuilt a year or so ago and I started a bunch of stuff... this year I've got some new really cool games coming out.

Zoom

We've announced them; Homefront, WWE, UFC and the new Red Faction - which is semi-announced and absolutely cool, it's very different. Next year is good but the hint I'm giving you is that I've started a lot of really cool stuff and it takes two or three years to make that stuff. Homefront is one of the things I started, Space Marine is another one on the Warhammer license - that's coming right after '11, early '12 probably.

What you're going to see is a ramp. You're going to see us go like that [indicates hand going through air]. In 2012/2013 we're going to drop the MMO, which we've announced a little bit - the Warhammer 40k MMO. It's been in developed for years already. It is awesome. I mean, awesome. I just came from Austin and the Games Workshop guys were down from Nottingham and we're all super excited about that.

I have lots of exciting stuff and if you talk to me at E3 I'll have announced some new stuff which I'd love to tell you about right now but I'm being a good citizen and I can't. We are really rebuilding this company in a very cool way. It's all about good games. I don't have a bunch of complex strategies, I have one. I'm a hardcore gamer myself - I play videogames - and like many people who play videogames I have a sense of what a good game is.

I have almost thirty years of playing videogames like an addict. I feel like we've got some really great stuff coming but most importantly the way I run this division is I won't ship it. I won't ship it until it's ready, until it's good. And that's a really hard thing to say and a really hard thing to do for a public company when you're dealing with quarterly expectations.

Is Red Faction 4 an example of your dedication to good games? Guerrilla did very well critically, but didn't quite meet its sale targets. Why do you persevere?

Because I believe that that game has been played by a lot more people than the amount we sold. Because it's a very good game. There is a fan base out there for it that's a lot bigger than the number of people that bought it. Combine that with all of the insane upgrades you'll see to the game that you'll see at E3 this year... it's different from the last one but similar. It's sort of a combo of the old one and the new one, so it's... I don't want my marketing guy to be pissed at me for giving away too much, but it goes back underground and it's really cool. I don't know how much I can say.

The things that I think were the problem with Guerilla were not the gamplay but the IP. Being in a dusty environment for a long period of time could get a little monotonous. It's almost simple things like that.

I think the story is way more intense this time and I think the story was way secondary to the gameplay last time. It's more integrated this time and it's a cooler story, it's cooler environments and there are elements in it that have never been in a Red Faction before as far as enemies go and... ahh (laughs).

Check back later this weekend for part 2 of our interview, in which Danny discusses Saints Row 3, THQ's Natal plans and making movies...

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