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Interviews

Sega's Mike Hayes

The publisher's Western president looks to the future...

The last time we sat down with Sega's Western president Mike Hayes, he candidly admitted that the much-loved firm was craving more success with hardcore games on PS3 and 360.

A couple of weeks later, its Aliens Vs. Predator crashed into the No.1 slot of the UK charts.

The Rebellion FPS was Sega's second major hardcore smash hit of 2010 - following the release of Platinum Games' Bayonetta back in January.

But the publisher hasn't finished remedying its relationship with the hardcore just yet - and its biggest triumph of the year may be just around the corner.

Another Platinum title, Vanquish, has won rave early reviews ahead of its October release - with Insomniac Games, no less, labelling the sci-fi shooter its favourite title of E3.

Our view? We tend to agree with our sister mag Xbox World 360 - it really is shaping up to be "the future of third-person shooters". Shinji Mikami is at the helm, so perhaps you shouldn't be surprised.

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All in all, then, Hayes has a lot to smile about.

But, like the rest of Sega, he knows his company is close to finally cracking the hardcore market after years on the periphery - and isn't taking his eye off the ball...

How was E3 for you?
Very good. Our big titles were spread across the platforms again. Sonic Colours got good reviews generally and Vanquish on 360 and PS3 from Platinum games was much loved.

The one I think punched above its weight was our new Kinect game, Sonic Free Riders. Because it's one of the only 'branded' Kinect titles, I think that's appealing - it's retailers I'm mostly getting this from, they're kind of upbeat about that.

It was interesting having the digital games on the stand as well for the first time. We've had two major retailers who are committing to Sonic 4, even though they can't physically sell it [as it's on XBLA and PSN].

They want to promote it so they can sell more points cards, which of course is income for them.

Elsewhere, there's our pièce de résistance, Shogun 2, which is shaping up to be one of the best Total War games we've released.

Zoom

Do you think perhaps the lack of other massive PC titles is helping Shogun sing on the show floor?
Yeah, I hope so. It's interesting, now that you mention it, there wasn't a lot of PC games showing at all - even APB at EA, I thought they would make a bigger noise with that but they didn't.

We never talk about Football Manager at the show but God bless it, there's that going to be as usual in it's right time so I think we'll do very well on PC this year. We're probably a top three PC publisher usually, so hopefully we'll do a little bit better this year with that.

You mentioned your Sonic Kinect game. Do you think that might help you stand out - because you've got that ability to draw the eye of more experienced gamers?
I hope so. You and I talked about this before with Sonic; we've got this big segmentation opportunity, although it's also a real challenge.

We've got to make games that appeal to the 7-to-12-year-old which is exactly what Colours will do - and then we need to appeal to the core gamer, which is what Sonic 4 is doing.

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