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Interviews

Sega's Mike Hayes

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

Page 3 of 5

Vanquish is getting a good response - that's our big hope for the release later this year to keep us in the 360/PS3 core game slot.

Then we've got two other big games that we'll be announcing this year for 2011 and 2012. So we're not going to be overly aggressive - but we're going to try to have one or two each year in that segment.

Having succeeded with Aliens is an example - if we can have something like that with Vanquish being successful or one of the others, that helps us gradually increase that market share.

The issue is that when you see Black Ops or Gears costing $50 million dollars-plus, consumers are becoming used to that and that is becoming the benchmark.

So naturally it is harder for others to compete in that unless you're going to commit that kind of money. For us, being more prudent by limiting the number of titles but doing those better and spending more money on them - we hope that strategy will realise a better market share for us. We're definitely very pleased with what we've got in Vanquish.

Just on Alpha Protocol, you had high hopes last time we spoke - you even mentioned that you were hopeful of a sequel. Has that plan taken a dent?
Let's speak very commercially; the game hasn't sold what we've expected, therefore we won't be doing a sequel. The concept was brilliant, though.

You know this whole thing with Metacritic where you have to be in the high 70s to mid-80s minimum [to have any success] - well, with RPGs you have got to be in the late-80s.

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Whilst we had a good game, I don't think we had a game that had enough to get us to that upper echelon and I think that was the issue.

Again, the amount you need to invest to get there is so large because RPGs are naturally big projects. We've decided we won't do a sequel.

You mentioned the massive budgets that go into the Black Ops etc. Although you might not have those budgets readily available, doesn't that help you avoid homogenisation? Bayonetta and Vanquish are not your usual action titles...
That's a very good point. I think a lot of that is driven through how creative the developer is going to be and to an extent the publisher wont get involved in that.

If you've got someone like Platinum Games, who have that that different, quality approach it is an advantage. But of course that is quite difficult to find, especially when you're in a genre that is so well populated.

I think where we sit from a commercial point of view is that the Black Ops, the Gears, the Halos... In terms of the numbers they do they are so phenomenal, but there is a very good market below that.

Zoom

Obviously there's failure underneath, too - so the good news is whilst Vanquish isn't shown at a Sony or Microsoft E3 show, if we can get enough interest with it, get it to a certain level of sales, then we sequelise it.

Then we start having the confidence to put more money in it and be a bit more experimental and sort of be a bigger production. I think where we're positioned right now with Vanquish is correct, and if we're getting some underground praise for it, that will position us quite nicely.

AvP came from nowhere - a number of other publishers have said they didn't expect that to do as well as it has - so I think if we can do a similar thing with Vanquish, we've got a chance. We won't overly trumpet it until it's out there with the consumer.

If we can release that and sell 1 or 1.5 million units across the US and Europe, that is fantastic. We don't expect to sell five million units - it would be nice, but we manage our expectations on it.

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