You're known for making shooters, but are you keen to develop in other genres and time periods too?
Certainly we're looking at it. As a company we can't just make shooters, we need to breed genuinely new forms of entertainment and interactive experiences, and I think Kingdoms is a new interactive entertainment experience. Working with Microsoft allows us to do something really new and awesome from our perspective, and from gamers' perspective I think they'll have a very different experience with Kingdoms.
We're looking at new challenges for the company and thinking about what experiences and types of games people may want to play. Whatever it is, we will try to do. The genre may not even exist yet for that matter, so what we're keen on is games that offer new experiences for every moment the gamer plays. This has been at the core of the evolution of new IPs at all of our studios.
Was there a particular reason that you chose to do an Xbox 360 exclusive over PS3 and how did that opportunity come about?
In a way it has been one of my personal goals to make a platform exclusive first-party game. I think it's very exciting as a company because you're exposed to certain things that you wouldn't otherwise be, and from a company treatment perspective, and also from a partnership perspective, it is very exciting.
It has already proved different working on Kingdoms with Microsoft compared to working with multiplatform publishers, for example. I'm not saying it's good or bad but it's different and provides new learning opportunities and develops our mentality as a company. And generally, I think that the Xbox 360 is a platform that has not yet been maximised, but that's true for the PS3 as well to be fair.
But I think when we put Crysis 2 out we will show a level that is, multiplatform-wise, maxing out, but we will look into with Microsoft how Kingdoms can push the Xbox 360 110 percent, to its limits. When you're spending a multimillion budget only on the Xbox 360, that team will be able to crank out the last two or three percent left in the console. But I think that two or three percent will make the difference potentially between day and night that you cannot afford if you go multiplatform.
Now that you've experienced developing for both consoles, do you feel either of the consoles has more life in it than the other?
I think Kinect may actually give 360 some quite long legs now in fact. It was a really smart, risky, ballsy move for Microsoft. Its success is evidence that the decision was right and the convergence between the casual market and hardcore market is potentially something that could give it longer legs. For example, Kinect games may become triple-A titles. Kinect games are currently very casual, mainstream focused and designed to expand the market, but within two or three years it may be that Kinect plays home to triple-A productions.
I don't know. Maybe, maybe not (laughs). What I mean is that it may give the 360 legs that the competitors don't have, which could change the landscape quite a lot.
Have you had any access to the 3DS or PSP2 and are you interested in developing for handheld platforms in the future?
Maybe. I can't really talk about that at the moment, so let's see what time brings.
You acquired Free Radical Entertainment, which is now Crytek UK and working on Crysis 2 multiplayer. How is the studio coming along?
Generally, I love working with our UK friends. The team has been performing up to the quality bar easily. Our thinking was that the team had done 80-85 rated games, and we thought that with the right technology, IP and global IP direction they could reach the 90 barrier. I'm very confident that they can do that.
They've done a tremendous amount of detailed work and fine experiences in the multiplayer space that confirms what we thought they could do. That makes us as a company very happy because we get a top notch experience. Today we have around 70 plus team members working on multiplayer only. That's a huge commitment from our company and was only possible because Free Radical had that capacity and was able to grow quite fast after we took it over.