You've said you judge success purely by sales - why do you think so many critically-acclaimed games fail to sell? Should they be considered failures?
Well, most people buy things that other people like; they're less interested these days in seeking out something that appeals only to them. They want to have fun with other gamers. You might think, 'That one looks more interesting to me,' but that's not the one you buy; you get the same thing as everyone else. That's unavoidable. There definitely are a lot of games that are fun to play but don't sell, but that simply means that the people who made them and the people who play them are not in sync. It's a very sad thing, but personally I strive to make games that don't put me in that position!
But are those games failures?
No, I wouldn't say that. But there's always a reason why games sell or do not sell. It's not to say a game that sells well is good and a game that sells poorly is bad, but things that sell well do so for a reason. If a good game doesn't sell, it means something aside from the actual gameplay was amiss. This is not unique to games.
How much does cost shape your creative thinking?
For me, I think if I make something interesting then it will sell, and if there is high expectation it makes sense to spend a lot of money making it. Some producers will feel pressure from those big budgets and some will not. Personally, having that pressure actually makes me happy. I wouldn't say I don't feel any pressure, but I don't feel very much pressure really.
Response to Binary Domain has been mostly positive; have you had any feedback that's made you rethink any of it?
Oh, sure - on the web, at shows, we listen to what people have to say, and at the shows I also get a lot of data: shortest play time, longest play time, average number of kills, how many seconds it took to kill an enemy, how many times the player died. Absolutely reams of data, and the team analyse it and think about the reasons behind the results. And we look at how people react at certain points, and compare that with the reactions we'd expected them to have. I pay a great deal of attention to that and the things people are saying online.
Common comparisons include Vanquish, Gears Of War and Mass Effect. Do those seem fair to you?
That's just inevitable. I often hear Vanquish - look, it's a 'Made in Japan' sci-fi third-person shooter, so sure, I get it. But people used to compare Yakuza with Shenmue, and now they no longer say that; once you get your hands on it, you realise it's different. So it's up to us to really highlight how the game is different when we market it.
I don't like my games being compared with others, but it's just a fact of life. It's not so bad to be compared with such big titles, but as a creator, I want to highlight the things about my game that are original and have people try it for themselves.
The Hollow Children seem like Blade Runner or I, Robot's cyborgs with the malevolence of Terminator. Were these among your reference points?
Yes, I've seen all of those films and I like them all; I couldn't say they've had no influence whatsoever. But if anything, I've been extremely conscious to ensure the game is different, precisely because they've had some influence on me. It's up to us to make sure the game stands apart from anything else. Those films are more like antithetical reference points.