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Danny Bilson's final farewell: 'I've learned a lot in the last four years'

THQ Core Games exec in his final interview with CVG

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Of course there was unfortunate news surrounding the development of Devil's Third this month...

BILSON: That one's really disappointing to me personally. I love and admire the Valhalla team. I'm a huge fan of the game and what they've built. But what's happened at THQ is we only have so much capital to invest and there are various reasons that we have shifted that into other projects, but it was not the product quality of that game that was the reason. They were more business reasons and internal reasons.

Devil's Third is a tremendous game. Three of the single-player levels are practically done and the rest of it is all blocked, and the multiplayer is phenomenal. It's a huge disappointment to me personally to have to refigure that one. We're looking for a partner to come in and co-invest in that game and whether we publish it or not, I have nothing but respect for Itagaki-San and his team - I just wrote them an e-mail 20 minutes ago.

It's a great game and great team and I really want to see that game released and the team succeed, because they're great people and great game makers.

So is the situation still very much in the air as to whether you're going to publish it or not?

BILSON: Yes, there's no decision.

Can you reassure our readers that your other long term projects, Del Toro's InSane and the Patrice Disellets project won't suffer the same fate?

BILSON: Oh yeah. I was just in Montreal with Patrice [Desilets, former Ubisoft development guru now at THQ Montreal] last week. He's deep in to preproduction on a game - all the concepts and layouts are there and there are certain things that are built. We won't be announcing it for a while but it's quite spectacular.

InSane, I was just talking to Guillermo the day before yesterday. He's been off making a big movie and then he's go another one, but he's been saying "why don't we get together, I want to get back to work". There's a lot more to do on InSane and I will be talking more about it in the future.

Those sound like exactly the sort or projects you're passionate about.

BILSON: You know what, this is pretty true in that the portfolio isn't the large - I don't know who's is anymore - but it's not about the quantity of games it's the quality. As a creative manager it's actually more sane to be able to see all of the games on my wall and not have to have four walls of games that I can barely keep track of, and really focus on and invest in them. It's pretty exciting.

There no shortage, really, of games and we hope to be able to continue to grow certain franchises in success. As you said, I don't think there would be anything in the portfolio that I wasn't excited about because there's not much legacy stuff and I also say, doing a job like mine, even if it's a game that you may not play - because there are a million genres - in this job we find inspiration even from the ones that we don't play because it's out job to support those and manage them.

In my portfolio I absolutely like everything and I really like the teams that are making them and the teams that are selling them. Believe me, I look forward to this kind of consistency that you're seeing today over the coming years with THQ, where any there's five or six games a year but they're all really cool and well made. Thats what my job is going forward and yeah, I really like this stuff.

How has 'THQ's Infinity Ward', Volition, evolved during your reign?

BILSON: Volition is a big studio but very much like Infinity Ward we want to see them really work on building and growing Saints Row as they have. There's a lot of focus on that there right now with Enter the Dominatrix coming and the next Saints Row is well underway and very exciting. We're like, 'ok you've hit this plato, what can you do next?' and I that they're doing incredible work.

I think they've just shipped their best game, I think it was a box of fun, and I think the next two are going to be even more fun.

Tell us more about the status of Homefront 2 at Crytek UK.

BILSON: I actually spent a week with Crytek about a month ago, I guess right before it started raining in the UK. I'm having a wonderful time with them. I love those guys and I love what they're doing with the game. I can't wait to share that one with the public. I'm really excited about what they're doing with Homefront - it's incredible.

And that's another huge property for THQ - the original did very well...

BILSON: It was a big success, but there are things we can improve and absolutely they are improving them. We're still in a long pre-production and I'm cautious along the way - I've learnt a lot over the years. But so far, so good. I'm really, really excited about what they're doing with that game.

With new consoles seemingly just around the corner, is now a good time to invest in original IP?

BILSON: I think it's always a good time to be investing in original IP, because original ideas mean fresh ideas and ideally fresh experiences for consumers - not something they've seen somewhere else or played before. I'm a huge believer in original IP. It's definitely what I was brought in to this company to work on. It's exciting to do it. If you're getting at when's the best time to release new IP...

Traditionally the end of a console cycle hasn't been the best time to release new IP...

BILSON: Traditionally. I don't know if the traditions are going to apply to this cycle. But we won't be late to the next one and there's more original IP in our pockets.

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