Our Perilous GDC Chain Interview Stage 1: From Microsoft to Tim Schafer...

I went to GDC with a plan: a plan to connect all of my scheduled interviews into one giant interview. I'd ask the first person I met for a question to ask my second interviewee. And that person would give me a question for the third. For the next three days, I'll show you how it went and how far this star-studded chain stretched before it broke...

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My GDC Chain interview began on Monday, when I met with executives from Microsoft to discuss the new blue Xbox 360 development kit, the Kodu programming language and some XNA details. The XNA man at the meeting would start the chain...

Boyd Multerer, General Manager, XNA aks "Prince of Persia" producer Ben Mattes: "I loved the look of the game. It reminded me a lot of [Ubisoft's 2003 first-person shooter] 'XIII.' I finished 'XIII' and though that could have been a great game. How much of the 'Prince of Persia' look was inspired by that game?"

I took this question to a Ubisoft event being held Monday evening, where I knew I could get an answer...

Ben Mattes responds: "It's a little bit indirect. Michael Labat is the art director for 'Prince of Persia.' He's been at this for quite a while. He worked on 'Prince of Persia: Warrior Within' and 'King Kong.' He is Parisian, French by birth. One of his inspirations was French Band Dessinee [comics]. A lot of reference materials he looked at were things like [the] 'XIII' [comics] that had a distinct visual style. So both games draw inspiration from a small, elite group of comics."

The first question was answered. At that same event, I asked Ben to give me a question for another Ubi developer in attendance...

Ben Mattes asks "Far Cry 2" creative director Clint Hocking: "Clint has a reputation for being one of GDC's best presenters. I'd like to think of myself as someone who can be a talking head when he wants to be. Where does he look for inspiration when he's preparing a presentation?"

I cornered Clint and got an answer...

Clint Hocking responds: "I look for inspiration in the things I care about, in terms of what I am working on -- whatever I'm working on or anticipating working on in the next couple of years. I try to present so that my process of preparing to talk is part of the process of creating the project I'm working on. I just try to be honest, and I try to be rhetorical. I try to take a side and convince people of my opinion."

By the time Hocking gave me that reply, my Monday of reporting was complete. But I knew which game I would see first thing Tuesday and asked Hocking for a question about it...

Clint Hocking asks Sucker Punch, creators of the upcoming PS3 game "Infamous": "My question is, with the shifting demographics in the game industry toward an increasing number of Gen Y players, how do they think a dark, gritty super-hero in a dysfunctional urban environment will appeal to that burgeoning Gen Y demographic?"

On Tuesday morning at the PlayStation Bloggers lounge a half-block from where GDC was being held, Fleming answered...

Brian Fleming, president of Sucker Punch responds: "We're not a bunch of market demographics guys. We looked at super-hero games. We've played the bad super-hero games. We wanted to make a good one. I think the flaw in the argument isn't a gen x or a gen y thing. We want to make a video game super-hero whose powers are built up from the universe of the game. That doesn't come from a marketing focus group. That comes from games we wished were good and us wanting to make a good one."

Once Fleming answered, I made my first Chain Interview mistake. I told Fleming I was going to see "Wanted" next and needed a question for that game. Fleming had a tough time coming up with one he liked. Once he did, I realized that I was going to see a different developer next and asked him for a new question:

Brian Fleming question asks Tim Schafer, developer of the upcoming "Brutal Legend" and the classic "The Day of the Tentacle": "What is our favorite tentacle, and why?"

On Tuesday afternoon I went to Double Fine Productions, where Tim Schafer works, and presented Brian Fleming's question...

Tim Schafer responds: [TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW]