GDC Chain Interview Stage 2 – From Tim Schafer To Reggie Fils-Aime…

The first part of my GDC Chain Interview ended on a cliffhanger: Sucker Punch’s Brian Fleming asking me to ask “Brutal Legend” mastermind Tim Schafer what his favorite tentacle was — and why. Let’s pick it up there and wind our way toward Reggie Fils-Aime.


On Tuesday evening of last week, I continued my GDC Chain Interview by bringing Brian Fleming’s question about “favorite tentacles” to Double Fine Productions’ main man, Tim Schafer. He

Tim Schafer responds: “The green tentacle is nice, but the purple tentacle is more of a go-getter. He really evolved as a character in that he grew a hand. I was sad to see him get squished and sent off to Siberia.” [Note from Stephen: Apologies to everyone for originally mis-writing “Siberia” as “Saturn”]

Next came unexpected trouble. I was sure I’d be going to a “Wanted” event next and that the game’s vocal and press-friendly producer Pete Wanat would be there. So I asked Tim for a query:

Tim Schafer asks “Wanted” producer Pete Wanat the following question (after saying he’d love to mention that Wanat is the guy who pushed for Jack Black to be in “Brutal Legend,” back when the game and Wanat were both at Vivendi Universal): “Why do you always wear sunglasses in your interviews?”

Decent question. But then the problems began. I went to the “Wanted” event, but Pete’s wasn’t there. I waited for an hour. Still no Pete. I e-mailed him, crossing my fingers. And… he replied!

Pete Wanat responds: “I think the camera steals my soul and the Sunglasses prevent it from happening. Truth is, I don’t feel comfortable on camera and sunglasses let me stay hidden.”

Not only did he respond, he gave me a question for the next guy, Andrew Oliver, whose Blitz Games company is enabling game consoles connected to special TVs to render 3D stereoscopic game graphics.

Pete Wanat asks the people at Blitz Tech who are making 3D stereoscopic gaming technology: “Are they worried some one will come out /w 4D tech to trump them?”

It’s another comedy question! The serious questions of Monday morning are forgotten. I prepared to bring this question to Oliver, who I’m seeing on Wednesday. He gave the question some thought.

Andrew Oliver, chief technology officer, Blitz Games Studio responds: “Adding an extra dimension to games is clearly the way forward, although clearly we’re going with one dimension at a time.”

I told Oliver that he could ask a question for Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime who I needed to rush off to interview. Oliver thought for a while and told me that he’s got one about online. He’s a multi-console user and found that the Wii was the least of a hassle for him to get online (he didn’t have to go to a website, buy a WiFi add-on or any other things). So …

Andrew Oliver question for Reggie Fils-Aime: “Your console is the easiest machine to get online, but unfortunately most software doesn’t use any online functions. Would you like that to change?”

Fils-Aime loved this question, of course. How many times do you think an interviewer has praised the Wii’s online capabilities in a question? But, hey, I’m just the messenger…

Reggie Fils-Aime responds: “I think he’s dead on in terms of, out of the box, our ability to take you online is unsurpassed. In our view, there is untapped opportunity in packaged software to have an online element. We’re seeing more and more of that: downloadable content with ’Rock Band,’ with ’Guitar Hero…’ What Nintendo is doing is messaging to the consumer how easy it is to get online and all of the benefits. That messaging began last fall with some pre-installed content that messages: ’Here’s everything you get as a benefit of going online…. You can go online and play ’Mario Kart,’ there’s channels…” We’re committed to driving our installed base. And, certainly, for any consumers who already enjoying downloadable content, the SD card and high-capacity SD card capabilities that we announced today takes it to a whole other level.”

My reporting day was winding down, but I expected to be going to a Capcom event next. I mistakenly told Reggie it’s for “Monster Hunter 3” on the Wii. But it was really for “Monster Hunter” on the PSP. Thankfully, Reggie’s question applied either way.

Reggie Fils-Aime’s question for Capcom: “Why wasn’t ’Resident Evil’ and other key Capcom releases that are in the marketplace now… why wasn’t there a Wii execution?”

Chris Kramer, communications director, Capcom, responds: [TO BE CONCLUDED TOMORROW]

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