Kim: Maybe Next Year Will Be the Year of Sony - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:37 AM
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Default Kim: Maybe Next Year Will Be the Year of Sony

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There is nothing more apt to get one's blood running than playing early versions of sequels to bestsellers like Gears of War 2 and Fable 2, which is probably why those were the two big games showcased at a recent editors day. Also on display were some more of this fall's exclusive Xbox 360 titles, including playable versions of Rare Studio's Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, Silicon Knights' Too Human, and Team Ninja's Ninja Gaiden 2.

We spoke with Microsoft Game Studios' corporate vice president Shane Kim to get his take on how Microsoft's games will fare against the competition this fall. Kim also shared his insights into software and hardware pricing, selling Banjo-Kazooie to this generation's console owners, Rare's future after the departure of its founders, and the exact nature of the strange yet remarkable game, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise.

GameTap: Why is this editors' day event so important for Microsoft?

Shane Kim: Today's event is important because we are able to let esteemed members of the press get their hands on games that we have announced but really haven't given any exposure to. These are our big titles for the rest of the year. So, for people to get their hands on Gears of War 2, Fable 2, Banjo-Kazooie, Too Human, Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, and Ninja Gaiden 2 is a really big deal for us.

GameTap: Given the games you've just mentioned, when critics and competitors--like Sony--say to you that Microsoft doesn't have any games this fall, what's your response?

Shane Kim: I say, I'm sorry that you're not a fan of Gears of War 2 or Fable 2. But there are a lot of people who bought the original versions of those games, so I like our chances with those two big hits this holiday.

I've heard people call this the year of Sony, and I see a bunch of their titles slipping into next year...so maybe next year will be the year of Sony. We're just focusing on creating some really good content and extending our lead in the online space with Xbox Live.

GameTap: Everyone seems to like Rare. But Rare has had some hits and misses in the recent past, and part of the reputation Rare has earned over the years is that it doesn't always deliver games on time. Are Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise really coming this year?

Shane Kim: Absolutely. And I think that Rare's reputation is undeserved in recent times. Don't forget, these guys delivered not one but two launch titles on day one of the Xbox 360 launch in November 2005. That's really freaking hard. They also delivered Viva Piñata on time in 2006, and now they are going to release two titles for us this year.

GameTap: Has Rare changed much since original founders Chris and Tim Stamper left in early 2007?

Shane Kim: I wouldn’t just point it to when the Stampers left. I would say that Rare has evolved and they're much more open externally and even internally with their different project teams. They're a lot more open to sharing assets, best practices, and technology. The studio really has evolved and continues to evolve ever since we acquired them.

GameTap: How much has it cost Microsoft to pay for all the acid Rare took to create Viva Piñata?

Shane Kim: To pay for what?

GameTap: LSD. You know, as fuel to create the game.

Shane Kim: [Laughs] None. There is no LSD involved. And I'm sorry that you don't understand the creative process behind the game.

GameTap: No, no. Don't misunderstand. It's not a criticism. I like Viva Piñata a lot, but it's easily one of the most creative and unique titles Rare's made, and in its own way, it's a very psychedelic game.

Shane Kim: It's quite imaginative. I agree with that.

GameTap: The other designer/developer whose game is due for this year is Peter Molyneux. He is also notorious for delivering late. The first Fable was delivered two, nearly three years late. Is Fable 2 coming out this year?

Shane Kim: Fable 2 is coming out this year. We feel really good about the content coming out this year. I'm telling you.

GameTap: Are you suggesting Peter Molyneux is a changed man?

Shane Kim: Like everybody, I think that Peter is evolving, too. Peter understands that the cost of developing these titles is not the same as in the Black & White or in the Populous days. These are very expensive titles to make. And so at some point you're going to extend beyond the point of reason. He gets that. Peter is very rational about those kinds of things. The past is the past. He is very focused on delivering Fable 2. He knows we have a chance to have two big hits with Fable 2 and Gears of War 2 this year, he knows that Gears of War 2 was announced for November, so he wants to stay clear of that time. And I think we're going to hit the date.

GameTap: What date is that?

Shane Kim: This fall. We haven't specified exactly when. Stay tuned.






Shane Kim believes Gears of War 2 will be one of this year's biggest blockbusters.


Kim doesn't believe this is Sony's year and points to the shipment delay of Killzone 2 as an example.
GameTap: What are your biggest concerns and worries about Denis Dyack's Too Human?

Shane Kim: My biggest worry is that customers give it a chance. When we showed it at E3 a couple of years ago, we showed it too early. This is a title that Denis has been working on and that people have been waiting for for a long time. Silicon Knights is a respected developer. In fact, because we showed it too early and it got beat up by people like you--not you personally, but game journalists--people won't give it a chance now. We deliberately took it underground because we needed to have some time away from the limelight. We have slowly brought it out now and have exposed it to more and more people, and I think it's turned out to be very good. It's not just my opinion, but folks like Ken Lobb [creative director at MGS], whose opinion I trust. So I just want people to give it a chance because there is a lot of engaging gameplay in it that people are really going to enjoy.


GAMETAP STAFF RECOMMENDS: Shadowgrounds Survivor, Deus Ex

GameTap: What do you think is Microsoft's biggest challenge this year in the console market?

Shane Kim: Reaching the broader market. That's our biggest challenge for the generation. We have talked about this for a long time. We want to get to the mass market. We want to be a leader in this generation, and in order to do that we have to succeed on a number of different fronts. There is no one silver bullet.

GameTap: What fronts does Microsoft need to do better in?

Shane Kim: We have a ton of E-rated games on Xbox 360. I'm not sure everybody knows that or gives that enough credence. So, we have to get better at telling people what is available there. We have to do more on a marketing, sales, and PR front so that people understand that Xbox 360 is not just a shooter box, but that there is a lot of content there for a broader audience. That's where the success of titles like Guitar Hero and Rock Band on our platform is really important. And we have to continue to drive toward mass market prices points. Whether that happens this summer or this holiday or next year, we have to keep driving toward that because that will open up Xbox 360 to a much larger audience than we have today.

GameTap: Are you talking about dropping the price of the Xbox 360 soon?

Shane Kim: No comment on that right now.

GameTap: Do you think the price of software is too high and should be lowered?

Shane Kim: For some software I think that is the case. It's like anything, you should price for what customers will bear.

GameTap: Are you suggesting that Microsoft and the rest of the industry should lower their software prices to $49.99 per game?

Shane Kim: No--absolutely not. We're in the business of selling software and making money. So, when we can sell a game for $60 or for limited editions with extra value added, sign me up. But not all software sold in this industry should be $60.

GameTap: Speaking of improving marketing and reaching a broader audience, how do you market a game like Banjo-Kazooie?

Shane Kim: First off, I think you have to tap into the people who have an affinity for the property. There are many people out there who have fond memories of Banjo-Kazooie. You have to make sure you tap into those people, and we have to do a good job at exposing people to what Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is. It's a different kind of game.

GameTap: In the last generation of consoles, platformers lost their steam and were really abandoned to a certain extent in favor for action games like GTA. Banjo-Kazooie at its heart is a platformer, so what are your strategies to beat the platform rap?

Shane Kim: Have you played Banjo-Kazooie?

GameTap: Yes. It's a platformer, and your demo team is calling a platformer.

Shane Kim: Well, it's a different kind of platformer than the traditional approach has been.

GameTap: I'm not saying platformers are bad. I cut my teeth on Super Mario 64. What I am saying is that there is a drop-off in popularity, and so when you bring this out, is that Microsoft saying it's intent on bucking the trends, or is it saying, "Hey, we have this big property, we don't care what the statistics say..."

Shane Kim: It's definitely not the latter.

GameTap: Are you banking on its old familiarity?

Shane Kim: We're counting on that to help us. But at the end of the day, it's going to be about how Rare executes on the nuts and bolts. If it’s a great game, the brand affinity and the name affinity will help us. If it's not a good game, the property affinity won't save it.

GameTap: If I had never heard of Viva Piñata before, could you tell me what Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is in one sentence?

Shane Kim: That's a tough question. I think Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is a really fun experience for people of all ages.

GameTap: Would you say it's a garden simulator?

Shane Kim: No, no, no. It's not a garden simulator.

GameTap: What is it then?

Shane Kim: If you really want to get genre specific, a lot of people would call it a strategy game, but that's not very inviting to people.

GameTap: I think it's a genius game, but it's easily the most difficult game to describe to people and I think if Microsoft can message its particular brand of creative genius to the mass market, it will have a huge success on its hands.

Shane Kim: It's a visually stunning game that's based on raising animals and pets and that you can play cooperatively. It should appeal to a very big audience. It is a challenging game to describe, I agree.
Thats smackdown
http://www.gametap.com/articles/game...rview-05202008
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:38 AM
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People who only have PS3's will die of jealousy over Viva Pinata.

SMACKDOWN! YOU TOO POOR TO OWN MY SYSTEM...FOOL!!
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:41 AM
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haha...Kim is straight representin.
he should of saved this for e3...then like at the press conference be like,, PSYCH!! Halo 4, GTAIV Exclusive Planet, COD5 exclusive.
There Microsoft,, they can buy anything
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:42 AM
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I thought it was a pretty tame interview. A lot of titles have slipped into 09. But hey, 08's not so bad either. Hard to say who's year it is.
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLastGenius View Post
People who only have PS3's will die of jealousy over Viva Pinata.

SMACKDOWN! YOU TOO POOR TO OWN MY SYSTEM...FOOL!!
But its ok for 360 owners to want LBP BULLSHIT

Viva is a deep, fun game

Im not buyting a $500 BD player with shit games, ill wait till it drops and games I want are out
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master X View Post
Im not buyting a $500 BD player with shit games, ill wait till it drops and games I want are out
..$400
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master X View Post
But its ok for 360 owners to want BLP BULLSHIT

Viva is a deep, fun game

Im not buyting a $500 BD player with shit games, ill wait till it drops and games I want are out
What's BLP?

And LBP > You!
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ben1080p View Post
..$400
Not with BC
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Originally Posted by Onslaught X View Post
What's BLP?

And LBP > You!
Meh its dumb
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master X View Post
Not with BC
I thought they discontinued them?
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Master X View Post
Not with BC
Still plays more games than the 360.
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