Red Steel 2 Interview

Creative director Jason VandenBerghe talks Project Natal, Sony’s wand, mature gaming on the Wii and cutting the grass in Zelda.

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, February 22, 2010

I don’t treat gaming as a religion, I treat it as sort of a way of life, and my main passion. So when I see people trying to outflame each other about whether you’re hardcore or not to play on the Wii, or whether real gamers can play on it, I just don’t care. The questions I have are: is the game fun, and does it have something interesting that I can’t do on another console.

Point-and-click gunplay is entertaining, but katanas are cooler.

Point-and-click gunplay is entertaining, but katanas are cooler.

I mean, that’s the reason I’ve bought every game that I’ve ever purchased, it was something I wanted to play and it wasn’t available on any of the other consoles I have. This is a Wii game, so if you want to play it you have to have a Wii – but you know, I bet you probably do have a Wii. Because there’s a lot of Wiis out there! Even if it’s unplugged and in the closet collecting dust.

The thing that I think has been scary for people is to watch these kinds of games come out and fail – MadWorld, Conduit, Dead Space: Extraction, all these games – but I think in each of those cases there are other circumstances, different in each case, that make it really tough to draw a real conclusion.

It is easy to make a self-fulfilling prophecy of this and say, ‘oh, hardcore gamers don’t exist on the Wii, so I won’t buy one or I won’t make games for the Wii’. That’s completely possible, the games industry could decide to do that. But I’m not doing that! I’m making a game for gamers on the Wii, pretty much. And I’m offering, I think, a completely new experience that you can’t get on any other title, and hopefully one that’s fun.

To me, that’s the magic combination: it’s got to be fun, I can’t get it somewhere else, and I want to play it.

VGD: Good mix. I think the other side of the coin is that the ‘death’ of mature gaming on Wii is somewhat exaggerated. I haven’t got the sales figures in front of me, but some of the titles you mentioned performed quite well. MadWorld, for instance…

VandenBerghe: MadWorld did fine. You’re the only dude I’ve ever met who knows that! Exactly! If you paid attention to Sega’s press release, you would know that Sega understands what apparently no-one else in the gaming community understands, and that is if you put that kind of ultra-violence in a game, you’re going to sell 10 per cent. Period.

Red Steel 2's hybridised setting promises a fair few memorable scenarios.

Red Steel 2's hybridised setting promises a fair few memorable scenarios.

So Sega did what any responsible publisher would do and they moderated their marketing budget accordingly. They didn’t have to make commercials for MadWorld because everybody who wanted the game already knew it existed, because they had been marketing the crap out of it on the internet, where all of the hardcore players are who wanted to play it. It’s not an accessible game. But it sold like 200,000 units, which was quite satisfying to Sega! The Conduit was… I already have Halo, so why am I going to play that? The game was great, but yeah.

And with Dead Space: Extraction – again, fantastic, but a lightgun game? On a platform that has Umbrella Chronicles and House of the Dead? In the same year? I mean, already available on the same shelf? That’s tough, that’s a tough sale. How many lightgun on-rail games do you really want to buy?

One Response to “Red Steel 2 Interview”

  1. I’ve heard that even if its title is “Red Steel 2″, it is not actually a direct sequel. The game has its own new hero, Wild West universe and story. I would probably wait for more reviews when it’s released on March before purchasing. :)


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