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Victor Ireland E3 '98 Interview

Interview Title
by Rudo and Webber
This is the third part of the interview Rudo and Webber had at E3 with Victor Ireland of Working Designs. Part three mainly covers the upcoming RPG, Lunar 3, and WD's switch from Sega to Sony.

Webber: Lunar 3, have you heard anything?
Vic: It's in production right now. It's actually the early stages of production; design, story, that kind of stuff. It really just started maybe three months ago.

Webber: Is it going to be on Dreamcast?
Vic: All I can say is that in the US we have the Lunar trademark. If we don't do it, nobody can. If they try to do it they can't call it Lunar, and we are not publishing for Dreamcast. So thatís the long roundabout, so it doesn't really matter what system it's originally published on, it will be on whatever system we are publishing on here. That is about as specific as I can get. Unless Bernie is gone, Dreamcast is a serious no for us.

Webber: So your stance with Sega, even after Bernie's press conference the other day where he said that RPGs, fighting games, and...... He mentioned three genres as being the most important for Dreamcast, and RPGs was one of them?
Vic: Only because he found out that they sell. He's not a leader, he is a follower. Sony legitimized that segment, and he has seen the money. Because when he was at Sony he was the one who said RPGs were not significant. He told us, one person removed from him, his representative said, "Bernie said RPGs are not a significant portion of the market, we do not want to support them in the US." Thatís why Arc the Lad didn't come out; we were pushing for Arc the Lad. We were going to release that game, and they wouldn't let us license it from Sony of Japan, and they wouldn't let us release it here. Because they said they [RPGs] weren't significant. The only reason he changed that tune is because he's seen Final Fantasy VII sales, and he's seen that if you put money behind it, and it's a good-to-great RPG, it'll sell and it always would have. He's a follower; he's a business man who has no idea about games.

Webber: Well, he said that after the press conference in Japan, where supposedly Square and Enix attended the Dreamcast announcement in Japan.
Vic: He's a follower, he's a business man who crunches numbers, and has no clue about what makes games great.

Rudo: The bottom-line is no WD titles for Dreamcast?
Vic: It's very unlikely Lunar will be seen on Dreamcast from anybody (In the US), because if anybody else tried to do it, they couldn't call it Lunar. And itís very unlikely GameArts would license it to them anyway because that would affect their relationship with us.

Webber: Itís a couple years away anyways.
Vic: It's a least two years, it might be three. Grandia took four years.

Webber: By that time Sony's new system will be right around the corner.
Vic: It's a pretty good bet.

I'll talk about Sony now. One thing people don't understand about the whole Sega-Sony thing. They are like, "You suck, you used to say Sony was the worst, you'd never go over to Sony, and as soon as there was money to be made you switched over to Sony." They just don't follow the fact that the reason we weren't at Sony was because of Bernie Stolar. When Bernie Stolar came to Sega very shortly thereafter, we made the switch to Sony, because he made it intolerable to be at Sega, just like he made it intolerable to even try to be at Sony. That was when the switch happened. People are like, "You did it for the money." No! We go where the games are, and we go where the people appreciate what we do, and the management at Sega just doesn't get it at all.

Like Phil Harrison is a very cool guy....he gets games and he gets what we do. It's a completely different environment from Sega. Itís like Sega used to be, when Sega was like Genesis/Sega CD-era, when we were doing those games. Completely supportive. They were giving us trouble to get Lunar out the door; they said it would never sell. It was one of their top five games for Sega CD, and it did very well for us. It was number one for us until Alundra came out and just blew it off the map. After Lunar, they got to the point where they just trusted us, they said, "Do whatever you wanna do and we know it will be great." Thatís the kind of support we are getting from Sony now, in part because a lot of people that used to work at Sega at that time now work for Sony.

Webber: Yeah, I remember when Sony hired a bunch of Sega employees.
Vic: Oh lots. I'd say that 40% of the staff, maybe more, is ex-Sega employees.
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