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Interviews

Sega's Mike Hayes Pt. 2

Interview: The Sega West boss talks PS3 Move, 3D gaming and E3...

In yesterday's first instalment of CVG's exclusive interview with Sega West boss Mike Hayes, the exec told us all about the publisher's new strategy for hardcore and casual games.

In this second and final part, Hayes discusses the behemoth that is E3 - as well as Sega's approach to PS3 Move and the future of the Total War series...

Do you think Natal in particular will ever be used for a hardcore game by Sega?
We have to be very realistic with what these devices do and what the consumer wants them to do. I know a lot of people quoted the idea of a mini-game lobbing hand grenades using motion and that sounds fun.

But I think it's horses for courses: Do we want to look at hybrid games? Yes. But do they have to be highly relevant? That absolutely is the case. People are mostly happy with a control pad.

[Would we consider] taking a game like Ghost Squad, which is a bit more fun and arcadey, [and moving it to Natal]? Perhaps. Again, I think first party will give us a lead on that.

Is it unfair to compare PS3's motion controller to the Wiimote?
Yes, I think that is unfair. Let's not forget that Sony has launched hugely successful peripherals before. Whether it's EyeToy or its controllers, Sony has been there and had great success.

But also, how bad is a comparison with Wii? It's one of the most successful consoles of all time. For something like PlayStation 3, that surely allows a motion controller to do some pretty great things.

We don't have a crystal ball, but would I bet a lot of my salary on Microsoft and Sony will make a success of these devices? I think the chances are high.

Microsoft are clearly taking Natal very seriously and spending a lot of money on it. Sony are doing the same - and they have the track record to go with it.

What about 3D? What hopes do you have for its future?
We've all been to see Avatar, and it's an amazing experience. It's rather like CGI movies - when they first came along, they were incredible, but we got used to them. But how many CGI movies came out last year that actually didn't cut the mustard?

Gamers are so smart that technology's for technology's sake won't really wash except for that initial freakshow interest. We have to make sure we're giving the gamers a real enhanced experienced. The first few games to prove we can play in three dimensions will be amazing.

But eventually it will go back to what the story is, what the emotional connection is. It will just become: 'Oh, it's 3D again...' For us, we're still some way off 3D games until we can make one that's commercially viable.

Are there any gaps in the Sega portfolio? What about MMOs?
MMOs are feast or famine for publishers. Would we look at how we take existing franchises there? Yes. We've done Football Manager Live and that's been profitable. We've done 35,000 on that, which is a good fanbase.

People often ask if we'd take Total War in that direction and we're constantly looking at it, but MMO is a very competitive market. It goes back to the start of the interview - we want to get the core games right before anything else. We've got our shooter with AvP and our RPG with Alpha Protocol - we really want to make that into a franchise. That's the area where we need some success, to sequel-ise that.

If you think about it, we can sequel-ise Bayonetta, AVP, Alpha Protocol - if we can make a hit of something like Vanquish - then you add that to Football Manager and Virtua Tennis - we actually have a broad portfolio.

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