Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox game business
On partnering with Oculus VR on virtual reality:
“I go back to our origins with Windows, when there were software companies and hardware companies doing real innovative work on top of the platform. That’s a good spot for us to be with Windows, supporting these ecosystems that grow up. Some of them we’ll participate in with go-to-market products. HoloLens is one of those. Xbox is one of those. Other opportunities, it’s best to find people who are doing amazing work and say, ‘What can we do to help you guys be more successful with your product on our platform?’
“That’s where we are with them. I’ve known Brendan for years. I’ve known Jason and the team here, both Jasons. It was a natural because of the relationships. In the collaboration that’s been going on for a while, it’s been nice to see the progress. The teams are working hand in hand. It’s great to be able to come out here on stage.”
Richard Marks, director of Sony’s Magic Labs
On the immersiveness of virtual reality:
“The thing that’s different in VR — the sense of scale matters in VR. You see these huge things and they feel huge. Even if you’re just playing a space sim game, you get a feeling like the Battlestar’s huge. You don’t get that feeling looking at a television set.
“The other big thing with VR is the space. Having something feel like it’s close by to you. Some of the character interaction — when you feel like somebody is next to you in VR, it’s a lot different. Multiplayer things — rigs is a multiplayer game over the network. We already have multiplayer games, of course, and you have audio chat, but you don’t really feel like a person’s there next to you when you do that in a regular game. In VR it feels like they’re there next to you. That’s a powerful feeling. The sense of immersion is the key with VR, that feeling like everything around you is more real.
“As far as the second screen, we let developers choose. If they want, they can have a completely different image on the main TV. The player could see something different. We happen to have two TVs here, but really it would just be this and this that you’d have in a game. This is just for showing, to make people understand. The game developer can decide to have an asymmetric experience where people are playing with you. They might have a top view of what you’re doing.”
Hermen Hulst, CEO of Guerrilla Games
On creating the brave new world of Horizon: Zero Dawn:
“We wanted to do a new game, a very beautiful game. We’ve always worked in science fiction, but the Killzone series was a very dark kind of science fiction. We wanted to concentrate on beauty.
“The backdrop, the foundation of this game is a beautiful, lush, rich natural world. It’s about 1000 years on from a cataclysm that happened. Nature has reclaimed the land, and here’s a twist for you. Humans are no longer the dominant species. It’s the machines you see depicted there that roam the land. They’re in charge.
“Humans are still around, working the land, but they’re now in a state where they’ve never lived in a world without the machines. Different tribes deal with the machines in different ways. Some are hunters. A member of this tribe is Aloy, our lead character. She’s a robot hunter. You play as her.
“When you’re making a game of this magnitude, almost all creative decisions change a lot. You try different things and see what happens. Aloy has been in the concept from the very first day, though. This is what we wanted to make. It was always her. We wanted a lead character who’s curious, who can take in the awe and magic of this world. We wanted someone agile and intelligent. We wanted her to be smart before, during, and after combat. She fit that bill perfectly.”
Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming
On acquiring and remaking Master of Orion:
“When I was a kid there was Civilization, there was SimCity, and there was Master of Orion. We’re an MMO company. Master of Orion is not going to be an MMO. It’s a classic 4X strategy game. We got the license at auction. We had no choice. We absolutely had to get it. We’re reproducing it in its classic, beautiful way. The graphics are upgraded to the 21st century, because my son won’t play a 320-by-240 [resolution] game. We don’t even have devices to display that. But we’re giving back to the community. I want kids who weren’t even born to 20 years ago to touch the classics.
“World of Tanks players are our main customer base. To anyone who’s a fan of empire-building, who’s a fan of smart games where you make decisions at a slower pace—you win or lose this game by making hundreds or thousands of decisions about warfare, science, diplomacy, exploration. This is not World of Tanks. I love these games, though. I’m excited and proud of this. I’d love to think so, but the answer is probably no. Look, it was simple. Atari. Auction. Master of Orion. Oh, my god. We gotta get it. What do we do next? Let’s just go get it! There was some talk about what we’d do with it afterward, and we decided to bring back something classic.”
Scott Moffitt, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America
On the transition to the new NX game console next year:
“I don’t know if I’d call it a transition year. We have the gas pedal to the floor on Wii U and 3DS. The games we showed today and the games we’ll have coming next year are a demonstration of that. Eight games coming between now and the end of the year on Wii U, starting with Super Mario Maker. They’re games that reach all audiences. There’s something for everyone. For casual or family gamers, you have Super Mario Maker coming. You have Yoshi’s Woolly World. Mario Tennis. That’s on top of Mario Party 10. We launched Splatoon recently. That’s a great year in itself.
“With 3DS we have six games coming between now and the end of the year. Animal Crossing on 3DS and Wii U as well. You have Star Fox on Wii U for core gamers. Xenoblade X is coming for core gamers. We’re not thinking of this as a transition year. We want to maximize the potential for both Wii U and 3DS. We have third-party content coming on both as well. This is our opportunity to demonstrate all that is possible with the GamePad.
“When you look at the quality of content that’s available on our system — one way to look at quality, the gold standard of quality as far as we’re concerned, is games that get an 85 critic score on Metacritic, and also have an 8.5 score from users. I think it’s important to have both points of view. We have 23 games, far more than any other platform, that meet that standard of quality. For gamers that haven’t yet bought a Wii U, clearly the best games in this generation are available right now on Wii U and 3DS. There’s a ton of great content to play for those who haven’t bought already, and for those who are already enjoying Wii U and 3DS games, who knows how many more of these games we just talked about will also rise to that quality standard? There’s a lot we have coming for both core and casual gamers alike.”