Summary: Outspoken CEO Scott Miller talks about Prey, Duke Nukem Forever and some hints about future projects.
Scott Miller: No. We tend to go to E3 instead.
FiringSquad: 3D Realms is working with Human Head on Prey, much like they have worked with Remedy on the Max Payne games and with other developers on Duke Nukem titles. Can you explain how your company works with others to do these projects?
Scott Miller: We started this back in 1990, when we worked with Id Software on the original Commander Keen games, so it's something we've been doing for a long time. What we do is assist with project funding, game design, polishing the game, and marketing.
FiringSquad: As you might know, 3D Realms' Duke Nukem Forever got the Wired top Vaperware award again this year after having been "retired" from the list by Wired some years ago. After all of this time and all of the silence surrounding the game itself it is still a little frustrating about having a game take seemingly so long to develop?
Scott Miller: Well sure, no one wants to spend so long on making a game, and we've definitely screwed up along the way. But in the end, it'll work out fine as long as we produce a hit. If we manage that, few will care that it took so long.
FiringSquad: Does 3D Realms have any games in mind after the release of Prey and DNF, or is the company concentrating on releasing these games first before starting new projects?
Scott Miller: We've already mapped out a sequel for Prey, from a high-level story standpoint, and of course as soon as Duke is done we'll begin a new one. We are also getting the ball rolling on an unannounced project, which has yet to be signed by a publisher.
SIDEBAR: Duke Nukem Forever was shown behind closed doors at E3 1998 using id's Quake II engine.
FiringSquad: A while back 3D Realms entered into an agreement to have games available for download. Will Prey be among these games or will the service wait until the existence of Duke Nukem Forever?
Scott Miller: Yes, Prey will be available via www.DiStream.com. We're currently working with them daily to get stuff up and running in time for the game's launch.
FiringSquad: The next generation consoles are either already out or due out before the end of this year. First, what is your current opinion of the Xbox 360 and its chances for success?
Scott Miller: I said from the beginning, back in the late 90's, that Microsoft made a business mistake getting into the console business. And from a profit and loss standpoint, that has certainly been the case -- they've lost well over a billion dollars, enough to sink many Fortune 500 companies. I still think it's a business mistake for them, detracting from their core business strengths (Windows and business software). But, from a personal standpoint, I'm definitely glad they're in the game, so to speak, because despite their loss my company gains tremendously by having another platform to exploit. I hope IBM and Intel also come out with consoles, it would make just as much business sense, after all.
FiringSquad: Similarly can you give your opinion on Sony's Playstation 3 and the thinking by some that it will be a highly expensive console when it launches?
Scott Miller: I haven't really looked into it much, but I do think Sony, being far better positioned for the console market by virtue of being a well-positioned consumer electronics company, will end up leading this next generation as they did the last one.
FiringSquad: Finally what do you think about Nintendo's plans for Revolution and their attitude that they are going after a new audience and leaving Sony and Microsoft to fight for an already saturated hard core game audience?
Scott Miller: Nintendo has a image hurdle to overcome, as most people look at Nintendo like they look at Disney: A company for the younger market. The Xbox and Playstation are both positioned as the mature player's console choice, and it's going to be exceedingly hard for Nintendo to gain acceptance on that same maturity level. Not impossible...just hard.
SIDEBAR: 3D Realms' Apogee shareware division released id Software's first game.
Scott Miller: I really have no idea. It would be really nice to have some stability, though. I really hate my Windows-based PC crashing all the time, and being such an easy target for unwanted spyware and whatnot.
FiringSquad: We frequently hear about the lack of game innovation but sometimes games come out that are truly original and are ignored by consumers. In your opinion what is more important; innovation in games or simply good game design?
Scott Miller: It's hard to say one is more important. Innovation is clearly important, yet if innovation is within a poorly designed game, no one cares. At 3D Realms we realize that revolutionary innovation is a tough sell to both our publisher and to consumers. For example, we all thought the Segway was going to be the Next Big Thing until we tried it, and realized it has its uses, but it certainly wasn't going to force cities to redesign themselves like much of the early hype proclaimed. So, what we put our efforts towards is evolutionary innovation. This merely refers to innovations that aren't so far removed from what we've already experienced. With Max Payne, nothing much was innovative about the game except bullet-time, which we stole from John Woo movies, and that's easy to communicate. With Prey, we have several innovations, like gravity flipping, that don't change the paradigm of shooters, it just tosses in a new element that's not too difficult to understand for players.
And regardless of innovation, the game still needs superb execution. This is where so many games trip themselves -- they could've used an extra two or three months spit and shine. We are spitting all over Prey currently!
FiringSquad: Finally is there anything else you wish to say about 3D Realms and its plans for the future?
Scott Miller: We're looking to hire lead game designers and level designers! Oh, and best of luck at your new position, John.
We’d like to thank 3D Realms Scott Miller for conducting this interview with us. We wish 3D Realms the best of luck with Prey, Duke Nukem Forever, and any other future projects they’re working on in the future!
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