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Gameplanet: What do you consider to be is the most exciting new development in games? What has occurred that has made you sit up?
Pitchford: There’s a lot of stuff happening; I don’t know about “most exciting”. I think for me and the studio, the exciting thing that’s happening on one front is that because on one front – because this console generation has lasted so long – we’ve developed this mastery that we’ve never experienced before, and that’s enabled us to do things that are more difficult to do when you’re starting with things you’re not sure about.
On the other hand, there’s been a whole lot of neat, emerging platforms. I’m terribly excited about the Wii U, I love what’s happening in the mobile space. I think there’s a whole lot of wild and exciting things.
Gameplanet: What’s your take on the Ouya?
Pitchford: I bought some. It kind of reminds me of the Phantom – remember the Phantom?
Pitchford: It’s kind of like that, but done with a little more credibility, I guess. But it’s pretty much the same pitch, you know? Plug it in and stream games.
Gameplanet: Do you think that can work? Is the time right for that?
Pitchford: At the end of the day, what matters is content. There are technophiles, and there are those of us that will buy anything because we’re curious about how it works. But as consumers of entertainment, we really go after the experiences that inspire us, that excite us, that surprise us, and that motivate and compel us. Whatever platform those experiences happen to be on, that’s what we’ll go after. When I say platform, you can even think of that in the widest sense possible.
For example, tonight, I’m going to see South Pacific at the Sydney Opera House, which is something I can only do at the Sydney Opera House. So it’s like a platform. There are a number of things on at the Opera House, but if there weren’t, I wouldn’t show up.
What were some of the biggest motion pictures that happened in the last 10 years?
Gameplanet: Lord of the Rings.
Pitchford: OK, Lord of the Rings, great example – I fricken love Tolkien, and holy crap Peter Jackson killed it! That’s why I want to go to New Zealand, because I want to pretend I’m in the movies, running through the countryside killing orcs!
But let’s imagine that Lord of the Rings is going to happen and you’ve spent your life fantasising about Tolkien, playing boardgames or paper-and-pen RPGs, or videogames, and fantasising about all the stuff that Tolkien kind of invented, and all the stuff that fantasy has copied and iterated upon. You’ve got this in your being, and there’s going to be this event, this incredible manifestation of Tolkien’s stories is going to come to film, but the only place you can see it is at the Sydney Opera House. I’d find a way! It would cost me a goddamn fortune to do it, but I would find a way to do it.
Yes, that would fundamentally limit the potential number of people that could see it, but I guarantee that theatre would be packed every single night until eternity, because we all have to see that film. And if that’s true, that tells us content drives the platform, not the other way around.
Content really drives it, and for the Ouya to actually succeed, it really takes a promise that’s going to appear on the platform that we all must have. That’s the way it's always been.
Look at the Vita, it’s a really kick-ass piece of consumer electronics—
Gameplanet: I actually just scribbled that in the margin of my notes...
Pitchford: Yeah, the problem is, there’s no game I can only get there that feels like, but for the Vita, it couldn’t exist. But as soon as it happens, we’ll all be there, we’ll all be in. What that game might be could be different for each of us. The 3DS had that situation in the beginning, but now there is a range of games, and I can say, “I really want to play New Super Mario Bros. 2!” Maybe you don’t, but maybe there’s something else for you. And once enough of those things exist, we’re driven to it, we all find our way there.
Gameplanet: You will have spent the last three days answering this question, but I’d be remiss not to ask it.
Pitchford: OK, hit me!
Gameplanet: It’s a question in two parts: “girlfriend mode” – that term, and I know it was one that was never intended to be used, but you hit me. What’s your take, what happened as you see it?