VideoGamer.com: User creation is big at the moment, and one of the things Army of Two was successful in was the weapons customisation feature. Have you considered a weapon uploading tool so people can show off their weapons from The 40th Day?
MT: It happened by accident on the first one where people were YouTubing their own creations. That's something we love when it happens. As far as showing off the guns, the idea is you're showing it off in the online space. You go and play with somebody and you go, hey look at this bad boy, I've played through six times and I've got this thing. But the cool part about it as well is there's no super gun. There's no ideal combination of parts that will make a gun that was absolutely unstoppable.
VideoGamer.com: So you can't max out the stats?
MT: No. Everything has got checks and balances. We don't want to have it where everyone is striving to have this one combination and then that one is the only one. We want to encourage people to make guns to their style, as opposed to, that's the best and there is no question about it.
VideoGamer.com: How are you expanding upon Salem and Rios' personalities? How have they changed?
MT: I would say they have grown up, for lack of a better term. They've been through a lot already. The two of them together have seen a lot of shit. They have that sense to them. They've got that little bit older feeling. A little bit wiser. The fact that we have the masks up now for cutscenes allows us to express that more and go a little deeper into who they are as people and who they were as well, which is fun. We had a lot of fun creating moments that refer back to stuff when they were teenagers. It's not a direct feel. You just get a hint of it. These guys come from somewhere. They have something maybe interesting to say, or maybe not, who knows? They have something worth listening to there. We've developed that a lot through those cutscenes and the way they react to the world around them.
VideoGamer.com: Has Army of Two matured?
MT: The game has grown up in itself a lot. In all levels it's grown up a lot. That's something that's important. As developers for us to evolve our IP is important and not just stick to, here we go, this is what we got, it's awesome. We want to be constantly improving on it and making it better and more interesting in different ways. I think we've managed to do that in a big way with this one.
VideoGamer.com: We interviewed EA Montreal boss Alain Tascan at GamesCom recently, and he told us he sees Army of Two has the potential to be as big as Call of Duty.
MT: It has the potential for sure. I would never say we are there yet. But I would say we have the potential to be there.
VideoGamer.com: He pointed to Salem and Rios as central to achieving that potential. He said they can become iconic video game characters because of the buddy system. You're showing their faces now. Is part of that because having a faceless central character has its limits? What about Master Chief, for example, who doesn't seem to have limits in terms of his popularity despite being faceless?
MT: Master Chief is a different one because he never speaks. He doesn't engage in dialogue. What makes Master Chief relatable is people are able to put themselves inside that suit. They are Master Chief. He's not anybody else, which is a different thing than what we've got. We have two unique and identifiable characters. When you have the mask, maybe you can put yourself in there a little bit more. But what we're trying to do here is define these two people and make them interesting, so people want to play with them, not as them. It's a different thing. It's cool that we have that ability and we can make those iconic characters. And when the mask pops up, boom. Oh there's the guy. That's who I'm looking at. There he is. You can relate to him. They're a little bit more dynamic and they have a lot more range. It's done a lot for the characters in this game, for sure. It's also to do with the difference between third-person and first-person. You're looking down on them, whereas in first-person you are them. It's a different perspective on that.
VideoGamer.com: The game is coming out on January 8, 2010. There have been quite a few high-profile delays from 2009 to 2010 in order to avoid the Christmas crowd. But in a weird way it's created a new Christmas early next year. Is The 40th Day well placed then?
MT: We've hit the sweet spot there. It's just after all that Christmas stuff and it's just before the next wave of it. Everyone's going to have time to finish their Christmas games and they'll have their gift certificates and they can go and get Army of Two just before everything else hits. We've found ourselves a nice little window that people are going to be ready for something else.
VideoGamer.com: There's even talk about publishers delaying games even further to avoid the new Christmas. Will there be a new Christmas in summer 2010?
MT: That's funny though. I really think that kind of stigma that exists in the industry, that there's only one place to release, it's either Christmas or it's March, it's funny. Games should release when it fits, you know what I mean? To force yourself into one of those windows I don't think makes a lot of sense. You've got to try and find your place that is suiting for the kind of game you are and the competition. There are thousands of factors that can factor into it. It's a really delicate thing. People ought to get out of that mindset that there are only these places where I can release. Here, here, or maybe here, otherwise, don't even think about it.
VideoGamer.com: Imagine I'm a gamer who bought and enjoyed Army of Two, but am aware of its flaws. Why should I pre-order The 40th Day?
MT: As a co-op game it's pushing the co-op genre in places no-one else has gone before. The variety of co-op things you can do, the co-op core of the game, everything feeds into this idea of organic co-op and having fun with a buddy playing the game. That's what it's about. People respond well to that and I think if you want to get a good co-op experience, if you're into that or if you want to try one, there's no other game other than Army of Two to try. And I think in a silly kind of way the weapons customisation is really fun. If you're a gun nut, or if you're just into having fun collecting stuff and building your own content, there's nothing out there that's quite as deep as that. Those two things, people should notice it. If they want to play some co-op and build some cool guns and have fun with that then there's no other game out there to play.
Army of Two: The 40th Day is due out on PS3, Xbox 360 and PSP on January 8 2010.