"I think the real danger with Wii is it going the way of the Mega Drive," says Codemaster's rambunctious associate producer Dean Scott. "There's loads of lost Mega Drive players that know Sonic and Columns and that's it. It was a two game console. That's a real problem for our industry."
Dean's clearly not afraid to speak his mind as he plays Overlord: Dark Legend on Wii, a game that's due out this June at the same time as Overlord II on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. He's got some strong opinions on Nintendo's motion-sensing phenomenon, and so he should - he's producing a game for it. "We've got a responsibility to show them what's cool about video games. That's our grand philosophy."
It's hard not to get caught up in Dean's frank passion as he controls the Overlord, the evil Sauron look-a-like who fans of 2007's surprisingly successful original will know well. With the Wii Remote and Nunchuck in hand, the Overlord picks up one of his little minions and, as its eyes open wide in terror, he kills it with a simple headbutt like a farmer stunning a cow with a boltgun. The headbutt is so callous and without feeling that it's almost hard to watch. The poor blighter melts into virtual nothingness and the Overlord recovers some health; such is the life of the Overlord minion.
Later, Dean picks up another minion. This time, with waggles of the Wii Remote, the Overlord shakes his mischievous disciple until the sweet spot is hit - then, with a carefully-timed button press he lets it loose. It heads straight for an impassable barrier on a suicide run that ends with an explosion and the destruction of both. It's a scene that rekindles memories of that bit in the second Lord of the Rings film where an Uruk-hai brings down the brick walls of Helm's Deep by blowing himself up.
This, as any Overlord fan will know, is just what being an Overlord is all about: being a bit of a bastard. Being mean, cruel, just... evil. Killing cute fluffy rabbits and baby seals, that kind of thing. It works on "next-gen", but has publisher Codemasters and developer Climax, the UK studio building the Wii version from the ground up, dumbed down or sanitised that quintessential third-person action/puzzler experience for Nintendo's all-conquering family-friendly console?
The answer is unequivocally, bullishly, no. Yes, the Wii, with its stunning installed-base, offers a fantastic opportunity for brand Overlord to win even more hearts and minds, but Codemasters is of the view that availing of that opportunity does not mean it has to make concessions to so-called "casual" gamers. No sir.
Dean admits Overlord: Dark Legend is a hardcore game, and we all know what happens to third-party hardcore games on the Wii, don't we? They don't sell. At all. Dean admits that the sales of SEGA's recently-released adult kill-em-up Madworld is "a bit concerning", but is putting his faith in a simple philosophy: "If you build it hopefully they will come". In other words, if Dark Legend is a good game, then it should sell.
It's an admirable approach, one every Wii-owner tired of the endless stream of poor quality party games should be fully behind. Codemasters could have made Dark Legend cel-shaded, or have a kick the minion mini-game and call it Overlord Sports, but it didn't want to. "You've got to credit gamers with a bit more intelligence", he says. "This is quite a complicated game. It's unapologetically hardcore."