VideoGamer.com: Will there be any online features?
SB: It's not something we want to do right from the outset partly because of the nature of, right well we're moving to console, we're moving to action game. If we had tried to say and what's more we're going to produce a kick ass two player online game, that's probably shooting too high first time around. Whereas the game itself plays very well and a little bit more old school arcadey side by side, watch this kind of thing. If we get it right it'll be goblin ping pong, smacking them around and a fun feel to it. We'd rather focus in on getting the combat right, getting the living breathing world right and getting that simpler side by side right.
There aren't many games out there that are similar. We don't want to be compared to God of War because we're not like God of War really but we're kind of, God of War or Heavenly Sword or Viking, or any of those games like that, Prince of Persia, they don't do multiplayer games online. Two player online is one of those things that could be something where we go in the future but we need to get a feel for the thing first and then go you know what would be really cool, is if we did that, and then we go great.
VideoGamer.com: So if Dungeon Hero is successful you can see it maybe spawning a sequel?
SB: Yes. The best way to try and build games isn't to try and throw it all in. Going back to Stronghold we know that. We deliberately did not do a skirmish game, which Crusader does very well. We did more of a single siege historical castle with a typical story campaign, and then when we had that basic engine, that basic game going we polished it and patched it and were able to take that further and build on it and know how to build the skirmish game really well, which is why I think Crusader turned out so well, was so well received by everybody. It was an iteration, a new product that we could sit back and go and do that. I think it would be a similar thing with Dungeon Hero. We're 30 something odd people. That's not a massive studio. So if we're still to punch above our weight we've got to pick targets carefully.
VideoGamer.com: I wanted to ask you about the feeling that PC gaming is dead, and how we're seeing a lot of games previously PC exclusive coming to console because of piracy, which is a big issue.
SB: It is. It always has been in some ways and it always will be. I guess Steam does OK. But for us, clearly a third person game would have to be multiplatform, absolutely no bones about it. But a first person shooter game, Crysis? That game was a very expensive big game and piracy hits them quite hard. It's a short shelf life title that flies off the shelf. Strategy games are probably the last bastion of the PC because they're games that suit the PC really well. The mouse and keyboard control, the fact that you load and save half a dozen billion of them. You can patch them, they're involved games, they need a lot of patching and things like that, upgrades, DLC, the Internet, all of those things still work well on PC. Strategy games have never been brilliant, RTS for example, on consoles. It's just not suited to it. Especially builder games. We're safe. God only knows if we'll still be safe five years down the line, but right now strategy games are safe, partly through the interface and partly through the people who like to play them and the nature of the game. Anything else beyond that I think you're right, it's a bit scarier and you've got to really put it on consoles.
VideoGamer.com: What about the whole PC gaming is dead thing? I guess that's something you wouldn't subscribe to?
SB: Certainly it's in retreat in most areas. Some of the first person stuff is a battleground at the minute. Team Fortress I think is a fantastic game and games do come out that really push back. I think strategy will always be strong on it. MMOs are an interesting new one as well. In some ways the PC's big advantage is the fact that it is a great thing to innovate on. Xbox LIVE Arcade stuff aside it's still the best breeding ground for a new developer. You can put stuff out on Flash, there's lots of little technologies you can work with whereas the barrier to entry for going into console is ridiculously high. So new talent will come out of PC which is another positive thing.
In some ways the market is getting so big that there's going to always be room for PC. Perhaps it will become slightly more scruffy relative of the gaming world, which has got this nice big shiny, cheerleaders out in the console world! I don't know quite where I'm going with that imagery! But the PC will be the nerdy guy in the corner, as it always was and there's still that place for them I think. Perhaps the delivery method will change, If you get to the point where as a developer you can put stuff out on the web yourself you could get a lot of garage developers going back to those smaller bedroom coder developer things, and the idea coming back again. So I see that as a really positive thing. It's just the big blockbuster epics will probably not be on the PC.
VideoGamer.com: So you've never considered the Stronghold series for the consoles?
SB: We do look at it periodically and we'd love to be able to do it because it's a great way of getting it out to a wider market. I still think there's a lot of people out there that would want to play a castle building game that just don't play games. Now is a great time for showing the world, with the off quoted Wii-playing Granny thing, can you imagine your Granddad wanting to build a castle? There's a lot of non-game playing folk that we know gaming has kind of percolated out to, but if you go to them directly it could do really well. So, yes, if we could do a console version and get it more mainstream we would. But right now we can't quite see the control system. The Stronghold series is a well known brand now and it's an area that's got potential I think not quite necessarily in its current form, but who knows that's just wild speculation on my part.
VideoGamer.com: Thanks for your time.
Dungeon Hero is due out for PC and Xbox 360 some time in 2009.