Cliff Bleszinski may be the face of Epic Games but Mark Rein is the voice. No tight jeans, diamond earrings or chainsaw-waving japes for him - just a wardrobe full of polo shirts and a great big bundle of opinions.
Eurogamer sat down with Mark Rein and his opinions at the Develop Conference in Brighton last week. Naturally he banged on about how great Epic's Unreal Engine 3 is, and naturally we asked him stupid questions about Gears of War 3 which he was never going to answer. Still, read on to find out what Rein reckons to the recent id Software buyout, why he's excited about Project Natal and what's going on with Gears of War 3.
Eurogamer: Hello Mark Rein. The last time you and I met was at E3, when the press got to see Project Natal for the first time. Had you seen it before?
Mark Rein: Yes. The two games they showed on stage used our engine, so we're really excited about that. I'm very pro-Natal. There are a lot of interesting things you could do with it and I'm really excited to be involved with it.
We're working closely with Microsoft to spread the enhancements they made with Unreal Engine 3 to other developers. If people out there are interested in doing really cool games for Natal, they should contact me and I can put them in touch with Microsoft.
Eurogamer: Is this interview just going to be you hawking your wares for the next 20 minutes?
Mark Rein: No! I'm answering your question about Project Natal! The whole concept of playing a game without a controller is very intriguing. That's going to open up a lot of stuff. Take EA Sports Active on the Wii. It's a great game but it's not very compelling to have to have all that extra hardware attached to your body.
If you made a game like that for Natal - and I'm sure EA is doing it - Natal could just look at you and tell if you're doing the exercises properly. Plus anything could become your controller - a tennis club, a golf club, a gun...
Eurogamer: A chainsaw...
Mark Rein: Or a gun with a chainsaw...
Eurogamer: That is where I was going with that, yes. When you look at Project Natal, what opportunities do you see for the Gears of War and Unreal series?
Mark Rein: That's a hard one. Our games are really designed for the controller experience. They're very twitchy. I'm not a hundred per cent sure there's a good fit there, or that there even needs to be.
I could see doing gestures to other player in multiplayer games, where Natal notices if you've raised your hand. I could see maybe using it to throw a grenade. But I doubt the Gears of War-type experience is what they're aiming for with Natal.
Eurogamer: Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a chat with Marcus Fenix though? 'Hello, how was work?' 'Yeah not bad, just been doing a bit more war on the Locust horde,' that sort of thing.
Mark Rein: Milo Fenix? I don't think that's our thing. I'd rather have that conversation with Lara Croft.