Eurogamer: Sure, it's clear that you're very popular and these guys obviously aren't having trouble getting stuff out of it-
Mark Rein: And don't forget that all of our licensees have a chance to go out and evaluate our technology, determine if it's right for them, and try out our support. We treat them like they're licensees. We don't...Just because you're evaluating the technology doesn't mean we put you off in a corner - you sign the evaluation licence agreement and a lot of times those licensees can - normally it's a three-month period but a lot of time we extend them, and people can try our support and decide if it's good enough for them, if we're doing a good job, and if they want to move forward. Nobody's forced to license our engine, and you see a lot of people do, and they are having a good time and they are making good games.
Eurogamer: But it does raise the question then: what is Denis's problem? Because they have sued you, and you've counter-sued them, and I don't understand what their problem is if all that's true.
Mark Rein: I don't have anything brilliant to add to that.
Eurogamer: Changing tack, you announced a Gears of War film a while ago - how's that going? Do you have a script?
Mark Rein: We have a fantastic script. The guy who wrote the Gears of War script wrote the original screen story for Pirates of the Caribbean, and he wrote Collateral, the Tom Cruise movie that was very good, and he's just a fantastic writer. He's worked really closely with the team, and he really gets it. He understands some of the back-story elements that are just hinted at very subtly within the game and the dialogue - we don't want to beat your around with a big fat story or lots of cinematics that you have to sit and watch. All the money we put in the game we put into something you could do with it, as opposed to just something cinematic, but he clearly understood. He's written a really, really good story.
People out there will be very sceptical, and I don't blame them because it's a game movie, if you will, but he said he would and the studio said he would and they're comfortable that he's written a good movie that happens to be based on Gears of War as opposed to just a game translation. I think people will like it. I don't know where they are in terms of a star or director - we read the rumours just like everybody else. The studio did tell us they were talking to a very, very big-name director, and I am not going to reveal it because it's just talks.
Eurogamer: Maybe the first letter of his name.
Mark Rein: No [grins]. There's been some rumours, and the rumours are not the guy they're talking to, so I assume they're talking to a bunch of guys. New Line - to them, it's what they call one of these tent-pole movies. It's their summer 2009 blockbuster as we as we can tell. They're certainly treating it that way. We were very nervous about signing a movie. Our number one goal is 'do no harm'. Don't hurt your franchise by having a crappy movie. So we're very nervous. We came very close to saying 'not this time', but the studio gave us some really good assurances in the contractual stage that they've got some really good people together with this. I mean, this is the studio behind Lord of the Rings - they're not afraid to spend a lot of money, and to do something good and artistic, so we just felt we stacked the deck with the people we're working with and, if there's a chance for this to be a good movie, we're dealing with the guys who can do it.
Eurogamer: Are you going to hit November with PS3 and PC Unreal Tournament?
Mark Rein: Sure hope so!
Eurogamer: And when are you releasing Gears of War PC exactly?
Mark Rein: Well, they're all aimed at November. I don't see any reason why we won't unless bugs come up or it takes longer to certify or - honestly, I can't see any reason why we won't. If we don't make November it will be because we need to do a little extra work, but we seem to be on track for that. I think there's a lot of guys who say they're going to ship their game in November knowing it's likely to slip to March, but you know us, and we're usually a 'when it's done' company unless we know for sure we can hit a date like we did with Gears of War. So yeah, we have good confidence - not enough to say which week in November it's going to be yet, but we're confident.
You know, Gears of War is all about making sure it will run well on the low-end machines. For the most part Games For Windows Live works very well. I think Microsoft's going to ship an XP game that uses it even before we do. So I don't think there's a lot of risk on Gears except how well it's running on these crappy machines. I'm not in the studio every day, but from what I read we're doing pretty well at making the games run on relatively low-end hardware. So I think we'll do it.
Watch out for more from Mark on an upcoming edition of the Eurogamer TV Show. He does hand actions and everything. Interview by Tom Bramwell and Johnny Minkley.