THQ boss hails fun-factor Wii
Perfect antidote, says CEO Farrell.
THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell has offered a ringing endorsement of Nintendo's next-generation Wii console, commending the Japanese giant's back-to-basics approach to "fun" gaming as a welcome tonic in an industry which "takes itself too seriously".
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our sister site Eurogamer TV, the US publisher boss revealed his company's enthusiasm for the system, which it intends to support heavily from day one with its biggest properties.
"We love the Wii - it's all about having fun, right? Games are about having fun and sometimes this industry takes itself a bit too seriously," Farrell said. "If you watch people with that Wii controller, it's just fun to play with.
"A lot of our properties, like Cars and Spongebob and others, really map well... Potentially even wrestling - I can think of a lot of great things to do with the controller for that product as well," he added.
Nintendo's positioning of Wii, as well as Sony's inclusion of motion-sensing as standard in the PS3 pad, presents an interesting series of challenges to a multi-format publisher like THQ, used to releasing the same content across a number of systems.
Farrell welcomed the strategies of all the format holders and while refusing to rule out platform exclusives, admitted that unique features rather than unique titles would be the focus.
"It's all about competition between the platform holders and we love that actually," he insisted. "Their job is to drive hardware into the market - for a software publisher, that's nirvana. The more hardware, the more intense the battle to drive hardware into homes, the better the addressable market for companies like THQ.
"Because of high development costs it's going to be harder and more costly for someone to do an exclusive title," Farrell continued. "We've done exclusive titles in the past; we're always open to having those discussions. I think what you'll see with the Nintendo Wii, though, because it is a unique platform, you'll see unique if not exclusive titles."
Elsewhere in the interview, with key titles like Company of Heroes, Saint's Row and S.T.A.L.K.E.R on the horizon, plus the expectations for current Pixar blockbuster tie-in Cars, Farrell was bullish in his outlook for the year ahead and on his firm's ability to close the gap on arch-rivals Activision and EA.
"Our goal at E3 was to put a flag in the ground as a true next-generation games company, and I think we've done that," Farrell claimed. "He who has the best games wins - that's what's great about this industry. We've built out our global infrastructure, we have a world class development organisation, we understand what gamers want. So once you have that infrastructure and that know-how in place, it's all about the games."
The full interview is now showing on Eurogamer TV.