iPad, and tablets in general, push technology forward at a rapid clip. The processing power grows significantly each year and, according to Remedy Entertainment CEO Matias Myllyrinne, it won't be long before full-fledged console experiences like Alan Wake can be had on tablets.
"[We're] not far at all," he told GamesIndustry International recently, adding that he'd still like to see a controller built for tablets that works. "Or at least I'd like to see games made for the medium. You still see ports of console titles being brought to iPad. While some of those are cool, I think the really powerful things would be when they're made for the medium. When you take the interface into serious consideration in your design. But I don't think we're far away from that at all. If you talk to any of the smart kids in the class, I think all of them are looking at how do we build good IP for theses devices, and I think Infinity Blade is now the benchmark and I think Epic and Chair have done a wonderful job there."
He continued, "I think we'll see loads of people come to that space and obviously, as the processing power goes ahead and increases, I don't think that's going to be the limiting factor. I think the nut to crack right now is to build the right kind of content for that medium."
"And the play sessions are different as well. So we're seeing in Death Rally, we've had over 50 million play sessions, but those play sessions usually are between 3 and 4 minutes. So I think you need to design a game that people can essentially play on a bus stop or in the toilet."
"I think we've gained a lot of credibility as an art form in the past few years and I think we'll continue to do that"
So does that mean that a traditional console type experience wouldn't fit tablets? Do iPad players not crave the hour+ long sit down gaming sessions that consoles are used for?
"That's a good question. I don't know," confessed Myllyrinne. "I know that there are heavy users for our games and there are a lot of folks who play at home on an iPad for a long period of time. I don't know whether the hard core gamers would still rather boot up a console and play Uncharted or Halo or what have you. But I don't think they necessarily take away from each other. They're just different kinds of experiences. I think, most of us, these days, we have a touch phone, we have an iPad, and we have a laptop. They're all used for similar things, but still they serve a specific function."
So if Remedy is so psyched with iOS as a platform and the potential for larger games, will Alan Wake make its way to iPad? Not necessarily.
"We're obviously looking hard at what kind of gameplay works on those platforms as well and doing a lot of prototyping. I think it's important to do it right. There's no such thing as a 'small' game. You can put out something that doesn't deliver. I don't think there are any excuses for that. Even if it's 99 cents or $4.99 or whatever, it's still kind of an implicit promise from you to the audience that, by the way, this is good sh*t. And if it's not, nobody wants to feel cheated or shortchanged, even if it's 99 cents. So I think it's really important to get those things right," he said.
Regardless of whether Alan Wake ever comes to iPad, Remedy as a developer is encouraged by the ongoing maturation the games industry has seen. Developers can be more creative with an adult perspective in mind these days. That simply wasn't the case in the '80s and '90s.
"I think we've gained a lot of credibility as an art form in the past few years and I think we'll continue to do that. But I think, most importantly, games are so mainstream now that you have the opportunity to try to do something that's more refined and it doesn't need to appeal to your middle school audience," Myllyrinne added. "You can do games for 20- or 30-year-old folks who like HBO. And I think that's interesting and it's cool to see people approach it from their own angles... technically, we can just do much more and production wise we can just do much more than we ever could before, so I'm really looking forward to what happens in the upcoming years."