Sega's Gary Dunn
The European development boss discusses new motion tech, the 2012 Olympics and Sega's "crack team" of fixers
As managing director of European development for Sega, Gary Dunn is responsible for all internal studios, including Sports Interactive and The Creative Assembly, as well as running external development with partners such as Rebellion and Sumo Digital.
In this exclusive interview with GamesIndustry.biz, Dunn talks about the publishers recent experiment with mature-rated titles for Nintendo's Wii, why he would personally love to work on a 2012 Olympics game, developing Sonic titles outside of Japan, and why he thinks Sega can get ahead of the competition on new motion control technology.
They are six of the cleverest developers you'll find. They do all sorts and are our crack team. We have an art director in there, probably one of the best graphics programmers in the business, and some very good general game programmers. We use them as a crack team and they go all over. Their first job was to do the PlayStation 3 version of Viking: Battle for Asgard which they did in eight weeks.
It's all supply and demand and they do have some quieter periods. They were all actually members of the racing studio before we closed it down. Six individuals that were so talented that we weren't going to let them go to Codemasters. They did Viking just before we sold the studio and it seemed to absolutely make sense to keep that talent.
They're worked on Sonic, they've worked on Bayonetta, their breadth is huge. They're a broad support team. We deploy them in two ways. One is as a crack team when there's a problem, but also when we want to guide and shape a project, and it allows us to get better results from the same game team we were working with.
Certainly in Europe our key focus is making the most of our own brands. With Total War we've done a whole road map and planned out the series with some exciting things which I can't talk about yet, but to evolve the franchise and monetise it better. With Football Manager, we've launched Football Manager Live, we're still doing PSP content, and again it's a case of making sure it's available on the appropriate devices. That was one of the reasons we stopped doing it on Xbox 360, we looked at sales and it wasn't an appropriate format. There are other devices where it's much better suited, and not just the main game.
That's the sort of thing we're investigating at the moment, but it's just too early to be explicit what our plans are.
House of the Dead: Overkill was a profitable title for us. Whilst it had a rather sharp tail at full price, they do bubble away at a lower price point for a long time. You get your money back and a bit on full price, but over the years, if we do the final product return on investment, profits come from the lower price point. On that were were hoping for higher sales because the marketing was so in depth. It wasn't a bad performance, it was a great value for money proposition for us as a development exercise.
We had some hints when we released Ghost Squad and House of the Dead: 2 & 3 Return on the Wii which sold really well, it was great business. So that was one of things that allowed us to have the confidence to want to experiment and push it further. And with MadWorld, which came out of our Platinum Games relationship, we wanted to get behind the products because we thought it was a really strong product. You have to push boundaries and explore. I think whilst MadWorld commercially didn't sell what we were expecting I wouldn't say it's game over for mature Wii titles from Sega. We need another few months of sales data and see where we have available resources and support.
We're taking a look at the resources we have now. We've got money to invest in development, we're just considering where to invest it next and the honest answer is we've not made a decision on that yet.