SEGA In­ter­view

Sega Europe’s se­nior VP of com­mer­cial pub­lish­ing talks con­sole ports.

PC GAMER (US) - - CONTENTS - By Sa­muel Roberts

In re­cent years, along­side big strat­egy games, such as To­tal War: Warham­mer and Com­pany of He­roes 2, Sega has brought some of its more eclec­tic con­sole clas­sics to PC, like Bayonetta, Val k yr ia Chron­i­cles, and Van­quish. Sega’s got much more to come, though. Sega Europe’s John Clark ex­plains the process be­hind port­ing these games, and I press him on what else we can ex­pect to see on PC in fu­ture.

What mo­ti­vates your choice of which old con­sole games to bring to PC? If I asked you to write me a list of the ten games you want Sega to bring out on PC, it prob­a­bly isn’t any dif­fer­ent from the list [we have]. What mo­ti­vates that [is] that peo­ple just have an affin­ity with [our] games, and there’s no sur­prise in the games that would be on that list.

We re­cently launched Bayonetta and Van­quish, and prior to that we launched Valkyria Chron­i­cles. Fur­ther back, we launched Typ­ing of the Dead— and all of these games that are ei­ther de­liv­er­ing the ex­pe­ri­ences that the com­mu­nity wants, or they’re en­abling us to un­der­stand how the com­mu­nity plays those games, and how the com­mu­nity in­ter­acts. I think when we launched Bayonetta, straight away on Steam I saw some­body say, ‘We want to see these games on Steam now! Sega, we want to see you work­ing on these!’ And we’re look­ing at that and we say, ‘Yeah, we know! We know!’—and we want to work on them as well, and we haven’t fin­ished. We just haven’t fin­ished with Van­quish and Bayonetta, we’re still there—we are ac­tively work­ing on other games as we speak. We’re not ready to tell you what they are, but there will be news com­ing out in the next few months.

What are the chal­lenges of port­ing a game to PC? Van­quish never ran at 60 frames per sec­ond, for ex­am­ple—what’s the process be­hind that? First, [de­pend­ing on how old the game is], what’s the ar­chiv­ing of the source code like? Does the en­gine and the way that the game was built en­able us to el­e­gantly port it onto PC? As you say, they weren’t built for vari­able fram­er­ates or 60 frames per sec­ond, so we worked with Plat­inumGames on that. But we also bring in our own ex­per­tize from some stu­dios that we work within the UK, and some ta­lent that we know un­der­stands how we want to align PC games to the au­di­ence.

So there’s the tech­ni­cal as­pect, there’s the source code, the sta­tus of the source code. There is ev­ery­thing from li­cens­ing and past agree­ments, but it could be any­thing from mu­sic or what items are in the game. Are we drink­ing a par­tic­u­lar type of bev­er­age, are we eat­ing a par­tic­u­lar type of food, or driv­ing a par­tic­u­lar car? That’s all rel­e­vant through a lot of Sega games, and we do need to check all of those, and it does have an in­flu­ence on what is the next one on the list that we can get to.

Are there any projects where it’s just too tan­gled up li­cens­ing-wise or lo­gis­ti­cally to do? Is that just a chal­lenge you face with some of the older games? Ab­so­lutely. And [it’s] a chal­lenge that we ac­cept and we dive into and, for us, it’s [about] fig­ur­ing out a way through it, and we’ve got a re­ally pro­gres­sive at­ti­tude in that we want to see cer­tain games come to mar­ket. We are com­mit­ted to get those games to mar­ket that fall into that ex­act cat­e­gory that you’ve just said.

One thing that you haven’t done yet is bring any Atlus games to PC—I was won­der­ing whether that is some­thing we could pos­si­bly look at in the fu­ture? The great thing about be­ing in­volved with Atlus—and you see it through Sega Amer­ica and Atlus—they’re bring­ing out Per­sona 5, which is an Atlus ti­tle, but they’re bring­ing out new edi­tions of the Yakuza ti­tles, and so it just makes sense that we all talk to­gether about ex­tend­ing all of those, in­cred­i­ble IP, across to Steam and rec­og­nize the fact that the PC au­di­ence adds to those com­mu­nity and con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ences. It doesn’t de­tract from it, and it isn’t any­thing that they need to be con­cerned about, so those con­ver­sa­tions def­i­nitely hap­pen.

We see our role as ed­u­cat­ing our busi­ness about PC and Steam, as well as driv­ing our busi­ness for­ward in re­tail and on con­sole as well, and we’re all aware of the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are across all plat­forms for the IP.

Ev­ery­one has that wish list of games they want to see on PC. You seem to be re­ally con­scious of that. Yeah, if you send that list to us and I’ll tell you which ones we can tick, which ones are on our list, which ones are pos­si­bil­i­ties, which ones are not pos­si­bil­i­ties, which ones we’ve talked about, which ones we’re talk­ing about, which ones we’re work­ing on—they’ll be on that list.

Yakuza, is that a pos­si­bil­ity on PC? It’s on that list. It’s some­thing that we’re talk­ing about. We can see that Yakuza is out on con­sole, and it would just be in­cred­i­ble to bring that to the PC au­di­ence.

I guess, along the same lines— Per­sona? Of course, of course—I keep stay­ing ahead of you, I’m try­ing to guess what you’re go­ing to say next.

Sorry, I know you can’t con­firm any of this. No, ab­so­lutely. But we don’t feel that any­thing is off the ta­ble in terms of these con­ver­sa­tions. The fact that, as an or­ga­ni­za­tion, we’re hav­ing these [con­ver­sa­tions], they’re healthy con­ver­sa­tions, they’re con­struc­tive, we rec­og­nize the value of the com­mu­nity, we rec­og­nize the value of the IP. The IP has got con­tin­ued life to grow big­ger, and, yeah, we’re hav­ing those con­ver­sa­tions.

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