The Next id Game
FS: So you would describe your personal biases as not necessarily so much driving but more about rocket launchers?
John: The games are for fun. And simulation games have never been that big for me, as far as flight simulators, driving simulators and all of that. I recognize in some aspects the element of entertaining there, and it's certainly not like I'm saying "these are no fun, nobody can enjoy these," but it's just they haven't been my personal favorites.
Early on I loved the RPG games, but as my life got busier and busier with other stuff, I didn't have that much time to spend on those. I've always loved the simple straightforward arcade games. And while they've changed a lot in going from Gauntlet to Quake 3, they're still the same kind of fundamental things - you run around, you fight your enemies, you pick up stuff, you make it to the next level in time. It's a fundamentally valid, core, primal gameplay element there, and I don't feel bad about even making relatively similar games like Quake, Quake 2, Quake 3 on the different styles of things. Just like there have always been driving games and flying games, there's always going to be action first person shooters now, and I think we've made good steps in each of our projects. We probably are going to be going a different way with our next game, because not everyone at the company does feel the same way I do about that. So we're likely going to be doing something a bit different next time, but we haven't exactly settled on it yet.
FS: Have you decided if it's going to still be a first-person game?
John: It's very likely to still be a first person game, but it may not be an action game. Graeme and I have been sitting around talking about game design ideas for different things, and they cover a pretty fair range, exploring a few different choices that we've got, but we're not prepared to talk about any of them yet. They are likely to be first person, almost certainly.
FS: I just thought it would be interesting if id went into RTS or something else, the same way that Blizzard went from RTS into creating the action RPG.
John: I'm not a real good real time strategy player. Actually, I've never really sat down and played much of one. Just not my type of thing. It's just a whole difference of - the first person games are the most immersive kind.
Real time strategy games are among the least immersive, you're directing your forces, and it's clearly not you in the game. I think it's very likely that we'll be doing something that's still first person. It's a small step to third person, but I actually think there's probably other companies that are better suited to do third person, companies that have more directorial ambitions.
Unlike many people in the games industry, I have absolutely zero desire to be making movies that go on the computer. And that's the downfall of a lot of companies. A lot of game designers wish they were directors, but I think you should make up your mind. And I'm clearly in the game designer part, rather than the director part. That's also the draw that puts a lot of people towards third person games. Third person is definitely better for showing off things like character animation. Steed would definitely love to go to something that was much more animation focused, but it's probably not going to be the next step. That's not completely out of the question, but I would bet on staying with something first person.