Hubbs: Welcome and thank you for taking your time to represent Acclaim for this small interview. Can you please state your name and tell us a little about yourself and what you do for Acclaim?
Ken: "It's my pleasure to speak with you, thanks for giving me this opportunity. My name is Ken Chan and I'm the brand manager on BOTS. However, I would say that my job is not like a traditional brand manager. In other companies, brand managers very rarely have the ability to adapt the product. For BOTS, I plan to bring the game to the players and then let the players tell me what they want from the game. "
Hubbs How did the company that you work for come across and later decide to buy the Acclaim name and trademarks? Why not maybe other well known companies like 3DO or Interplay?
Ken: Our CEO, Howard Marks, decided to buy the Acclaim name because he was a fan of the brand and he believed it to have much more potential than what we've seen so far.
Hubbs: Since you now own Acclaim's trademarks does this also include all of acclaims old games from the past systems? Do you see a possible future for some of these games to be re-released on Xbox Live! Arcade or on Nintendo Revolution's Virtual System?
Ken: We don't believe in re-hashing old titles. Our focus is on providing free multiplayer online games with unique revenue models. We think the players deserve fun games again and our primary goal is to bring those games to them. So even though we don't plan to bring back the old titles, that doesn't exclude us from bringing our new games to consoles and formats you mentioned.
Hubbs: The new Acclaim's focus has come out saying that they will be bringing out MMORPG's for the PC? How did they come to that decision to be the company's future?
Ken: Well to clarify, it's not bringing MMORPGs per se, it's more general to multiplayer online games. BOTS, for example, is not an
MMORPG, it's an online multiplayer action game. We are focused on these types of games because we want to expand the options available to consumers.
Hubbs: Will you be bringing in other MMO games from Japan and Asia or are all the games that Acclaim will be working on going to be in-house development?
Ken: It will be a blend of both.
Hubbs: So will you be bringing MMO's overseas from all over Asia as well then? Are there any companies that you are currenlty in negotiations with in bringing their games overseas? Is there hope that Korean MMO's might make it to the US?
Ken: We want to provide the US market with the best games possible, regardless of origin. That's a question I can't answer. I'd like to think that's exactly what we're doing now with BOTS and 9Dragons.
Hubbs: In regards to the MMO service it was mentioned that you will be offering a free online gaming service? Will this be similar to how Guild Wars works with Arena.net or do you have something else in mind?
Ken: All our games will be completely free to play. Depending on the game, we will utilize advertising, selling game items or subscription models.
Hubbs: Selling game items is rather self explanitory but how will advertising be handled in regards to funding your games? WIll the ads be in game similiar to a BestBuy ad in Need For Speed? What are these subscription models you speak of and how will they be apllied to your games?
Ken: We can place advertising in the game as well as in community areas. We'll be working with advertisers and players to figure out what makes the most sense in terms of advertising. As part of the beta testing, we'll also be testing the advertising system, so everything is subject to change. We're working on the subscription models but not details yet.
Hubbs: After Acclaim's announcement focusing on MMO gaming you showed off two titles, Bots and 9 Dragons. Can you tell us a little bit about both? What kind of features will be included in the games?
Ken: "We're excited about both titles because we think we're offering something unique to players. BOTS is a multi-player online robot fighting game with a lot of quick-paced action. Players get to choose from three basic BOTS and then upgrade their character however they wish. We have multi or single player story mode, player vs. player mode and player base attack mode. We're going to add elements outside of the game that will be a lot of fun such as tournaments and rewards. 9Dragons is an Asian-themed MMORPG. Think ""Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets MMORPG"". I would say it's a departure from other MMORPG games available right now because of the different style of gameplay."
Hubbs: Bots will soon be available as a free download beta and I have registered in hopes of trying it out. What do you think the public reaction will be once this game finally comes out? Will Bots be able to appeal to more than just the MMO hardcore group? What will it do differently that other Robot based MMO games have done already?
Ken: I think the players will find BOTS to be quite enjoyable. The game is definitely geared towards a more general audience so both hardcore and casual players will find it fun. The game will be different than other multiplayer online games because we will be supporting it with community events, tournaments and rewards.
Hubbs: Sounds pretty exciting but what are you going to include in the game that I won't find in a similiar game like "One Must Fall Online"(PC) or "Custom Robo: Battle Evolution(Gamecube)?"
Ken: I must confess, I haven't played those games myself. However, they appear to be more like traditional pure fighting games whereas BOTS is more action oriented. We have story modes as well as base vs base modes.
Hubbs: 9 Dragons looks to be a more ambitious title than Bots. What is the story and setting of 9 Dragons? Is it set more like a traditional MMORPG? What will the game include I order to separate itself from other MMO’s like WoW and Guild Wars?
Ken: I'm not sure it's fair to compare the two games given the radically different genres, but you're right. 9Dragons is an MMORPG game and so the focus is slightly less on quick-paced action. 9Dragons is set in an Asian-theme and will allow players to create characters with
martial arts skills. We're not quite ready to reveal everything about 9Dragons right now but, the moment we are, I think players will find the game to be fun and refreshingly unique.
Hubbs: When can we expect to hear any announcements regarding 9 Dragons or any future projects? Will you be showing off any new games or a playable 9 Dragons demo at this year's E3?
Ken: We will reveal more about 9Dragons in the coming weeks. As for E3, it is an incredible time for the industry and we're looking forward to it. However, we haven't finalized any plans yet and overall, with all the noise and focus on traditional retail products, it may not be in line with what we want to do.
Hubbs: What are your opinions on the direction the Next-gen systems are heading in? Do any of them offer anything that might allow you to consider developing for them?
Ken: We are excited about the release of the next gen consoles and look forward to the possibilities they hold. What's really interesting is that this is the first generation of consoles that have online play squarely within its sights and that is obviously very appealing to us.
We here at GamingVision would like to thank Ken Chan of the new Acclaim for taking his time and we look forward to their future projects.