Interview with the Chiefs of Game Developers by Jade
ever wondered about who the people are behind the games you love?
What they look like? What they eat? Well, I came up with 5 questions
for my five-minute interview with the leaders of popular game software
companies. We will feature one Chief each week. And I've also got
a photo of each Chief I've interviewed, so that you can see what
they look like. As for what they eat, that's highly classified information.
Earlier this year, we thought Gameloft
had changed its game development strategy to focus on mobile gaming.
Well, it turns out they were just hiding somewhere sharpening their
pencils. With the recent release of Rayman Ultimate and Siberian Strike
X for the Pocket PC, Gameloft sent a message that the company will
strengthen its foothold in the PDA gaming market, all the while producing
a huge catalog of game titles for mobile phones. The latest Rayman
Ultimate also hints that a number of console games will make their
way to the PDA platform. We chatted with the General Manager of Gameloft’s
North American office, Mathieu Rolland about what’s happening
Interview: Jade Dragon: Could
you describe the relationship between Gameloft and Ubi Soft? How
closely do you work together?
Michel Guillemot, CEO of Gameloft is one of the founders of Ubi
Soft. Gameloft was originally funded by Ubi Soft shareholders and
has since been introduced on the stock market in Europe. Gameloft
is a completely separate company from Ubi Soft but we share a very
close relationship with them. Most importantly, Gameloft has access
to all of Ubi Soft's licenses, including the Tom Clancy line of
products, Rayman, Prince of Persia and much more.
Soft's Rayman franchise has released Rayman titles for various gaming
platforms. When you ported Rayman and Rayman Ultimate to Pocket PC, how
did you decide which Rayman titles to port?
was a concern of playability. At the time Rayman started being developed
for PDAs, the Game Boy Color version seemed like an obvious choice. It
was also the only version that could be ported both on Pocket PC and Palm.
Then Rayman Advanced came out on Game Boy Advance. Our teams of programmers
and designers are extremely competent with an extensive experience in
the video game industry. They have been able to port that game to the
PocketPC and make Rayman Ultimate. You have to remember that this game
was originally developed for the Playstation and it is no small task to
port it to a device like the PocketPC. I think you will agree that Rayman
Ultimate raises the bar at every level for gaming on the Pocket PC.
changed its focus from developing and selling games for PDAs to developing
games for mobile phones earlier this year. Now, with the new Rayman title
and Siberian Strike X, it seems that you don't want to abandon the PDA
market all together. What is the Gameloft's game development strategy?
has never been in the plans to abandon the PDA market all together. It
is true that we realized early in 2002 that the cell phone gaming market
was bound to grow much faster than the PDA gaming market. We shifted our
focus to support the cell phone market more strongly. The fact that carriers
were coming up with real and valuable business models, in terms of revenue,
distribution and so on, lead us to believe that it was the right choice.
But as our mission statement was to provide gaming for mobile devices
in general, we kept on making games for PDAs as well. We are very proud
of Rayman Ultimate and Siberian Strike X, they have both received great
the development point of view, how different is to develop games for phones
We are dealing today with a few standards on both sides. For phones, it's
a choice between Java (J2ME) and BREW. For the PDA, between Palm OS and
Pocket PC. On the PDA side, we have a bigger screen, more processing power
and buttons that you can (usually) press simultaneously. This allows for
better games all together. Coding the game for one OS (Palm or Pocket
PC) will allow it to work on all the corresponding devices.
On the phone side, it is a little more complicated. There
are a lot of different form factors. The phone can be black & white
or color, different color depth, different screen sizes, different processors
and different menu keys. Even if they all run Java, there will be some
porting to do to optimize the gameplay on each type of handset. We usually
chose the handsets that are the most popular and put them on top of our
list. If we have enough time and resources, we will port the games to
the less popular models.
we expect more Ubi Soft titles for PDA/Phone by Gameloft? Can we expect
more PDA (Palm and Pocket PC) games from Gameloft?
course! We are very excited to see mobile gaming pick up in all parts
of the world. On the PDA side, you will continue to see great games from
Gameloft, some carrying strong licenses. Palm is coming out with a new
OS (OS5) and better processors which will allow more compelling games.
One the phone side, we are very excited to see the manufacturers and carriers
put out beautiful color phones with better processing power. The future
of mobile gaming looks bright and it looks very cool!