So to sum it up you think the industry relies too much on focus groups?
BF: Absolutely it's more rare [to rely on instincts]. What stinks about it is that if they have success, then everybody is going to go "That's the way to go. We need more instinctual guys." If it doesn't work, everybody's going to say, "Told you so."
But the truth is that it's just the randomness of the entertainment business. The approach isn't the only reason why a product succeeds. How hard is it to pick a product out in this business? They killed Steven Spielberg's game! We'll kill the Steven Spielberg project. It's just that tough.
It's interesting because you've had this past where you've been involved in these kind of groundbreaking games like Bard's Tale, Wasteland, Baldur's Gate and Fallout. Do you ever feel like that you have to live up to these big titles that you released in the past?
BF: Well, I mean, yes and no. Look, on one hand, I've had recent success, Line Rider and Fantastic Contraption. So, it's not like I'm just focusing on those [previous accomplishments]. On one hand, I'll go on a press tour and I will talk with young guys on the blogs — they've never heard of Interplay, forget Baldur's Gate. So, on one hand, I had to adjust. I was shipping games before these guys were born.
For those guys, there are no expectations. On the others, I don't know. There's certainly a "it better be good" kind of concept, but I just have to do what I think feels right. I look at the product, I have my own way of looking at things, my own sensibility of things that are important to me. I just keep applying them and hoping they line up with what people are wanting to see.
I think Hunted: The Demon's Forge definitely feels like something that I've been involved with. You'll feel my thumbprint on that game and it's going to have a lot of personality and a lot of depth. And at the same time, I'm recognizing it's the year 2011, so it's not about the feel like something that shipped in the mid-90s.
Some people beat on their own drums better than others, but I gave starts to Treyarch and BioWare and Blizzard and Black Isle. [My publicist] said we should probably get that out a little more at some point [laughs]. I don't really talk about that stuff, but I'm still in the frontlines doing things.