OK, I held your attention hostage long enough, I was thinking to do photos or scans of this, but I don't have that done either just yet, so I'll start by typing what they printed, this would be specific Q and A just mentioning PC gaming, the interview segment IS longer, so you know.
He talks about his partner being Terry Donovan, and another question concerning the "upcoming" Xbox from Microsoft shows you this is very early on, with the 2D games under their belts, and Rockstar had just been formed not long beforehand. Since DMA was without the Houser brothers, as you know.
He comments before PCs about driving ambition, or the creative juices spurring them on this journey of game creation as a new career, for them in particular.
"I don't want to come off as an a-hole, But I think too many games and too many journalists seem to focus on technology instead, The films that have stood the test of time have great stories, great content. The films of Generations of youth are still those Scorcese films. I watched Raging Bull again the other day from start to finish, Cinematically it's a good looking film, but it isn't Stargate or Terminator 2. It's a great story presented brilliantly, and you want to come back to see it again and again.
The interview states graphics in games gets people's attention first and foremost, which I tend to agree.
At the time GTA was still 2D, Lara Croft and Tomb Raider got much fanfare for it's 3D graphics at the time, to offer a reference point.
They ask Sam about that challenge of gameplay vs graphics;
"Gameplay is the most difficult thing to market, because it's so intangible, That's why we like to combine great gameplay with some sort of marketable edge. The controversial element attracted people to Grand Theft Auto, but it wasn't the actual thing that sold it. If we could replicate that formula, we would. However, we're not going to come out with the GTA series Mass Murderer where you play as Ted Bundy and go around killing everyone. We're not going to shaft people with crap"
-What is officially in the works for Rockstar?
GTA2 on the PC and Playstation, and Thrasher on the Playstation. Then we're going to focus on Playstation2. I'm a big believer in this convergence concept, Sony wants to own your living room (one device doing many things in the Entertainment center of your home) They have done so for 20 years (individual products building a household name in this instance) ...But they've made you buy so many boxes that your front room has gotten a little messy. One machine, one focus. Boom-Boom-Boom! We'll be getting titles straight out the gate at it's launch (something you won't see any more, BTW)
WILL ANY OF THOSE END UP ON PC??
Yeah, but basically I think there's an inherent difference in what makes a good console game and what makes a great PC game. GTA is one of those rare exceptions (this seems to show his line of thinking RE the past support of platforms)
IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR PC GAMES?
"No. I don't think so. Many peoole have a PC and a console. Will I be able to play Unreal Tournament through a Playstation 2? I think a keyboard and mouse is the way to play those games. Conversely, I've never been a fan of playing sports games on the PC.
WHAT ABOUT MS' XBOX (rumored at this time)
"It has potential, but I've a few questions. They're talking about publishers not having to pay royalty. It sounds cool but it means that anyone can put out anything and you end up with the mess on the shelves that is PC game titles. It sounds insane to say I want to pay Sony money, but it means you've actually got to make some effort. Also, the big PC games to move over are the FPS (ones), which work well with a keyboard and mouse. Is this console going to have a keyboard and mouse? (USB offers consoles many of options, and yes, with PS3, I've gotten a touch pad to work on a joint keyboard mouse mini)
"At which point you ask yourself, is it one thing or another?"
There is even Talk of it being Upgradeable-
"Well, I suppose to the console crowd that's the Holy Grail. Upgrading scares the Hell out of me, and I wouldn't bother. I just buy a new PC because I can't upgrade mine (this caused me to laugh, of course, not all of us are in this same boat obviously) I'm a halfwit, I can't go adding Ram Oh-Oh
I've just wiped the Hard Disk! (my thoughts are in parenthesis so you know I'm not Sam talking)
WHAT games have you been playing recently:
"I've been playing Everquest a lot. I think it's the best online one to date. (nothing like GTAO, eh?!) But, it's still only going to work with a certain audience. Could you take the Rockstar way to a massive multiplayer audience? I'd love to. We've got a bunch of concepts, one of which wouldn't take much guessing (oddly, before GTA went with any, David Jones introduced his concept for All Points Bulletin!)
COULD IT BE GTA IN A HUGE ONLINE CITY?
laughing, Sam responds; "I'm not going to comment!" "The big problem for me with online gaming is personality. It's like playing with computer characters because I don't know anyone. In Blood, I used to love to cap someone with a flare gun. It would be so funny because it was your friend over the corridor. It's like Conkers, you're just shoving it down their throats and it's all in good fun. No one's going to pull a gun out and shoot the other.
(in reality, this can still be an issue with online gaming, where you get killed far too often, and the fun is tempered as such)
ANY OTHER games you've been playing?
This PC game we actually licensed from a developer in Hungary to the Gameboy, called Action Supercross. Gary Penn of DMA gave it to me last year. You just steer a bike through these little 2D courses. The feel of the bike is un-f**king-believable. We got the Evil Knievel license and we put the two together.
Do You look outside for all your titles?
"No, we have one internal Rockstar Studio in Canada. They developed GTA:London, I think the split will be 40 percent internal, 60 percent external. You've got to have internal to have that knowledge in-house, but you've got to work with externals to keep everything fresh"
Your Parent Company TAKE-TWO created a poor name for itself with games like LULU, Virtual Babe, Isn't Rockstar just a cynical way of shaking that off?
"What happened was GTA had become kind of sexy and cool and people weren't scared to talk about it at the pub. And, before leaving England, we launched Three Lions. Whether it was good, bad, or indifferent, we threw the best f**king party the games business had ever seen!
Sanjay from EastEnders and Jane Middlemiss were banging on the window to get in. I thought, it's not so geeky, it's not just for di*kheads, it's actually real, and people should be proud.
I'll end the interview transcript there because it moved off PC gaming in particular, but this also reads like a segment of the book JACKED, where you gain a lot of dated insight, but in recent years, the guys at Rockstar GAMES have put the press at more then arm's length. Interviews are rarely granted as has been photos of the head honchos themselves.
If you're interested in other issues brought up in all these interviews, ask about it to me and I'll see what else I can put up for ya.