The Future of uDraw
GameZone sat down to a demo of Spongebob Squiggleplants and grilled THQ's ___________ about the future of the uDraw platform: where it's going, where it's been, and what it's favorite color is.
GameZone: Let's start with your position within THQ.
THQ: I'm vice president of creative. I don't run production, but I work a lot with licensors when figuring out what's the best thing to do with their brands, and in general trying to up the quality of the games.
GZ: Now that it has solidified its standing as a successful platform on the Wii, what's the future of uDraw?
THQ: There is a future for uDraw. We've got one more game coming out between now and E3: Kung Fu Panda 2. It's an entirely different game from the Kinect version and the Move version. And then, going into E3, we're going to have announcements as far as future titles, and we'll discuss the future of uDraw itself.
GZ: So what does Kung Fu Panda have to do with the uDraw?
THQ: For one, the story of the game (of all the games), takes place after the movie, so it's a different story. It's about the power vacuum ... I forget how to pronounce the name ... but it's in the city of the movie. It's got new characters that were actually created for the first movie but were discarded, so when we were making this, we needed new characters as cannon fodder and otherwise to feature, so we got to use some original Dreamworks characters we hadn't seen before. The big, different mode in the uDraw version is a little area where you play with baby Po. Baby Po is way ultra cute, and all the activities ... It's like playing with a kitten. Mostly tilt-based stuff because baby Po likes to roll around, as bears do.
GZ: Will you be looking to expand the uDraw onto other platforms?
THQ: We're trying to figure out all that now. If you look at the landscape, Microsoft is very, very focused on Kinect. Sony's very, very focused on Move. It's hard to have a conversation when they're trying to build their own business. And you really need--for a platform play--you really need partnership on the platform. So hopefully we'll have more to say about that at E3.
GZ: But it's definitely something you'd want to do? THQ: I think we would. As many as there are out there, the Wii's life cycle is sort of spinning down a little bit.
GZ: Do you think it's the life cycle, or is it more the Wii's audience?
THQ: It's actually better. The audience is better.
GZ: So do you think uDraw would find the same success on some of the more core platforms?
THQ: I don't know. It would be a different proposition because of the audience. Certainly the drawing part, the potential for education--that would still be a unique play on those platforms. There are more and more of them in homes. But I think we would have to have it grow up a little.
GZ: Would THQ be looking to bring uDraw versions of any of its other franchises, like Red Faction or something like that? How would that work?
THQ: We haven't really talked to the core guys yet. The thing is, if we were going to do that, they'd be different games. They wouldn't be necessarily first-person shooters. There are possibilities for things like an RTS-style game. We could do that with something like Red Faction.
GZ: Too far away?
THQ: Too far away. They've got their hands full with the Red Faction they're coming out with right now. From inside the company, we're fairly separate divisions. They share information, but only at the very top, not a lot down at our level. Certainly on a production level, there's not a lot of interaction.