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Interview with Atari's CEO Bruno Bonnell
Wednesday, May 10, 2006, 3:02AM EST
Atari's Message Is Getting Back to Basics
Atari chairman and CEO Bruno Bonnell believes core gameplay values must continue to guide the industry, even in the midst of a technological and consumer-behavioral revolution.
Q: What is the big message from Atari this year?
A: In this transition year, "back to basics" is probably the message from Atari. Our booth is actually an arcade in the good-old traditional sense, with all the dust and the dim lights. The focus is on what's onscreen, and we are showing all sorts of games, even pinball machines.
The message is that when we see a revolution in our industry, a period of uncertainty, it makes sense to go back to gameplay. We are presenting product with high-end gameplay on the older formats as well as on the new, most advanced consoles, but in an arcade fashion, in a grab-the-joystick-and-keep-playing way.
Q: Tell us about some of your biggest games.
A: Test Drive Unlimited on Xbox 360 is a unique racing game. I believe it's the ultimate driving experience for car and bike enthusiasts. Players can collect and trade rare performance parts-there are 125 licensed vehicles from exclusive manufacturers-and customize each vehicle to make it one of a kind.
But the online experience is very special. Personalization is important and players can upgrade each car or bike with options from the actual manufacturers' catalogue. We have also spent a lot of effort on community; players can create or join a club to talk, chat, trade, race, or organize club-based competitions and tournaments.
We are also showing Alone in the Dark on the 360, which is a revival of the horror-survival franchise. It offers a visceral and gripping experience in highly detailed, free-roaming environment, with real-time physics and full environmental interaction.
We also have a brand-new game on PSP called Hot PXL, which is a brand-new product, based on house music culture. It really connects with the PSP world. It's not a music game; it's a unique genre-a series of minigames that you play within the universe of house music.
We also have some Dragon Ball Z games as well as Neverwinter Nights 2, the new episode in one of the most beloved RPGs of all time. That franchise has sold more than two million copies worldwide, and has been translated into ten languages. So we have a wide range of product presented in a very grassroots setting.
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