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THQ's Danny Bilson pt. 2

The core games boss on Warhammer, GTA, Saint's Row and more...

Last week, we brought you the first half of our 'energised' chat with one Mr. Danny Bilson - THQ core games boss and all-round gaming enthusiast.

Read on for the second and final instalment, in which Bilson discusses THQ's new Warhammer MMO - and tells us why Saint's Row 3 shouldn't be compared to Rockstar's GTA series...

Would you say Homefront has more of a social responsibility than Medal Of Honor, Modern Warfare et al?
This isn't about social responsibility. It's about drama. John Milius has written this story where [the US] has white phosphorous. That's what they've got their hands on. They send their truck in, playing rock and roll; they want to suck the Koreans in. They fire the phosphorus on them and they light them on fire. They're desperate, right?

But if you watch, one character's saying: "Shoot them and put them out of their misery." The other one's saying: "No. Let them burn."

Well, that's [not what you get] in the other guys' shooters. And we're proud of that. We're making it more engaging, more emotional and more dramatic. It's still got all the bells and whistles and is fun as hell, but to your point, we do care about responsibility.

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There have been games, and we won't mention them today, that were really irresponsible - glorifying parts of, let's say, 'contractors' in the military to a place that I thought was kind of inappropriate. It's something I'm personally involved in and personally sensitive to.

Also, we're a global business! I mean ghee whiz! When I worked at my former company [EA], I had to go to the UK in the middle of the Iraq war and try to talk to them about a game that we never wound up finishing - it was well built up - that was that stuff, right? Remember, even in America you're split 50/50 on this stuff.

You go overseas, and if you're an unconscious American, you walk into a wall. Or you just don't sell.

This is a human story. It's not an American story. And it absolutely will expand beyond the States in future.

Would you say the story - of an eventual invasion of the US by a United Korea - is plausible?
Have you seen the trailer that starts with Hilary Clinton? A year ago, when we chose to make the bad guys North Korean, we had to deal with the question of what does the average person believe about that country. The average person doesn't even know today that they have the fourth largest army in the world.

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We went to some friends in Washington, who helped us. That trailer you're seeing is basically written by some analysts from Washington - East Asia experts in the UK Government who were generous enough to... well, they're all gamers! That's what it was - there's gamers everywhere, even at CIA.

We got some friends together and last summer we went out there and built that timeline. What you see in the trailer comes from a collaboration between our fiction writers and some analysts at CIA. Nothing in there's classified, obviously - they wouldn't let us have it. Some of it's a little sensitive, and we're dancing around it.

But it's all speculative fiction - which is great when it's grounded in reality. People watch that trailer and go: 'Wow, that makes me nervous.' Job well done, right?

The other games are fantastic because you fight to see the next biggest explosion, the most James Bondian extravaganza. I love those too. I don't want you to think for a second I'm disparaging great product. But we want when you go into a mission for you to feel consequence from the last one you've completed. We want you to care more.

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