PM: Part of the reason for our PC past is where we started game development. Populous began on the Amiga and moved to the PC, and this was our home for a very long time.
TE: Did you feel the game consoles released over the past two decades lacked the capabilities to present the kind of games you wanted to make?
PM: It wasn't that we didn't like consoles, but it seemed a very long stretch from PC to console development. Then came the Xbox, and I could see that this console shared many characteristics with a PC, and so it was a very familiar development environment. So, we were persuaded to make the move from PC development to console development. Now, with almost 2.5 million units [of Fable] sold, I think we made the right choice.
TE: What do you think about the next-generation of consoles? Any of them interest you as a game developer?
PM: For any game developer, any innovation is fascinating, and this generation is the most fascinating of all. For me, personally, the fact that a huge number of consoles are now connected to each other, connecting players to friends and the world, is a huge deal for me. I think that we are seeing the seeds of what will be a huge change in gaming over the next 10 years.
TE: What can you reveal about your top-secret project - if not a title or game concept, at least the theme or idea behind it?
PM: The only thing I can reveal is that I'm developing something new. There are two teams at Lionhead, one of which is working on Fable 2 and the other working on this new project.
TE: You've made videogames professionally for 25 years and today are regarded as an influential figure and pioneer in the still-young history of videogames. Looking back over the years, what are your thoughts on this notoriety - for example, how do you feel about the way the media has depicted you?
PM: I still have to pinch myself that people still want to hear what I have to say.
Maybe the reason for that is that I am still as enthusiastic about computer games as ever, and that enthusiasm is, I hope, what comes across when people talk to me. If I ever lost that, the best thing to do would be to lock me in the attic and throw away the key!
The closest Howard Wen has been to being with the game gods was the time he interviewed John Romero in his penthouse office, high atop downtown Dallas. It was like being inside Mount Olympus overlooking the Sim City-like land below.