Interview with Mike Kulas
|This has got to be one of the best interviews you could get from a Volition employee, the president of course! IceFire and Myself (Orange) conducted this a while back. We thought we'd finally put up this interview in honor of our new design! Yay!
Tell us a bit about yourself. Who you are. What you like to do in your free time. Etc.
Mike Kulas, president of Volition. In my free time, I sleep. I have a fairly rational work schedule, but I also have three kids, the youngest being about three months old. I figure in a few years I'll need a hobby. Every once in awhile, I read a book. Most recently, I've read When Genius Failed and I just started Gain, a novel by Richard Powers. I've also been reading This is Berlin.
What exactly is it that you do at Volition?
I used to say I talked on the phone, but I don't have to do quite as much of that anymore. Since the THQ acquisition, we've been so busy finishing Summoner and doing various planning that I haven't really settled into my role. I'll check my employment contract and get back to you.
Now that WildWolf works at Volition, tell us, is he more insane or less insane than he is online?
He only exists online.
Time to ask the man at the top. Tell our readers, is Champaign IL really the pizza capital of the world?
Yes, Papa Dels is the place to go for the best pizza in the world. [Orange's Ed. Agreed]
Summoner and Red Faction look like they will be taking gamers by storm. Do you think we'll see more of these titles (ie. sequels, spin-offs) in the future?
I sure hope you see more. If you don't, that probably means they were failures.
What is the best way an avid gamer can get in to the field, and what's it take to get the supreme job of "Mike Kulas Rating", err.. I mean.. President of a game developer?
There are lots of ways into the field. If you get a good computer science degree, do a good outside project and play a lot of games, you should have a good chance of getting in as a programmer. If you're a good artist and you are technical, it shouldn't be too hard to get in as an artist. If you're located near a publisher, testing jobs are plentiful, though perhaps sporadic. If you want to be a president, I suggest you start your own company.
Whats your favorite fighter or bomber in FreeSpace 2? Whats your favorite Summoner character?
Ursa & Flece.
What does the Volition crew think of all the campaigns and MODs that have been created for FreeSpace? Do you think that this sort of thing will take off with Summoner and Red Faction?
We love the mods and the dedicated FS community. DaveB loves them most of all. I'd post his address, but then he'd never make it out of the parking lot.
There have been recent articles stating that Volition is one of the prospect developers for Microsoft's X-Box. What do you think of the X-Box so far?
Very cool, very powerful. Can't say too much now…
The big question that gamers have been asking each other recently. Console or PC? Whats your take on the console verses personal computer debate?
I like coffee and latte and I don't know how that analogizes. They'll both be around for a long time.
FreeSpace 2 ended with the destruction of the Capella star. Will we ever learn what happened at Capella? Is there hope yet for the FreeSpace series?
If you catch Jason Scott wandering the streets clutching a bottle of scotch screaming wildly into the night…eventually you'll learn. Hope? There is hope. Will there be satisfaction? I don't know.
Time for the traditional question: Tribes 2 or Halo?
I like both games and movies, hard to choose.
Does THQ owning Volition have any immediate effects on the way things
operate at Volition? If so, could you list some, um.. if not, don't! =)
Not too much. We've been so busy finishing what we started that hardly anything has changed. I've traveled a bit more and more THQ people have been coming out here, but that's good, we like them.
Originally, all fans of Freespace 2 thought that sales did, well, less
than it could have. Lately, it has been stated that it has done well in
sales over time. Could you confirm this and perhaps give some of insane
FanBoys (tm) some numbers?
Overall sales have been a disappointment. I think it improved from awful to bad. Worldwide, I think we'll be fortunate to hit 100K units. Fortunately, the project stuck on schedule and we'll probably do slightly better than breakeven.
What has been your favorite Volition Art created so far (http://www.volitionwatch.com/v-art/)?
The animation of Frankie dancing.
Many thanks to Mike Kulas who answered all our wacky and not so wacky questions!