Interview with John Swinimer on the Wii

Interview with John Swinimer on the Wii

Written by Sean Colleli on 6/29/2006 for Wii  
More On: Wii

Nintendo wowed E3 attendees with their demonstration of the Wii. It was a rousing success with its innovative controller and sleek design. It was evident how excited the crowd was by the long lines leading up to the Nintendo booth. With our great relationship with ATI, we were lucky enough to talk to John Swinimer, Senior Public Relations Manager of Consumer Products for ATI, about Wii's graphical chip, Hollywood.

John Swinimer

Gaming Nexus: Tell us a little about the event that was held on the second to last week of June involving the Nintendo Wii.
John Swinimer: I
'm here in New York City meeting with journalists and analysts about ATI's consumer solutions. Most importantly, with the direct cooperation of Nintendo of America, ATI is able to host an exclusive display of the Nintendo Wii game console. This is a great example of the longstanding relationship ATI has with Nintendo that will ultimately translate into a great game console for gamers.

Gaming Nexus: It's been said by critics that Hollywood is simply an upgraded version of the GameCube's GPU, Flipper.  While the architecture is probably similar in some regards, I'm willing to bet that ATI built Hollywood specifically for the Wii.  What is your opinion on this, and how do the two chips differentiate?
John Swinimer: Certainly there are some similarities between ATI's Hollywood and the Flipper chip designed for Nintendo GameCube based on the fact that the forthcoming Nintendo Wii will be able to play Nintendo GameCube titles. However, ATI's Hollywood chip is designed exclusively for Nintendo Wii.


Gaming Nexus: Will the Wii have current standard graphical capabilities, such as bump, normal and parallax mapping?
John Swinimer: It
's too early to talk about what the ATI Hollywood chip will do for game titles for Nintendo Wii. You can be assured that ATI is providing a graphics chip that will allow for great gameplay for gamers of all ages.


Gaming Nexus: Have developers you've spoken with been generally negative or positive concerning the abilities of the Hollywood chip?
John Swinimer: I spoke with one developer from Electronic Arts on the E3 show floor at the Nintendo of America booth. She was very excited about the prospects of what Nintendo Wii could do for game developers. She was telling me that her team was jazzed about the potential for interactive gameplay provided by the Nintendo Wii remote. 


Gaming Nexus: Are there creative ways in which to use the Wii's graphical power?  In other words, is it a case of quality over quantity?
John Swinimer: ATI
's Hollywood chip was designed with game developers in mind, in a similar fashion to how the Flipper chip offered benefits to game developers. The key thing here is to allow game developers to concentrate on entertaining the gamer by delivering innovative gameplay. Developers shouldn't have to worry about the jumping through hoops scenario that can sometimes bog down the game development process.


Gaming Nexus: Retro studios stated that in their upcoming Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, they are focusing specifically on lighting and particle effects.  After playing the demo at E3, I was quite impressed with their work, but Retro says that they're making it even better.  Is Hollywood specifically tailo red to deliver these kinds of effects?
John Swinimer:
ATI's Hollywood chip is designed to allow game developers to bring gaming to a broad audience of gamers. We're excited by the variety of games shown at E3 and by the potential that Nintendo Wii will bring to game developers in the years to come.


Gaming Nexus: In a recent interview with, you said that the E3 demos were the tip of the iceberg, and the Wii is more about innovation than raw specs.  Could you elaborate on these points?
John Swinimer: As with any new game console, game developers have the potential to deliver [even more] exciting titles as the game console reaches an increased audience. Once the casual gamer gets a hold of Nintendo Wii and starts to enjoy the wide variety of games, that positive feedback will no doubt encourage game developers for the future. The sky
's the limit as to how much entertainment game developers can bring to the family room.


Gaming Nexus: What specific Wii games, so far, are you the most excited about, and which ones do you think are pushing "Hollywood" to its limits?  Do you think that second and third generation software will look and feel even better, and use the graphics chip to its full extent?
John Swinimer: I really liked playing Excite Truck at E3. I was uncertain at first as to how the Wii Remote would work in a driving scenario but I was very surprised at how easy it was to drive the truck. I
'm also very keen, as are most fans, to play The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (you know Nintendo said it will be available at launch time on both Nintendo Wii and Nintendo GameCube – that's exciting). Gamers of all generations will be excited about Nintendo Wii when they set it up and start playing in their homes or dorm rooms this year. As game developers come to understand the potential of the new game console, gamers of all types will ultimately win in the end with the wide variety of entertaining game experiences for Nintendo Wii.


Gaming Nexus: Thank you for your time, Mr. Swinimer.
John Swinimer: Thank you for this opportunity to chat with you.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

I've been gaming off and on since I was about three, starting with Star Raiders on the Atari 800 computer. As a kid I played mostly on PC--Doom, Duke Nukem, Dark Forces--but enjoyed the 16-bit console wars vicariously during sleepovers and hangouts with my school friends. In 1997 GoldenEye 007 and the N64 brought me back into the console scene and I've played and owned a wide variety of platforms since, although I still have an affection for Nintendo and Sega.

I started writing for Gaming Nexus back in mid-2005, right before the 7th console generation hit. Since then I've focused mostly on the PC and Nintendo scenes but I also play regularly on Sony and Microsoft consoles. My favorite series include Metroid, Deus Ex, Zelda, Metal Gear and Far Cry. I'm also something of an amateur retro collector. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my fiancee and our cat, who sits so close to the TV I'd swear she loves Zelda more than we do.

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