GR: From reading your blog, it sounds like you've been spending a lot of time in China. Why, then, did you choose Los Angeles? Why not Hong Kong?
AM: Mostly because I was afraid that Jackie Chan would kick my ass. Aside from that, we did some market research and found that the only things Americans know about Hong Kong are Jackie Chan and SARS. "Los Angeles" automatically evokes so many disasterful images: fires, earthquakes, riots, Ben Affleck, zombies, meteor showers, volcanoes and drive-by-shootings. Wait…or was that The Day After Tomorrow? Anyway, Los Angeles is a historic "disaster city." It is the center of American media, and represents everything that is the worst part and the best part about our country.
GR: Was there ever a point at which the development team ran out of horrifying disasters to visit upon LA?
AM: Actually, as development went on I was worried that things in the world would calm down to the point where the game's theme wouldn't make much sense anymore. Boy, was I wrong! Bird flu, dirty bombers, domestic terrorist cells, government eavesdropping and dozens of other "great" scares continue to spew forth from the US government, making it hard to run out of material. As long as fear continues to be an effective way of controlling the American people, then we have a relevant game.
Move on for the second part of our exclusive interview with American McGee, where he talks about popcorn, CIA assassination squads, Bad Day sequels and being mistaken for a god.