John Carmack, the graphics wizard behind the classic video game Doom, said on Wednesday his upcoming mobile phone fantasy game may find its way to home gaming consoles if sales are strong.
Carmack, revered in the games industry for his cutting-edge graphics work, surprised fans several years ago when he said he would make a title for mobile phones, viewed as the lowest end of the gaming spectrum due to their tiny displays and limited processing power.
His Doom-themed role-playing game ended up selling more than a million copies, and led him to follow that up with Orcs & Elves, a title with a similar playing style but based in a fantasy world.
Now Carmack is readying a sequel to launch on mobile phones and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s DS handheld near the end of the year. The game is being published by Electronic Arts Inc., the world's largest games publisher.
If this works well there may be the possibility of stepping up a notch to one of the consoles, like the Wii, Carmack told Reuters, referring to Nintendo's home gaming machine.
If so, that would upset the standard industry model in which games are developed first for consoles -- sometimes at a cost of tens of millions of dollars -- and then reworked, or ported, to other, less-powerful gaming devices.
You almost never get the opportunity to up-port a game. It's almost always going down. By the time you get down to mobile phones, the game is usually down to a name that bears no relation to the game it's actually based on, Carmack said.
If we're successful in this upward migration, we'll transform mobile from a ghetto to a hotbed of innovation.
Carmack spoke amid the $30 billion video game industry's annual E3 trade show.
A widespread complaint in the industry is that innovation is being stifled because the cost of creating titles for consoles like Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 or Sony Corp.'s PlayStation 3 is too high for many independent developers.
In order to ensure a return on their investment, publishers have been sticking to tried-and-true formulas that break little new ground.
For the good of industry as a whole, it's an extremely positive thing, Carmack said. If you can do creative things for $500,000 on a small platform, and prove the idea, then that's great.
Carmack said he also likes creating mobile games because the projects can be completed quickly, giving his team at id Software valuable experience that is increasingly hard to come by in an industry where big games can take four years to make.
There is great value in rapid evolutionary cycles that is totally missing in game development now. I know people who have been in the industry for six or seven years who have never seen a complete product.