Mark, representing the DKU, was unable to make it to the private chat. But thanks to the efforts of George Kelion and Paul Machacek, he was still able to ask the questions on behalf of both DKU and MundoRare, which you can find here and on our sister site.
Mark @ DKU: Ken Lobb mentioned that there were two DS games in development in 2004. Your previously stated that it wasn't the idea from the beginning to bring Viva Piñata to the DS. So my questions to you are: did the sales of the Xbox 360 version at first merit the DS team to make Pocket Paradise the next DS title?
Paul Machacek: I can't answer for what Ken was reported to have said, however, during the course of DKRDS production we started to think what to do next. VP1 was still in production and the more I looked at it the more I loved it and could see possibilities for it working well on DS. In mid-late DKR development we had a lot of meetings about the next project and VP kept coming back into the discussions. I remember well sitting in Simon Farmer's office one day, looking at an early build of VP1 and we both looked at each other at the same time and said that it would work well with a touch screen. We eventually decided it was a really good fit and we really wanted to support this great new product and build a solid franchise. We were never influenced by sales as VP1 wasn't even released when we made the decision. However, harking back to previous questions about making VP a handheld title, it was originally supposed to be a handheld title (on a PDA or phone), so I guess we got there in the end :)
Mark @ DKU: Furthermore, if Ken Lobb's claims still stood after DKRDS' release in 2007, were any plans that the DS team had before Pocket Paradise's development put on hold, or canceled indefinitely?
Paul Machacek: No, I think my previous answer covers this. We discussed several options for a couple of months, but VP kept coming back and it eventually made too much sense. I can't believe, looking at what my team eventually produced, that it was ever in any doubt that we would do this.
Mark @ DKU: Lastly, would a sequel to Pocket Paradise a la Trouble in Paradise ever be considered, or does the team consider Pocket Paradise to be the ultimate Viva Piñata experience on the DS?
Paul Machacek: Microsoft does not comment on rumour and speculation... However, this is Rare so... We want to build a solid franchise, we'll see what happens to VPPP and VP2 when they release. Clearly, if we sell a gazillion of them then we would find it hard not to consider what to do next. If you like what we've already done in VP1, love what we're now doing with VP2 and VPPP and want to see more then please support us and buy our games. It's that simple.
Acknowledges: Many thanks to Paul Machacek and George Kelion for another fantastic evening talking about their games with the fan community!