Friday, September 12, 2008

New interview with Eric Nofsinger (The Conduit)

The Conduit is one of the most anticipated Wii titles at the time. First Person Shooter with conspiracy theories and space aliens is already praised by game medias. Graphically it has been called almost 360-matching title and the huge amount of features raised the expectations even higher. The lead designer Eric Nofsinger gave KonsoliFIN an interview, and the readers had a nice opportunity to ask few questions from Eric, too.

What is a typical day for you at High Voltage?

LOL, typically my days are full of meetings, trying to nail down all the details of an issue and get everyone on the same page, be it the way an enemy behaves or the music in a mission, etc. But this leaves the other designers free to actually work on the details, which in turn has given us the great game that we have so far.

There has been a great response from Wii gamers all over the world, after The Conduit development was revealed to the public. Did you expect that when you were starting to develop the game?

No expectations like that. We did hope that people would like our game but the sheer amount of praise and interest has been very gratifying... and scary. It's a lot to live up to, but we're trying.

The conspiracy-theory storyline with elements like "all-seeing eye" sounds fun! How the story came up, and are you familiar with David Icke's reptilian conspiracy theories?

LOL, our story has evolved just as the game has. We started with a lot more politics in the story, but dropped that in favor of concentrating on fewer characters. We also drew upon all sorts of conspiracy theories like Mr. Icke's. So yes, we are familiar with him and his work, among a host of others.

Was Wii the first platform that you had in mind for The Conduit?

Absolutely; we chose the Wii because the console is not being used to its full potential. We feel its control scheme is perfect for shooter gameplay; however there are few "good" FPS games out on the platform. Also, we know that the Wii is capable of much better graphics than most games on the console are using.

Can you tell some elements and features, that separates The Conduit from other FPS games available for other systems?

Well, the Wii has the unique motion-sensitive controls that make it the best platform for FPS games; this means we have weapons and gameplay that makes use of motions and movements that other games cannot. We also have some interesting puzzle-solving going on with our All Seeing Eye (ASE) device that allows players to reveal invisible hazards, secrets, and enemies. And last, but not least, its NOT set during World War II, LOL.

Will the story continue - any talks of a sequel yet?

There is talk of a sequel, but we won't know more about this until we finalize a deal with a publisher.

What is the main reason that game developers and publishers haven't put out more FPS games for Wii, in your opinion?

The main reason is probably the due to the success of casual games like WiiSports. That opened up a brand new market of gamers that didn't have the same level of expectations that hardcore gamers have. So publishers naturally saw a way to make some easy money, but unfortunately pushed aside the type of players that had sustained them for so long.

Do you plan to keep the Quantum3 Engine exclusively for High Voltage, and have there been an interest from other dev studios for it (especially the ones developing for Wii)?

A few have contacted us, yes. But we are not a middleware company, so there are no current plans to license the engine.

Since High Voltage is a pioneer of paying attention to this genre on Wii, we are already wondering and hoping if you have more titles coming up for Nintendo consoles (also for DS)?

We have other Wii titles in the works, absolutely.

What about your WiiWare titles?

Gyrostarr and VIP Casino Blackjack are already out and available. We are still working on Animales but aren't sure whether to make this another WiiWare game or maybe a full blown Wii title.

You allegedly said that "most of the games on the Wii look like crap" - could you recommend Wii titles for KonsoliFIN readers, that look great?

Well, we really like the style of Super Mario Galaxy and of course, Metroid Prime 3 Corruption was very visually appealing. We also like Resident Evil 4, though that was a port from Gamecube.

Your first video game console and the most favorite, of all times?

Personally, my first video game console I ever played was the Nintendo 64. First I ever owned was an Xbox. But I would say my favorite is currently the Wii.

Finally: Here are some KonsoliFIN readers' questions concerning The Conduit:

How is the online play implemented in the game?

We have 16 player online, with the standard modes - Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag. We also hope to offer online LAN multiplayer.

Besides online-multiplayer mode, is there a split-screen local multiplayer or co-op modes available - and can you tell us more about the levels?

We unfortunately cannot do split screen as our graphics are too expensive. We have some possible co-op options we are looking into.

We have nine single player levels that cover all sorts of exciting areas in Washington D.C. For example, you'll get to fight at the White House, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Library of Congress.

Are there different difficulty levels to choose from - and how long the game will approximately be with the easiest setting?

Yes, we have three difficulty levels. We estimate about 8-10 hours of gameplay on the Normal setting, so a bit less perhaps on Easy.

Since the platform for The Conduit is Wii, people are expecting a lot from controls. Can you tell us something about how they work in the game?

We've worked long and hard on our controls, drawing from the success of games like Metroid Prime 3 and Medal of Honor Heroes. The biggest feature is that our controls are totally customizable. You can adjust sensitivity or bounding box sizes on the fly IN GAME, so you can immediately see how they feel. Also, we will let you remap your button layout, so you can put features on the control or motion that you want. We realize that every player is different and we want to embrace those differences.

When can you reveal the publisher?

Hopefully within two or three weeks.

Any plans of downloadable content?

No plans for downloadable content, as the storage capacity on the Wii is not that large. We'd rather you use that for our WiiWare titles, LOL!

Thank you a lot, any other message for gamers?

Just to say "Thank You" to all of you for your support and interest in our game. We always hope that what we do will reach people and it's very gratifying to know that we have. So thank you all!


That is too bad about no split-screen multiplayer, but if LAN does work out then it will be a non-issue for me. Any guesses as to who will be the publisher? Only 3 weeks until they make the announcement.....


Anonymous said...

Ah man, I was hoping for at least split-screen co-op or something. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame that there is no split-screen multiplayer but if it ensures a better one player experience it'll be enough with such an online play.
Also, I'm not really familiar with LAN do they work? You connect multiple Wiis to each other using some kind of device and need a TV per every Wii?

Anonymous said...

split screen sounds kinda crap to me on wii imagine aiming with wiimote in a 1/4 of the screen and ur mates doing the same thing it would kinda stink........

lan if wifi sounds like a big brother version of ds local wifi SOMETHING I THOUGFHT WAS A WII SECRET IN THE FIRST PLACE BUT NEVER GOT ANOUNCED

wonder if wii can be firm updated to do game share from a single disc in some games like ds can cart share.....

Travis Hendricks said...

That would be sweet if the Wii implemented a Single-Cart Download Play for multiplayer games. It will never happen since the option would cost way more money than it would be worth for a home console. Hardly anyone would use it.

As for the LAN play, I think it would be awesome. As long as it's wireless and not ethernet cabled together.

As for the publisher, I've said this before, I have a few hopes. 1) I hope it's not Nintendo. 2) I hope it is EA. If one of those turns out to be true, I will be happy.

Metaldave said...

I would like EA if only for the advertising power but as a company I wish it was someone else like Activision or something.

I really hope Nintendo lets High Voltage put a LAN mode into the game, it would really increase the overall value.

Anonymous said...

EA makes kinda sense there a huge company but there marketing is weak on wii unless its a family or all play title

we need a publisher that gives it real wii like advertising but with a core gamer edge

the multiplayer wifi and controls need to be hyped also the graphics

wifi local will rock playing with people in a local wifi set up makes perfeck sense to mii