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Wii

North America

The Conduit

by Aaron Kaluszka - October 21, 2008, 9:24 pm PDT
Total comments: 38

A welcome strive for excellence on Wii.

The Conduit is a first-person shooter with a difference: the developers are truly pushing the Wii to its limits, providing graphical effects never before achieved on the little white box. Though previous showings of the game were already highly-acclaimed, the developers have added several new graphical effects since the last time the game was shown publicly. In particular, the game features bloom lighting, bump mapping, water physics, stencils, specular lighting, and more.

The developers at High Voltage Software developed their own game engine, which features more advanced graphical effects than any other developer has tried on the Wii. Interestingly, the engine was originally developed with the PSP and PS2 in mind, but found a successful home on the Wii. The action I saw was fast and fluid, though environments were small and enclosed, unlike games such as the Call of Duty series, which don't look as nice, but are more free-range. Though none of the individual effects was impressive in this age of technology, what was impressive was that they were all active simultaneously and the game was extremely fluid and responsive without a sign of slowdown. As an example of something you don't normally see done graphically, I could walk up to walls without having the textures become fuzzy.

I played through what was supposed to be the third stage, a government bunker or base. It was a standard corridor-based level, which included several utility rooms, a control room, as well as secret passages. The level begins with human (military) enemies, but alien creatures soon show up and the stage ends with an alien boss battle. While the particular details of the story haven't been revealed, the game involves some sort of alien invasion. The Conduit takes place in several locations based on U.S. landmarks such as the White House and the Jefferson Memorial. The Conduit aims to tell its story through various objects and media in the environment rather than blatant narration. As an example, television news feeds stream on screens within the game's environment.

The Conduit is aimed at hardcore FPS gamers, and as such includes lots of fine-grained customization involving options such as shot box size and turn speed that I haven't seen available on a console FPS. I was able to tailor the control to my liking instead of having to adapt to whatever the programmers thought would be best. The game includes some partial lock-on features, which aren't quite as direct as that found in the Metroid Prime series.

A critical item within the game, called the All-Seeing Eye, can interface with electronic devices to hack computer access to locations. It can also be used to detect enemies that would otherwise be invisible and control objects with a mysterious power. Besides standard firearms (hand gun, automatic rifle, sniper rifle), an alien organic energy weapon was shown, which actually integrates with the player's body, giving superhuman vision. A one-shot kill golden gun (a la Goldeneye) also showed up.

While The Conduit achieves effects not seen on the Wii before, it's certainly not up to par with what the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can do. Aside from the obvious resolution difference, The Conduit showed a couple of weaknesses. The first was comparatively bare and low-polygon environments. The latter was a lack of anti-aliasing, ironically made more evident by the advanced blur effects produced by the game. While all of the impressive effects are present in the game, jaggies occur along every edge, and are particularly noticeable on high definition televisions. The Conduit is not yet done, however, and High Voltage Software is still considering input from critics.

The Conduit is on track to be one of the most impressive games on Wii. The technical achievements are unsurpassed, and the game's customization options should be a boon to FPS fans. The story is intriguing, and all that remains to be seen is whether the whole packaged can be completed and polished up. Despite all this, the game still doesn't have an official publisher. Will High Voltage Software find one soon?

Talkback

EnnerOctober 21, 2008

Hopefully, this game will be more than a (relatively) pretty face. So far, it sounds like it's on the right track.

Also, I do hope it does find a publisher soon. I wonder how much money High Voltage has to be this far along without a publisher. I hope that they aren't breaking their bank on this. Then again, if they were, it is an admirable effort.

DAaaMan64October 21, 2008

Dude you were having some aiming problems? Can I ask what the troubles were?

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Perhaps I misread it but how is not quite being on the level of PS3/Xbox 360 a BAD THING? Considering how much weaker the Wii is, to even come close is an amazing achievement.

StogiOctober 22, 2008

I've never cared about graphics, but it's nice to see this type of effort. I wish they would have used a better style though. I am currently playing through Okami, and while the game is low-res and blurry, the style is absolutely engulfing.

Hopefully, when I get my hands on it, it'll be more like MP3 and not like COD. Anyway, the controls trump everything, so I could care less.

Hopefully it approaches the graphical excellence of Metroid Prime 3.  If it does, I'll be quite happy.

ShyGuyOctober 22, 2008

I thought the game did have a publisher, it just hadn't been announced yet. Unless the publisher was Gamecock, that could mean trouble...

Ian SaneOctober 22, 2008

Quote:

Perhaps I misread it but how is not quite being on the level of PS3/Xbox 360 a BAD THING? Considering how much weaker the Wii is, to even come close is an amazing achievement.

I guess it's more of a bad thing for the Wii itself.  Most Wii developers including Nintendo don't even appear to attempt to make anything that doesn't look last gen.  So here is a developer trying to push the Wii to its limits but it still isn't at the same level.  While attempting to prove how capable the Wii truly is they ironically have demonstrated how much weaker it truly is.  The sad thing is that if it doesn't match the PS3/X360 then we're still going to get shafted on third party support.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: Ian

Quote:

Perhaps I misread it but how is not quite being on the level of PS3/Xbox 360 a BAD THING? Considering how much weaker the Wii is, to even come close is an amazing achievement.

I guess it's more of a bad thing for the Wii itself.  Most Wii developers including Nintendo don't even appear to attempt to make anything that doesn't look last gen.  So here is a developer trying to push the Wii to its limits but it still isn't at the same level.  While attempting to prove how capable the Wii truly is they ironically have demonstrated how much weaker it truly is.  The sad thing is that if it doesn't match the PS3/X360 then we're still going to get shafted on third party support.

Um.....moving on.

KDR_11kOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: Ian

The sad thing is that if it doesn't match the PS3/X360 then we're still going to get shafted on third party support.

Er, no. Third parties don't care.

Ian has it right.  I seem to remember Iwata or other execs claiming that the Wii would look just as good as the other consoles at SD resolution.  While I think we all knew that this wasn't true, at least we have somebody really proving it.

Ian SaneOctober 22, 2008

Quote:

Er, no. Third parties don't care.

About the Wii?  Yeah, that's pretty accurate.

Unless you mean they don't care that the Wii is a glorified repackaged Cube.  Well the Wii is the market leader and yet anytime a third party game is annouced it's fair to assume it will be for every console BUT the Wii.  I'm sure the fact that a game designed for the PS3 or Xbox 360 is incapable of being ported to the Wii without a buttload of extra work has no effect on third party support at all.  It must just be a coincedence.  Or third parties just have it in for Nintendo and refuse to support their console even though it has the largest userbase and those same third parties have no problem with providing good third party support to Nintendo portables.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: MegaByte

Ian has it right.  I seem to remember Iwata or other execs claiming that the Wii would look just as good as the other consoles at SD resolution.  While I think we all knew that this wasn't true, at least we have somebody really proving it.

So basically you are criticizing the Conduit's visuals based on what Iwata said, not what the system is capable of? Might as well harpoon the DS for not looking as good as the PSP. I'm sorry but this is a weak argument, a games visuals should be judged by others on the console.

UltimatePartyBearOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote from: MegaByte

Ian has it right.  I seem to remember Iwata or other execs claiming that the Wii would look just as good as the other consoles at SD resolution.  While I think we all knew that this wasn't true, at least we have somebody really proving it.

So basically you are criticizing the Conduit's visuals based on what Iwata said, not what the system is capable of? Might as well harpoon the DS for not looking as good as the PSP. I'm sorry but this is a weak argument, a games visuals should be judged by others on the console.

I think I read the same posts as you, and I don't recall any criticism of The Conduit's graphics.  It's just an interesting side point that High Voltage is finally exposing the Wii's graphical potential and giving us answers to two year old questions.  I'm pretty sure that stuff about Wii games looking as good in SD as 360 or PS3 games was fanboy rationalization, though, and not anything claimed by Iwata or anyone else at Nintendo.

DAaaMan64October 22, 2008

Is High Voltage known for graphics prowess? I mean, maybe I'd agree if it were like Factor 5 or something.

Whatever though, I don't care.

UltimatePartyBearOctober 22, 2008

I don't have a doubt that Factor 5 could do more, but all signs point to High Voltage actually doing pretty well so far.

DAaaMan64October 22, 2008

Well, is the demo Metroid pretty?

MorariOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: Ian

Quote:

Perhaps I misread it but how is not quite being on the level of PS3/Xbox 360 a BAD THING? Considering how much weaker the Wii is, to even come close is an amazing achievement.

I guess it's more of a bad thing for the Wii itself.  Most Wii developers including Nintendo don't even appear to attempt to make anything that doesn't look last gen.  So here is a developer trying to push the Wii to its limits but it still isn't at the same level.  While attempting to prove how capable the Wii truly is they ironically have demonstrated how much weaker it truly is.  The sad thing is that if it doesn't match the PS3/X360 then we're still going to get shafted on third party support.

Maybe they're just not very good at coding and truly utilizing what they have to work with? I'd rather see what John Carmack could do...

UrkelOctober 22, 2008

I thought everybody agreed Mario Galaxy looked pretty damn good even when compared to PS360 graphics?

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: Urkel

I thought everybody agreed Mario Galaxy looked pretty damn good even when compared to PS360 graphics?

They do along with MP3, but people like Ian forget those.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: UltimatePartyBear

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote from: MegaByte

Ian has it right.  I seem to remember Iwata or other execs claiming that the Wii would look just as good as the other consoles at SD resolution.  While I think we all knew that this wasn't true, at least we have somebody really proving it.

So basically you are criticizing the Conduit's visuals based on what Iwata said, not what the system is capable of? Might as well harpoon the DS for not looking as good as the PSP. I'm sorry but this is a weak argument, a games visuals should be judged by others on the console.

I think I read the same posts as you, and I don't recall any criticism of The Conduit's graphics.  It's just an interesting side point that High Voltage is finally exposing the Wii's graphical potential and giving us answers to two year old questions.  I'm pretty sure that stuff about Wii games looking as good in SD as 360 or PS3 games was fanboy rationalization, though, and not anything claimed by Iwata or anyone else at Nintendo.

Well my point is that the Wii's visuals should be compared ONLY to games on the same hardware and I know people wish to ignore them but there are some good looking Wii games. It just seems to be a stretch to compare the visuals to PS3/Xbox 360 which benefit from HD visuals and better graphical hardware.

I've tried PS3/Xbox 360 games on standard mode and they have jaggies (ESPECIALLY the first generation games).

StogiOctober 22, 2008

Factor 5.........hmmmmm

Aren't they making a couple of games? HV may have some stiff competition in the graphical side of things. Especially if they plan to license their technology out.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 22, 2008

Quote from: Stogi

Factor 5.........hmmmmm

Aren't they making a couple of games? HV may have some stiff competition in the graphical side of things. Especially if they plan to license their technology out.

That is a good point, hopefully it spurs more competition!

StogiOctober 22, 2008

Is your avatar a Rasta hedgehog?

Cuz that's bad ass.

@GP:

I wasn't criticizing the graphics; I was making an observation.  Why are you getting so defensive?  High Voltage is bringing techniques normally reserved for newer-tech consoles to the Wii, and I applaud them for it, but there are still inherent limitations that prevent a full recreation of a high res experience, so I don't think it's fair for anybody to be expecting such an experience and am stating this fact.  They themselves have brought up the point of claiming Xbox 360/PS3 visuals, which is simply not the case.  I can compare whatever to whatever.  It's an observation that put things into perspective, nothing more.  If you want to take issue with the comparison, take it to the source of the claims, not the messenger. 

It was actually NOE that first claimed that there would be no difference in graphics between the systems.  I think Iwata or Reggie later clarified that to mean no difference at SD resolution, but I can't find the specific quote right now.  I never claimed that the other systems didn't have jaggies; they certainly can.  But of course they're more noticeable given a lower resolution and a large screen.

KDR_11kOctober 22, 2008

Quote:

but there are still inherent limitations that prevent a full recreation of a high res experience

Yeah, like the lack of a crappy default controller :P

MorariOctober 23, 2008

Quote from: Stogi

Is your avatar a Rasta hedgehog?

Cuz that's bad ass.

I'm pretty sure that it's one of those wanna-be Aztec echidnas, actually...

Lost in this thread is one burning question...what the heck has Retro Studios been working on for the past year-plus since Metroid Prime 3 development wound down?

NinGurl69 *hugglesOctober 23, 2008

Hiring.

DAaaMan64October 23, 2008

Quote from: Silks

Lost in this thread is one burning question...what the heck has Retro Studios been working on for the past year-plus since Metroid Prime 3 development wound down?

A Wiiware fishing game of course

KDR_11kOctober 24, 2008

Quote from: Silks

Lost in this thread is one burning question...what the heck has Retro Studios been working on for the past year-plus since Metroid Prime 3 development wound down?

I've been wondering roughly the same about Sandlot and only recently was Dynamic Slash revealed. These studios can go a long time without telling us anything.

What's been weird about Retro is the total media blackout.  I don't even think it's been confirmed that they're working on anything.  All I've seen is the announcement about those three top people leaving, which certainly wouldn't have caused ongoing projects to cease.

GoldenPhoenixOctober 24, 2008

Quote from: Silks

What's been weird about Retro is the total media blackout.  I don't even think it's been confirmed that they're working on anything.  All I've seen is the announcement about those three top people leaving, which certainly wouldn't have caused ongoing projects to cease.

I have no doubt they are working on something, even with those top guys leaving they are a talented studio still. I really want to see what they can do without any restraints.

Luigi DudeOctober 24, 2008

Since the first Metroid Prime came out, Retro's released one game on average every 2-3 years.  Since they're last game came out in August 2007, the earliest we'd see a new game from them would be end of summer 2009.

Since Nintendo doesn't announce games now until a few months before release, if Retro has something coming out at the end of summer or even the fall, E3 20009 will probably be the first time we'll hear about it.

NinGurl69 *hugglesOctober 24, 2008

Retro won't work on anything meaningful anymore, just like NST.

KDR_11kOctober 24, 2008

Quote from: Silks

What's been weird about Retro is the total media blackout.  I don't even think it's been confirmed that they're working on anything.  All I've seen is the announcement about those three top people leaving, which certainly wouldn't have caused ongoing projects to cease.

As I said, there was nothing about Sandlot either, all I saw was a job posting. I was wondering if the company died.

StogiOctober 24, 2008

Quote from: Morari

Quote from: Stogi

Is your avatar a Rasta hedgehog?

Cuz that's bad ass.

I'm pretty sure that it's one of those wanna-be Aztec echidnas, actually...

But, but, she's wearing a Jamaican flag!


I hope Retro is making some adventure game.

Retro is still hiring.  They're currently looking for a Senior Engineer and a Game Designer.  For what?  Who knows.

http://www.retrostudios.com/careers.htm

You'd think that somebody would leak something...you don't even hear rumors about them.

KDR_11kOctober 26, 2008

Yep, Sandlot.

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The Conduit Box Art

Genre Shooter
Developer High Voltage Software
Players1 - 12

Worldwide Releases

na: The Conduit
Release Jun 23, 2009
PublisherSega
RatingTeen
eu: The Conduit
Release Jul 10, 2009
PublisherSega
Rating16+
aus: The Conduit
Release Jun 25, 2009
PublisherSega
RatingMature
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