Chief Creative Officer talks of developing The Conduit for Wii and all the challenges involved.
In a recent Gamespot interview, Eric Nofsinger, Chief Creative Officer at High Voltage Software, revealed some of his thoughts on developing for Wii and the challenges they have faced with integrating significant online features into their upcoming Wii game The Conduit.
According to Nofsinger, "the Wii has a pretty brilliant interface," "but [graphically]… is capable of a lot more than what people are really doing with it." He elaborated, "there are some hardware limitations … but, as a system, it's very powerful." As a result, he and his team felt it necessary to raise the bar and show the world what the Wii could really do. "I think that [the engaging controls] in combination with good graphics, it's a powerful match-up."
Nofsinger mentioned that a number of games that have come out for the Wii have been disappointing, including Red Steel. As a result, the industry has formed a stigma of what the Wii can and can not sell. Nofsinger believes that "with a few more good games … that push the system … [we] can get out of that rut."
Nofsinger also revealed that High Voltage Software currently has no plans to license their Quantum 3 engine in order to help other developers out of that rut because they are "really not set up as a middleware provider." Currently their focus is on finishing their in-development games, but after that "maybe [they'll] reconsider."
Gamespot also questioned Nofsinger about his thoughts on the recent rumors that Microsoft is producing a competing product to the Wii Remote. Nofsinger remarked that "Nintendo can still barely keep up with demand … so I don't think that system's going anywhere, but I would welcome any system as a gamer to pull in better control schemes."
Finally, Nofsinger went into some detail about their exploits in developing The Conduit's online multiplayer. The team has seen struggle on both ends of the spectrum, from convincing publishers that the mode is worthwhile to actually attacking the technical aspects of the feature.
From the technical end, though Nintendo has made "improvements ... for Mario Kart ... it's still got some catching up to do to get on par with Xbox Live." Fortunately, "they cover a lot of those costs for publishers and developers that are typically associated with [online]." Unlike Xbox Live and the Playstation Network the system isn't particularly well-suited for massive online multiplayer. EA achieved such success with Medal of Honor Heroes 2 by completely passing up use of Nintendo's infrastructure. High Voltage said they "were struggling for a while at eight players … [but] we finally have 16 players simultaneously." They predict "it's going to be a challenge all the way to the wire because [Nintendo's online service] is really not built from the ground up to do [this] kind of product."
Be sure to follow the link above to read the entire, lengthy interview where Nofsinger also explains some of the challenges High Voltage has faced in moving from producing mainly licensed games to original intellectual properties.