Tag Archives: q&a

Register for the Xbox One Project Spark BETA

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Over on Xbox Wire, the Creative Director on the upcoming Xbox One Free to Play “Project Spark,” Henry Sterchi answered a few questions on the title and detailed how to join the BETA Program for the multi-evolving-do-what-you-want-as-you-please-creative-thingy-me-bob that looks a whole heap of fun when it launches.

Below are a few excerpts from the Q&A, ending with details on where to sign up for the Project Spark BETA. You can read the whole Q&A on Xbox Wire.

“Project Spark” will be available to download for free on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows 8. What opportunities do free-to-download offer that aren’t available in conventional retail games?

Henry Sterchi: “Project Spark” was conceived around letting everyone bring their imagination to life, so we wanted as many people as possible to play it and share their creations with the world. With the community being a central part of the experience, the more people that get involved playing, creating, inspiring each other, and even showing off their skills, the better.

User creation is the cornerstone of “Project Spark.” What are some of the coolest things players can create, and what are some of the crazier possibilities that you envision the community will explore?

At the highest level, the coolest thing people can and have been creating is the unexpected. We just continue to find new things and possibilities and it’s such a fresh experience where you never know what people will make next and it’s basically endless.

When we first got the touch controls running, one of the testers showed up with a fully functional synthesizer that recorded back your play. But, one of the coolest things I’ve seen is that we had a team member build a game they always wanted to make since they were a kid. It was this awesome early 90’s style RPG where you’d go around a town and talk to NPCs that would give you new quests and such. They had tons of dialogue to tell a story they’ve always wanted to tell. You could acquire a sword and find this cool hidden land filled with bad guys below the town. Seeing someone really pour their passion into something and make their once impossible dream come true was really inspiring.

The craziest thing I’ve seen so far was a nearly full length “buddy cop” style movie with stunts and boat chases and action scenes. I kept watching it laughing, it was so off the wall.

I just don’t know where the community will take things, but I know there will be so many new things and unexpected things – and that’s super exciting to me.

Anything else you’d like to add?

We just can’t wait to see what people will make and create. You can go towww.joinprojectspark.com and sign up for a chance to get into our upcoming beta or join the discussions on Facebook at project-spark or Twitter with #projectspark. We look forward to hearing from everyone and hope you all give it a try!

Below Q&A with Capybara Games

Capy Games’ co-founder and creative director, Kris Piotrowski, and co-founder and president, Nathan Vella, sat down with Xbox Wire to answer some questions about their new project, including its art style, how the game ended up on Xbox One, its soundtrack and more.

You just announced your new Xbox One title “Below.” How would you describe the game?

Kris Piotrowski :
 “Below” is an adventure game which focuses on atmosphere, exploration, survival and skill-based combat. Many of the ideas in “Below” are directly inspired by roguelikes of yor, though we’re approaching every aspect of the design with a uniquely stylized perspective. “Below” features no text, no hints and no dialogue. It’s all mood, atmosphere and soul… and skill.

The game has a really unique aesthetic, particularly the scale – what’s the idea behind this?

Kris Piotrowski :
 We wanted to create a world that was rich with tiny details, and create a space that felt grand because the character was so small, and so far away. The scale also helped enforce some of the main ideas found in game: the tiny wanderer players control is highly capable, but very fragile. Their time on The Isle is short and fleeting, one false move away from permanent death. The art style and scale help evoke this feeling of loneliness and vulnerability: The wanderer feels far away from the player, and the environments feel vast and intimidating by comparison. The game scale also offers many unique gameplay advantages, but we’ll reveal more about that in the future.

How did “Below” come to be an Xbox One game, and what has it been like developing “Below” for Xbox One?

Nathan Vella:
 We had been working on “Below” for a while before even considering platform, and by the time we were ready to find the game a home we had a clear picture of what we thought would make the game special. We had already started working with Microsoft Studios on “Super TIME Force” (which hits XBLA on Xbox 360 this year), so “Below” definitely flowed from that relationship.

In the end, Xbox One really afforded us an opportunity to develop on a platform that fit exactly what we wanted to do with “Below,” in terms that really worked for us. It’s a great fit. Since then, “Xbox One” development has been very smooth – and this is really important to us, since we really want to focus as much of the team as possible on the core of the game — things like exploration, combat, and aesthetics.

For us, working with Microsoft Studio comes with some big advantages, even beyond early access to a new platform. We’ve had, and will continue to get, real support from a lot of the Xbox One teams. When you can jump into a meeting to discuss cloud features with a lead on the team in charge of those features, you know things are going to get done and they’ll get done right. The fact that they’re looking to our game to help ‘shape’ some of Xbox One features & systems is amazing, and very handy too!

Another big part of the announcement was that Jim Guthrie is doing the soundtrack. How did this come to be?

Kris Piotrowski :
 Working with Jim Guthrie and Superbrothers on “Sworcery” was one of the most rewarding collaborative experience of my life, and a great learning experience for Capy Games. As soon as we wrapped up “Sworcery,” we immediately asked Jim to help us with Below. Though Below is in no way a sequel to “Sworcery,” it does dip into some of the same pools for inspiration. And of course, creating “Sworcery” has made it a permanent part of our sensibilities. The focus on atmosphere, mood and soul is something that we’re hoping to continue and build on with “Below,” and Jim is a dang soulful fella. Plus by now, we’re all good friends and love working together.

Nathan Vella: It’s really amazing to create a new, interesting space for people to explore while listening to Jim’s beautiful music. We’re excited to be working with that crazy dude again.

Techland Hellraid Q&A

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Hellraid currently in development from Techland is a first-person co-op slasher that offers a single-player, story-driven campaign of hack & slash action and unique, competitive cooperation multiplayer that pits four players against the armies of hell – and each other – in a battle for points, rewards and fame. The game is scheduled for a 2013 release on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

What is Hellraid?

We’re calling Hellraid a first-person co-op slasher. We invented this genre to capture the idea behind our game, which blends elements of classic hack & slash titles with a more advanced combat system based on timing and precision, RPG’s, shooters and multiplayer games into one unique experience seen in very immersive, first-person perspective.

Will gamers experience Hellraid only in co-op? What is the main difference between playing solo and in co-op?

Hellraid can be experienced both in single-player and in co-operation. While playing solo you explore the world, complete quests, gather loot and develop your character. In co-operation tension rises when you struggle to achieve mission goals while competing with your friends for points granted for each kill, team-plays and automatically generated challenges throughout the game.

What does the gameplay in Hellraid look like?

In Hellraid you travel between levels using a web of magic portals. Each level can be played an unlimited number of times to complete the story campaign, side quests and to defeat forces of evil with friends while competing for experience, points, rewards and places on leaderboards. During the game players can use a variety of melee, ranged and magical weapons. Combat is expanded with a set of unique active skills for each character class which gives the team additional tactical capabilities while searching for treasure, completing objectives, avoiding deadly traps, fighting the hordes of enemies and boss battles.

Will gamers be able to develop their characters, or customize the weapons and armor?

Each of the four character classes available in Hellraid (Warrior, Mage, Paladin and Rogue) will have their own skill tree that can be developed during the game. Along with that players can customize their weapons using an advanced crafting system or change their combat capabilities and appearance with armor that can be bought in shops, traded between the players or found during the game.

Who or what is Game Master?

Game Master is a complex system inspired by pen and paper role-playing games that makes each play through of Hellraid a different, completely new experience. In co-operation mode,  Game Master carefully selects competitive challenges for players and awards the best ones at the end of each level. It changes where and how you and your friends complete quests, placement, numbers and types of enemies you encounter as well as deploying treasure chests and loot.

Will Game Master work in single-player as well?

Yes, Game Master will alter the experience in single-player the same way it does in co-op but without the competitive challenges which are unique for playing with your friends.

How long is Hellraid and when it will be released?

Thanks to Game Master and the varied experiences that it provides, Hellraid will give players hundreds of hours of pure fun. The game will be released in 2013 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

XBLA Terraria: Q&A with Developer David Welch

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Terraria has been available on PC for quite some time and today makes its debut on the Xbox LIVE Arcade platform. Developer David Welch answers some questions about new features and improvements for the XBLA version.

1. How does Terraria differ on the Xbox 360 to what we’ve seen on the PC? What will fans gain from this version of the game?

The new controls & menus—especially the crafting system and world map—are easily the most significant changes to the game. Those are the kinds of changes players will notice every single moment. The new pets, items, enemies, music—those certainly reward the hardcore fans—but there’s really something to be said for just being able to kick back on your couch, grab a controller, and play Terraria on a nice big TV set. I think that’s huge.

2. What’s the best new feature of Terraria for XBLA?

I think split-screen will really revolutionize how people play the game. It adds a whole new level of collaboration and fun—it’s really addictive!

3. Will there be any crossover content between the PC and XBLA games?

There are no plans for the time being, but it’s hard to say what the future holds.

4. Are there plans for multiplayer co-op support in the XBLA version?

It’s already in there! Especially the bosses—they’re much easier to defeat with friends. Some of them are almost impossible without help!

5. The PC controls of Terraria rely on a free cursor controlled by the mouse. How are you going to adapt the game to be playable by a 360 gamepad?

We get a lot of questions about this, and after a lot of experimentation we think we arrived at a really innovative solution. The vast majority of gameplay is accessible simply by using the right thumbstick to aim in a direction; we added a very intelligent “auto cursor” to detect the closest blocks to target. However, for precision activities such as building the player can switch to a more accurate “manual” cursor mode that behaves more like a mouse. From there, all the other controls—jumping, inventory management, grappling, etc.—are pretty straightforward and feel very natural on the controller.

6. One of the inescapable facts of Terraria is that it’s a joy to look at. How did you approach your design process and how long did you spend getting the look and feel just right?

Maintaining the look of the original was hugely important to us—and in a lot of ways, especially motivated by split-screen, we go even further to showcase the world and sprites by minimizing the amount of on-screen text and HUD elements. Every pixel was important to us, and as a result the game looks really stunning on a big screen.

7. Was the success of Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition the reason to port Terraria to Xbox LIVE Arcade?

We actually got started on the console version of Terraria just before Minecraft 360 came out—so no, I can’t say that it was. But it did absolutely validate the decision. It was a very real concern that there simply wasn’t an audience for this type of game on console. But now that we now that there is an audience—and a very large one at that—in a lot of ways it’s added a lot more pressure since Minecraft 360 set such an insanely high bar. We want to make sure we’re able to meet the expectations of the audience. I think we will.

8. How do you see Xbox LIVE Arcade as an opportunity for young or new developers?

It can sometimes be easy for young developers to write off consoles since there’s such a thriving community on PC—and there’s such a low barrier of entry to develop on PC. But then you remember that consoles are the way that almost all of us first got introduced to gaming—and they’re still the way that most young people get introduced to gaming. There’s an incredibly hungry audience there, and tools like XNA and Xbox Live Indie Games have really opened up the platform. And with hits like Braid and Super Meat Boy there’s just no denying its power and reach. Small teams are great because you can work really fast and experiment—but consoles really teach you to be disciplined and to create something really stable, and really polished.

Check out the launch trailer below and look out for our review of the game soon.

Dead Space 3 Q&A With Associate Producer

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To coincide with the Dead Space 3 demo that went live yesterday, we have an XCN exclusive, a Q&A with John Calhoun, who was an Associate Producer on the game.

1. How will Dead Space 3 attract new visitors to the franchise? Is pre-play of 1 & 2 a pre-requisite and if not, how do you ensure they’re suitably informed?

The most important thing we can do to attract new players is to make a kick-ass, high-quality game! More than anything else, gamers want fun and thrills; when we deliver on that expectation, people are going to check us out. But we hope Dead Space 3 will also attract new players with the game’s optional drop-in, drop-out co-op experience. For long-time fans, it’s an entirely new way to play Dead Space. And for people who may have found previous Dead Space games too scary or challenging to play alone, it gives them the option to take down the terror with a friend. Continue reading Dead Space 3 Q&A With Associate Producer