Interview: High Voltage

Continuing Develop’s special series of interviews with some of the world’s largest and most celebrated independent developers, we speak to High Voltage’s founder Kerry Ganofsky and Chief Creative Officer Eric Nofsinger (pictured) about their upcoming Wii FPS, the Conduit.

Previous entries in our series includes Crytek’s Cevat Yerli, Rebellion’s Kingsley Brothers (pt 2), and Grin’s Andersson brothers (pt 2).

Why do you feel that the First Person Shooter genre has yet to really take off on Wii?
Only a few have tried. Those that have just haven’t offered gamers the entire package. FPS gamers want it all. They want precise controls, a fun single-player experience, a varied multiplayer offering, and yes they want high quality graphics. We understand this because we want these things ourselves.

Can The Conduit change that?
Absolutely! We were very methodical with how we created this game. We set clear goals and didn’t stop iterating until we met those goals. The Conduit gives gamers an experience like no other.

Something that no other game offers is our completely customizable controls. Players can remap buttons, move HUD element placement, change run speeds, and so much more. This is something that only The Conduit offers and we hope that it becomes the standard in all games.

Do you feel it can be a big sales success on Wii?
We sure hope so. We have been very active in the gamer community by showing off the game every chance we got. The feedback we received from these play sessions has been extremely positive and served to focus our efforts in the right direction. We believe in this product and can’t wait for the rest of the world to play.

What are the challenges developing adult content for Wii, are you confident there is a market for mature Wii games?
We don’t look at The Conduit as a mature game; we look at it as a gamer’s game. From the start, we set out to provide the kind of FPS experience that all FPS gamers dreamed of when the Wii was first announced.

As far as a market for games like this, we know that there is. We are part of the market and we feel that there are many Wii owners who simply have not been catered to in the ways they expected. You simply have to look at the forums to see that they are out there and they are hungry for a meaningful experience.

What has the early feedback to the game been like?
It has been amazing. From the press and the forums, the game has received a lot of positive impressions. Those that play the game tend to offer the most favourable opinions.

However, there are always going to be people who simply don’t like the Wii or don’t enjoy the FPS genre. These people are entitled to their opinions but honestly, this game isn’t for them. It’s for the gamers who want the best FPS experience on the Wii and we hope to deliver just that.

What are your critical expectations for the game?
We have very high expectations of all of our games and The Conduit is no exception. We believe that gamers who play the game are going to appreciate all of the effort that our team has put into creating a truly remarkable gaming experience on the Wii.

Do you view The Conduit as a potential Wii franchise? Could it come to other consoles?
Let me first say that we are not announcing anything at this time. That being said, the fan response has been incredible for the game and it would not be out of the realm of possibility to turn The Conduit into a franchise.

As to whether the game could make it to other consoles, anything is possible but we have no plans to do so, at this time.

What makes the Quantum 3 engine unique?
The first thing people notice about Quantum3 is that it is capable of pulling off truly next-gen visuals on the Wii. While this is its biggest impact to most people, it is merely the tip of the iceberg. Quantum3 provides an incredible networking path for rock-solid multiplayer, excellent tools for designers, a time-tested art pipeline, and so much more.

All of the features of the tech allow project teams to rapidly prototype gameplay and to quickly make changes to nearly anything in the game throughout development.

What this boils down to is that we can get the game running quickly, prove the fun of the gameplay, incorporate high quality visuals, and iterate until we finish.

This process has been invaluable in the creation of not just The Conduit, but many of our other games as well.

Why haven’t you used any third party engine?
We did evaluate just about every technology on the market for the Wii. What we found is that no one had a solution that would allow us to push gameplay and visuals the way we wanted. We then decided to research our own solution and began prototyping the tech.

We provided a laundry list of features to our internal tech team, the Advanced Technology Group. This feature list was comprised of what we felt was necessary to deliver the kind of gaming experience that we wanted. After some time, they gave a demo of what they accomplished and we were blown away.

We are very happy of the decision to generate our own tech and proud of the entire team who have contributed to it.

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