Inside Pulse 12

Interview: The Conduit (Nintendo Wii)

2009 is turning out to be a great year for the Nintendo Wii so far. Until now, many of the Wii releases have focused around mini-games or were extremely simple. High Voltage Studios is looking to fill a void in the Wii game library with the release of The Conduit, a futuristic FPS developed from the ground up for the system.

Even though they’re hard at work finishing the game for its June 23rd release, David Pellas of High Voltage Studios took the time to answer some of our questions.

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Name: David Pellas
Title: Design Director


DHGF- Science fiction stories are popular in video games at the moment, what makes the story for The Conduit more unique than the standard humans versus aliens story we see out of this type of game?

David Pellas- There is a lot that sets The Conduit apart from its competitors. The biggest hook is our deep conspiracy core. We painstakingly wrote this story around the premise that everything you thought might be true, was. Every sub-story arc seems to be its own unique tale, but it isn’t. In fact, it is part of a much larger conspiracy and thus reveals a small portion of our entire story. Those who spend the time to figure out story angles early will be rewarded.

DHGF- Some of the more successful titles for the Wii have been mini-game collections or first party games from Nintendo; do you believe that there is an audience for this style of game on the Wii?

David Pellas- Absolutely. We would not be doing this if we didn’t believe whole-heartedly that there are a lot of core gamers, like ourselves, who own a Wii and are eager to get their hands on something that is designed for them.

DHGF- What steps does The Conduit take to advance the FPS genre?

David Pellas- The biggest way that the FPS genre is improved by The Conduit is in the controls. I am a hardcore PC FPS fan and one of those guys who has always disliked the dual analog method. With The Conduit’s control system, we have developed a scheme that we feel will become the norm in all future FPS games on the Wii.

DHGF- There are Wii titles out there that are difficult to control. The Conduit allows players to customize the control scheme, but how much control is there? Does this extend into different motion controls?

David Pellas- We offer an unprecedented amount of customization. Don’t like the shoot button assigned to the B Button? Change it. Don’t like the position of the HUD elements? Move them. No other game has ever focused so much attention on controls and we hope gamers love the system as much as we do.

DHGF- The controls are customizable, but how about the difficulty settings? Is there only one setting or multiple settings that can be unlocked?

David Pellas- The difficulty system is great. This is another area where we focused on providing players with the ability to tweak their gameplay as they see fit. We have multiple difficulty settings that can be changed in-game at any time. Is the Boss too difficult? Lower the setting before you make another attempt. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.


DHGF- How did you come up with the concept for this game?

David Pellas- The concept originated in a series of conversations between several of our management staff and a couple developers. I don’t want to name names as to whom thought up the first scrap of information about the game because that will grossly simplify the process. In the end, it was an incredible team effort where ideas came from every facet of the team. We had a great team and are very excited to see what they come up with next!

DHGF- How many weapons will we see, and will the weapons be purely conventional, purely fantastic, or a mix between?

David Pellas- There are a lot. We feature not only conventional human weapons but also advanced hi-tech Trust weapons and organic, deadly Drudge weapons. Players are certainly not going to have a shortage of interesting weapons to use. On top of all of these weapons, we also have several highly classified weapons that can only be used if players discover their hidden locations. These weapons are the most powerful in the game and a heck of a lot of fun to use.

DHGF- Rumor has it that The Conduit has the option to use a bunch of different cheat codes to use to add replayability to the game, can you shed some light on what some of these codes do?

David Pellas- We do have a cheat code system. However, I cannot reveal exactly what cheats we will have or how they will affect gameplay. The goal of any good cheat system is to extend gameplay and offer a unique way of playing. I think that we have done that with our selection of cheats.


DHGF- So far one of my biggest issues with any FPS game released on the Wii has to be with the enemy AI. What steps have been taken with The Conduit to ensure that the AI isn’t just standing there waiting to be shot at?

David Pellas- We have to agree with you on that one. Enemy AI has been a huge problem in nearly every FPS I have ever played. The truth of the matter is that no one has ever created an AI that reacts just like a human would and therefore players will eventually be able to predict behaviors from every game. What we have done is to provide an extensive list of routines or behaviors that our AI runs through on a very frequent basis. Our AI is constantly analyzing the player’s behavior, location, weapons, and much more. They then react to their data accordingly. This system allows our AI to feel more strategic than many other games on the market and its something we think gamers will appreciate.


DHGF- Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers regarding the upcoming release of The Conduit?

David Pellas- High Voltage Software has worked hard with the gaming community throughout the development of the game. We have shown it regularly and gathered feedback from core gamers at every chance we could get. We believe that The Conduit has made huge leaps in quality due to this interaction with the community and I would like to take this chance to say thank you to all those gamers who played the game, offered feedback, and have helped us along the way. This game is for you as much as it is for us and we couldn’t have done it without you.