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High Voltage Software

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Conduit 2 delayed to April, but have some screens


Jan 28
// Jim Sterling
SEGA has announced that its upcoming online Wii shooter, Conduit 2, is getting a modest delay. Originally slated for March, the game will now hit North America on April 19, with the European version arriving April 22.  T...
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Live show: Chill Bros play Conduit 2 pre-release @ 3PST


Jan 26
// Pico Mause
We have very exciting news! Destructoid Chill Bros have the exclusive pre-release, two months early for Conduit 2, one of Destructoid's most anticipated games for the Nintendo Wii in 2011. We will be playing the game live wit...
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New Conduit 2 trailer is packing heat


Jan 18
// Jonathan Holmes
I get the sense that a lot of people are skeptical about Conduit 2. First, it's a Wii game, which is already enough to upset some people. Second, the original Conduit received a lot of pre-release hype, but failed to live up...
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Watch a Conduit 2 trailer if you like


Jan 14
// Jim Sterling
The Conduit 2 is coming to the Wii on February 15 and I'm somewhat looking forward to it. The original game was alright in that really sneery meaning of the word, so I'm eager to see what improvements have been made. The tra...

Impressions of Conduit 2

Oct 26 // Jonathan Holmes
  The guys at High Voltage talk a lot of sh*t about The Conduit. At one point during my recent hands-on with the game, I actually told Eric Nosfinger (Chief Creative Officer on The Conduit  and Conduit 2 ) that it sounds like I enjoyed his old game more than he did. Due to a mysterious technical failure with our recording equipment, I can't give you an exact quote on his response, but I'm pretty sure it was something along the lines of "Of course I don't hate The Conduit, but it's not the game I wanted it to be. Not even close." The Conduit wasn't the game I wanted it to be either. I really like parts of it. Its controls, its weapons, and its They Live-style storyline are all great. From there though, it just seemed like High Voltage ran out of time and/or money. Some of the selling points that are pretty much standard in the modern Sci-Fi FPS (huge bosses, in-your-face storytelling, large battlefields) were largely missing, while a lot of the other things that game could do well (enemy variety, advanced texture mapping, voice-acting) it only pulled off some of the time. All of that seems to be fixed with Conduit 2. It may go on to be known as the Evil Dead 2 of videogames, as it feels like both a sequel and a remake of the original at the same time.  As soon as you boot up the game, you're treated to a big budget CGI recreation of the last moments of the original Conduit, giving us the climactic ending that the first game should have had. Then you're dumped onto an oil rig; a cooler looking, more exciting battlefield than just about any place in the original game. That would have been enough for me, but right after that, a giant, laser breathing sea serpent popped up and started destroying everything. This is a boss fight; a real boss fight against a force many times larger than the player, with an old-fashioned health bar an everything. These are the blockbuster videogame moments that I waited for the entire time I was playing Conduit 1. Almost like an apology, Conduit 2 gave me all of that right away. Less than ten minutes in, and I could already tell that Conduit 2 wont be just a sequel. It's a reparation. The game has so many additions and improvements, it's hard to even know where to begin. Just looking at my notes on is overwhelming. First off, High Voltage actually rewrote the way that the Wii outputs sound in order to make the Conduit 2 sound better than any other Wii title. Then there's the little style tweaks, like the additon of the ever popular "healing factor" health regeneration and universal ammo systems found in many of today's FPSs. Then there's the previously reported, but still awesome, news that the game will addition of Wii Motion Plus and Classic Controller support. Then there's the plan for headset support; a first for a Wii game. Also, the enemies A.I. has been re-written to include multiple new attack and defense maneuvers, there are over 100 different death screams for fallen enemies, there is an entirely new set of voice actors; the list goes on and on. I wanted to spit those little details out before they got swallowed up by Conduit 2's bigger changes and upgrades. For instance, the game's whole structure has changed. There is now a central hub where you select your missions, create new weapons, and interact with non-playable characters. Mr Ford (the game's protagonist) is no longer alone in his battle against the secret society of aliens and ex-presidents that are trying to take over the world. Now he's got a home base, in the middle of Atlantis no less. That's where he gets help from an attractive, armor clad super model-looking lady who also wants to keep us safe from aliens and politicians. When Hamza Aziz first saw her, he let out an audible "Whoa…", a sound that the HD loving Halo fanatic rarely makes when checking out a Wii game. Thanks to the hub zone, we now have the option for non-linear progression. Sometimes you can choose what mission you want to take on next (Mega Man style), while other times you're given the option to back-track to previous levels. Returning to old places may open up new areas, weapons, and missions. High Voltage is planning on piling on tons of additional content beyond the approximately 12 hour long campaign mode. This isn't just to give you more bang for your buck. High Voltage's real goal with this feature, and the game in general, is to make the world of the Conduit feel like a, real, tangible place. In the real world, there is never just one "mission" or just one problem to solve. The same goes for Conduit 2. No matter the situation, there's always options. This time, those options will take you all over the world. In my play-through, I got to see a level that takes place in China (complete with creepy alien statues that come to life) that introductory level (with the gigantic, laser breathing sea monster and destructible environments), and Washington D.C. stage (which has become a war zone between aliens and humans, with you caught in the middle). I'm told that's just a fraction of the new areas that the game has in store. There are also plenty of new enemies and weapons. One new gun (of alien origin) allows you to shoot some sort of disgusting, airborne alien insects at rapid speeds. Hit someone (or something) with a bug, and that plants a tracer into their body. From there, you can shoot bugs from around corners, crouched under cover, wherever you want, and they'll home into whatever unlucky thing has that tracer planted in it's body. It's an evil, malicious way to take out an opponent, and it's really fun. In order to get this new weapon, you have to snag it from the cold, dead hands of an alien. I didn't catch the name of this particular extra terrestrial, but I do recall that he had the face of a giant spider, and the confidence of a T-1000. I managed to take him out, but only because he was battling some humans at the same time. Of course, after he was down, the humans turned their sights onto me. It was a good thing that I had just picked up a new gun that shoots giant, ravenous alien horseflies. Those poor bastards didn't know what hit (and then ate) them. Beneath all of these new features and experiences is an air of unpredictability and mystery. That feeling was present in the first game as well, but it feels much more intense and complete this time around. The ties to real life history have been intensified, the stakes have gotten higher, and the depth of the conspiracies at work is on a scale that wasn't this clear in the first game. The creators of Conduit 2 know things. There is a reason why they included real life transmissions from The Conet Project in the original game. I wish I could tell you those reasons, but they'd just scramble me if I tried. There is so much more that I'd like to say about Conduit 2, but I've got to bring this to a close. Rest assured, there is more to come. High Voltage collected a notebook full of suggestions from their fans at PAX 2010, and they're planning on implementing as many of those suggestions as they can before the game comes out early next year. My suggestion was that they add a 8 bit or 16 bit version of Conduit 2 in the game to unlockable bonus, maybe at an in-game arcade or something. With the addition of huge bosses (complete with life meters), a hub world, and other traits common in classic gaming, it just seemed to fit. High Voltage didn't promise anything, but they didn't say no either. That seems to be the High Voltage way. These guys are 100% focused on making their fans happy. I can't wait to see how that turns out for them, and for us.
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Things are happening with the Conduit 2. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what I mean by that. All I can tell you is, if you do your homework and play your cards right, you could see something; something big. Depending on ...

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Conduit 2 delayed until 2011, getting new control options


Sep 02
// Nick Chester
Bad news for Wii owners and first-person shooter fans -- High Voltage's sequel Conduit 2 has been pushed out of this year and in to 2011. The game will now see release in the first quarter of next year. The good news is that ...

Review: Tournament of Legends

Jul 04 // Jim Sterling
Tournament of Legends (Wii)Developer: High VoltagePublisher: SegaReleased: July 6, 2010 MSRP: $29.95 I stopped playing fighting games after the 16-bit era, mostly because they had outpaced me by miles. I could no longer perform the increasingly intricate combos, I paid no heed to L-cancels and hit boxes, and eventually I just became terrible at any one-on-one fighter that appeared. It's no fault of the genre, I lay the blame entirely on my own lack of ability and willingness to learn. Of course, it means I get to miss out on a lot of cool fighting games. Tournament of Legends takes us back to a more humble age, when games could be shamelessly silly, characters were allowed to look or sound stupid, and fighting games didn't require ten-hour long button combos in order to be considered enjoyable. High Voltage's Wii fighter is nonsensical, pointless and simple, and that's what I really appreciate about it.  The premise involves twisted quasi-mythological characters beating the crap out of each other so that they can fight Thanatos, the God of Death. You have Marcus, the arrogant gladiator, Narcia, the Gorgon, and Jupiter, the golem who thinks he's a God, among other equally asinine warriors. Each character is one of three classes -- Strong, Rugged or Lithe. Strongs are slow but powerful, Lithes are weak but fast, and Ruggeds are in the middle. It's all fairly elementary stuff.  Characters can be customized with the weapons of any other character they defeat, and can also equip enchantments that bestow special abilities when activated during battle. Vampire, for example, replenishes health with each attack, while Lethal does extra damage and Shock randomly removes an opponent's health.  The combat itself has been designed entirely for the Wii in a 3D combat arena. Obviously, this means that things are somewhat stripped down, but again that is something I really appreciate. Basic attacks are performed by swinging the remote or the nunchuck, while block-breaking strong attacks require players to hold down Z while swinging. Weak projectiles can be thrown with C, and characters can block with B. In addition, each character has four special moves, three unique to their character, one unique to their weapon. These attacks draw from a refillable power meter, and are performed by holding the A button while pushing the nunchuck stick up, down, left or right. Every attack is absorbed by four pieces of armor that protect the arms, head and body of each character. The armor sustains damage with each hit absorbed and eventually comes off. It's rather cool to see the armor littering the ground after each match, especially when some of that armor involves entire robotic heads.  Of course, it wouldn't be a Wii game without some token waggling, and Tournament of Legends provides. When a character is knocked out, they have a chance to regain their strength and keep fighting up to two times, while the current victor can restore their powers. The downed player must shake the remote and nunchuck up and down to refill their health, while the one left standing performs QTE-style prompts to regain their powers. In addition, various mythological beasts can randomly attack the combatants during a match, requiring QTE motions in order to avoid taking extra damage.  If a round of combat goes on too long, each opponent must restore health and armor in a minigame before fighting again. Rotating the nunchuck restores the health and waving the remote up and down fixes armor. While a nice idea, it does get in the way of the fighting and AI opponents seem to get an unfair advantage, licking their wounds at a far greater pace.  On the normal difficulty, Tournament of Legends isn't the toughest game around, and players will likely only feel a hint of challenge when facing their obligatory recolored selves and Thanatos. Tournament of Legends is a fighting game anyone can play, and while elitist hardcore fighter fans will doubtless be turned off by this, I personally think High Voltage did a commendable job in making such an accessible title that works really quite well on the Wii.  Of course, there are problems, the major one being that Tournament of Legends often doesn't feel responsive enough. Dodging, blocking, attacking and especially the QTEs can sometimes feel too sluggish, and this is especially frustrating against AI opponents who don't seem to suffer the same problems. The game manages to remain fun in spite of this irritation, but it's an irritation nonetheless and one that can sometimes cost precious character health.  Tournament of Legends isn't the prettiest Wii game, nor is it the most deep and engaging. What it is, however, is a good little fighter that makes good use of the console's interface and truly brings back the feeling of playing a fighting game in the nineties. It's no Eternal Champions, but it's easy to get into and provides just the right amount of innocent, unpretentious fun. For under thirty bucks, that ain't too bad! Score: 7.5 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)
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You remember back in the nineties when we had the fighting game boom? Dozens of "me too" titles with increasingly silly premises, all vying for a piece of the one-on-one fighter pie. Rise of the Robots, Primal Rage, Eternal C...

E3 10: Preview: Conduit 2

Jun 16 // Dale North
Later, in a separate demo section, we eventually made our way outside, and on deck where we fought an epic boss battle with a massive water beast. We were almost too busy manning turrets and to notice the lovely stormy water effects off the side of the ship. While we expect that we'll get a better sense of story later, the improved technology in Conduit 2 was immediately noticeable. Aiming is much more smooth, and the movement control is much more tight.  The feeling that this sequel is a better experience is apparent from the very first movements of your Wii Remote and Nunchuck. Some of this improvement is thanks to the included Wii Motion Plus support, which provides better tracking and pointer control. Also improved are the visuals, which now come from a beefed up engine. We were told that this engine provides better geometry and higher quality texture maps. The combined result of all of this is a better looking, smoother-playing Conduit.  There's plenty of new weaponry to play with in this sequel. Several weapons that came from alien technology  were mentioned, including one called Shield Gun. This gun sucks up all fired projectiles into one little ball and then throws them back into an enemy. A larger gun lets you use a remote control to view and aim from it while being in another place, behind cover. There will be over 20 weapons in the final version, we're told.  As with any FPS, multiplayer is an important component, and High Voltage knows this. The previous game had some issues with security, but they assure us that the code has been tightened up. Of course, there's going to be up to 12-player online modes, but you can also go at it GoldenEye style with four-player split screen! High Voltage told us that a new multiplayer mode called Team Invasion will be featured in Conduit 2. Anywhere from two to four players can go at it together, online or locally, working through missions cooperatively. They're also bringing back full Wii Speak support for online chat.  So many people said that they enjoyed Conduit, but were hoping for a bit more. Judging from High Voltage's work on the sequel, it seems like they knew that. It also seems like they listened to some of the concerns we had from the first game. While we only played one stage, it already feels safe to say that if you liked Conduit, you're going to find much more to like with Conduit 2. We expect to see even more polish added to the game between now and its release, which is scheduled for fall of this year.
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The first Conduit game gave Wii gamers exactly what they were waiting for with a solid, point-to-shoot FPS. High Voltage's game fit the bill nicely, but both the developers and gamers knew that there was so much more that cou...

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Conduit 2 to support MotionPlus


Jun 11
// Conrad Zimmerman
SEGA shot us over some information about Conduit 2. Specifically, information on whether the first-person shooter would incorporate Wii MotionPlus controls. In the event you were wondering, Conduit 2 will support Wii MotionPl...
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The Conduit 2 is called Conduit 2


Apr 10
// Jim Sterling
We've all been calling it The Conduit 2, but apparently we're damn wrong. "The" isn't cool anymore, and anybody who uses it is a big square. From now on, High Voltage's sequel to The Conduit is shedding the formalities and wi...
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First screens for The Conduit 2 draw near!


Mar 31
// Jim Sterling
High Voltage's The Conduit 2 was revealed only yesterday, but the first bunch of screens have appeared online, giving us a taste of what's in store for fans of the Wii shooter.  As expected, the game is already looking g...
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The Grinder will remain an FPS on Wii


Mar 31
// Jim Sterling
High Voltage's The Grinder is weird. On the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, it will be a top-down action game inspired by Hunter: The Reckoning. On Wii, it will remain the concept it originally started life as -- a co-op FPS inspi...

The Conduit 2 confirmed

Mar 30 // Jim Sterling
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High Voltage's not-totally-successful Wii shooter The Conduit is getting sequel, as confirmed by Nintendo Power. While specific gameplay details were not shared, the magazine still managed eight pages of content on the thing,...

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Tournament of Legends gets new vid, cheap price and delay


Mar 24
// Jim Sterling
High Voltage's Tournament of Legends has been pretty quiet since it was announced, but there is a bunch of new stuff for Wii fans to gawp at like rudderless guppies, including a new video, box art, and a sweet little price p...
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The Conduit is getting a sequel? Really?


Mar 16
// Jonathan Holmes
So, a game usually needs to turn a profit in order to warrant a sequel, right guys? Mushroom Men 2 and Dark Void 2 will likely never be created, but we'll definitely be seeing Just Dance 2 and Assassin's Creed 3 in the next f...
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High Voltage bringing The Grinder to 360/PS3/PC next year


Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
High Voltage Software's Wii-exclusive co-op shooter The Grinder has been set free! As revealed by president Kerry Ganofsky in an interview with IGN, the studio plans to make its newest game a multiplatform affair. That's PC, ...
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This happened: High Voltage trademarks Immortal Warriors


Nov 25
// Nick Chester
Well, here is something: Developer High Voltage Software has recently filed for trademark of "Immortal Warriors."  High Voltage is a busy developer, with at least three other announced projects in the cards -- first-pers...
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High Voltage teases a big announcement soon


Nov 14
// Matthew Razak
The guys at High Voltage have been a bit silent since E3 and the launch of The Conduit. After announcing The Grinder and Gladiator A.D. I'm sure they're hard at work actually developing those games, but it seems they've got s...
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High Voltage really does love that Infernal Engine


Aug 12
// Jordan Devore
High Voltage, the studio best known for The Conduit and its two upcoming games Gladiator A.D. and The Grinder, has just gotten itself into a lifetime licensing agreement with Terminal Reality's Infernal Engine. While the deve...

Preview: Astro Boy

Jul 24 // 8BitBrian
Astro Boy: The Video Game (Wii, PS2, PSP)Developer: High Voltage SoftwarePublisher: D3PublisherTo be released: October 23, 2009 Much like Omega Factor, this Astro Boy title is a mix of shoot-em-ups and a brawler settings -- focusing mainly on the brawler. Taking place in a 2.5-D environment, the game has you firing lasers, punching, kicking, and waggling about in order to defeat your enemies. I sat down to play this title on the Wii, the main development platform, and got a chance to hop right into the game.They had a couple of segments set up, and the first one was a factory setting. Taken straight from the movie, this had me platforming, avoiding lava, enemies' bullets, and timed jumps. If you've played any sort of Castlevania or Metroid title in the last decade, you've got an idea of how this is supposed to work. The controls are customizable to any fashion of play, but I stuck with using the nunchuck to move around and the Wiimote to jump, punch, and activate my super powers.Super powers are something to be used liberally in the game: useful for absorbing enemy bullets to replenish your life, firing lasers, or butt-machine guns. They're pretty much your first line of defense when dealing with the enemies and bullets in most platforming stages. And combat in these beat-em-up stages are where I ran into my first set of problems.Normally, when enemies shoot missles and laser bullets, you would assume that you can shoot down the missles, right? That's what I've learned from Metal Slug, Bionic Commando, and a host of other games like this. Missles are something you just need to dodge, in addition to the bullets that fly at you. One of the superpowers will let you absorb the ammo, saving you from certain death, but it's a bit much to rely on superpowers simply to not get hit.My other problem was with how slow the movement felt. This didn't give off the atmosphere of a fast-paced action game, but something more akin to the pace of a platformer -- this is something I'm fine with normally, it's just that when dodging bullets, it just felt too slow. I would frequently get caught simply because the bullets flew too fast, and I moved too slow.To move onto the shoot-em-up stages, which comprise some 30% of the game, it follows as you would think: a side-scrolling shooter where you attempt to take care of wave after wave of enemies and their bullets. Enemies will come out in familiar chains, and your job is to blast them out of the sky before they do it to you. Apart from the weakest of enemies, I had problems destroying even one chain of most of the characters that flew by. Sure, they took multiple passes, but even with that, it was almost impossible to destroy them, and with the superpowers, I didn't even have a 50% success rate. Needless to say, I had a bit of trouble completing these stages. I hate to damn this game to the category of the typical movie tie-in, but with the release date looming in the not-too distant future, there's a lot of progress that needs to be made in order to try and work its way out of the shadow of Treasure's title. Right now, the game needs a lot of visual polish, lest it remain looking like a several-year-old PS2 title, not to mention a lot of the technical problems that make the shooting simply frustrating to deal with.
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Osamu Tezuka's classic title Astro Boy is an important piece of animation history -- many cite it as the birth of the modern anime, with its debut on TV in 1963 (the manga started in 1952). And now, the character is getting a...

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E3 09: Gaming orgy of the damned caught on camera


Jun 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Something amazing happened at E3 this year. Through a combination of deceit, determination, and pure luck, I managed to capture on video an amazing series of events; a daisy chain of game developers playing each others stuff,...
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E3 09: High Voltage interview part two: Gladiator A.D.


Jun 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Where The Conduit is exciting because it promises to be the first fully featured online FPS on the Wii, and The Grinder looks promising for it's co-op and horror/comedy combo, Gladiator A.D.'s claim to fame is being damn stra...
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E3 09: High Voltage interview part one: The Grinder


Jun 11
// Jonathan Holmes
Jesus Christ, The Grinder looks awesome.I'm not a big fan of the FPS genre, but when a game brings this much to the table, it doesn't matter what genre it's in. The Grinder combines the knowingly over-the-top horror/comedy of...
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After I played Gladiator A.D., I checked out High Voltage’s upcoming Wii-exclusive FPS (built on the same stuff The Conduit is packing) The Grinder. Like we said earlier, it’s a game heavily influenced by Left 4 D...

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E3 09: Gladiator A.D. is ridiculously bloody, also fun


Jun 03
// Brad Nicholson
Gladiator A.D. is what you think it is. You control a hardened warrior equipped with a sword and shield. But it’s the little things that make High Voltage’s upcoming Wii-exclusive fighter stand out.My demo of the ...
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Conduit dev copying Left 4 Dead in new Wii game


May 27
// Jim Sterling
The boys at Conduit studioHigh Voltage have seen what Left 4 Dead did for first-person zombie co-op, and they like it. So much so, in fact, that they've decided to simply copy Valve's immensely popular shooter and put it on t...
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Pre-E3 09: IGN reveals High Voltage's Gladiator A.D.


May 25
// Jonathan Holmes
A few weeks back, Jim showed you a fuzzy, "decoded" piece of production art for an as-of-then unannounced Wii game. Well, the game is unannounced no more. It's called Gladiator A.D., and it looks so normal (by video...
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High Voltage showing two new Wii games at E3


May 02
// Matthew Razak
The crap that High Voltage gets the Wii to do is pretty amazing. Looking at The Conduit in person you can tell that they've accomplished some pretty amazing stuff on the Wii graphically. Time to call it day and ride out your ...

Destructoid interview: The Conduit developer High Voltage Software

Feb 13 // Nick Chester
DESTRUCTOID:So give me the lowdown about The Conduit. What's it all about? ERIC NOFSINGER, CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER:It's an exclusive first-person shooter for the Wii, and we're trying to make the definitive experience for the console. DESTRUCTOID:What's the story? NOFSINGER:The story is... we're still trying to figure that out. We've got easily, like, a month before we go into full-on bug testing, so we have plenty of time. KERRY GANOFSKY, CEO:About 29 days!NOFSINGER:Exactly. No, the story [has] a science fiction-based, conspiracy big action blockbuster feel to it. You play Michael Ford, a Secret Service Agent that's been inducted into something called "The Trust," sort of a shadowy, Men In Black kind of organization. You're called into thwart an alien invasion. You've got to protect the President, you get to fight in all sorts of cool places like the Library of Congress, the Jefferson Memorial, the Pentagon. GANOFSKY:The White House ... DESTRUCTOID:So you guys are going up against some pretty big, triple-A first-person shooters on other platforms, games that are setting new bars for things like visuals -- Killzone 2, games like that. People are pretty impressed by the game, watching them and listening to them on the Comic Con floor. A lot of what I'm hearing is "it looks really good for a Wii game." Why the Wii? Why not another system where you could have pushed more polygons? NOFSINGER:Yeah, sure. We could have pushed more polygons, but we believe that gameplay is king. Although we want to make a higher-quality experience than sort of the really minimum bar that most Wii games are, for us it was all about control. With the Wii, it affords you a different type of control mechanism other than playing with two analog sticks or a "brick" on a PC. It's a different way to interact, and it afforded a whole other level of interactivity with a first-person shooter. It makes a lot of sense to just point and kill things. Beyond that, we were able to do a lot of stuff with the motion controls in it. We're able to do melee attacks with the jab, we're able to do grenade tosses with the Nunchuk. And we have a lot of Wii-specific weapons with the alien technlogy and the Trust technology that you just couldn't do on a 360 or a PlayStation 3. Personally, I'd take good gameplay over a few more polys anyday. GANOFSKY:And I think you've said it best: "but for the Wii." There's 50 million "buts" out there, and [Wii gamers] need a quality title just as much as a they do on a PlayStation 3 or a 360. I think when you look at the technology and what we've done, it's not just about hey "This looks great on the Wii." But it also plays great on the Wii, and it was built for the Wii. So I think that's the critical component that some people might be missing. NOFSINGER:Sure, absolutely. Who else is really doing this? Outside of Sega? You've got very few folks that are trying to push the system. Now you hear a few more folks coming out publicly and saying "Yeah, maybe we need to explore this little Wii thing." But it's like, we've been saying this for a year and a half. The system deserves good games instead of just ports. GANOFSKY:Creating a triple-A title, that requires partnering with a triple-A publisher. I think Sega understands that, and Sega management understands that. So it's been a great relationship. DESTRUCTOID:Yeah, Sega has The Conduit, House of the Dead: Overkill, MadWorld ... all of these kind of mature, grittier titles that people have been sort of asking for. Do you think that there's a market for that? There's definitely a very vocal crowd of people -- myself included -- that are done with Wii Sports, done with the mini-games. So me, for sure, I definitely want experiences like these. The Wii brought in a lot of "non-gamers"; do you think stuff like this will catch their attention? NOFSINGER:I think it will pull a lot of them into what would be considered typically the "core" gamers. Just like Halo did with the Xbox -- before Halo, how many folks played first-person shooters on consoles? It was kind of looked down on. We're hoping to do the same sort of thing with The Conduit. I mean, here's an even more exciting way to play on a more accessible console. We believe that when folks get that in their hands and try it, and realize "Hey this is something that I can interface with." We believe it's going to pull in folks that wouldn't have even considered a first-person shooter before. GANOFSKY:The development team did such an incredible job of creating a control system that's intuitive. It fits the Wii controls perfectly. For instance, the grenades -- point and toss. Point your cursor at that little blue barrel right there, move your Nunchuk, that's where the grenade goes. I think that's ostensible to that casual audience. So I think we can hit a larger demographic by doing things like that, and kudos to the team for putting together a product like this. DESTRUCTOID:Can you see someone's grandmother playing The Conduit? When designing it, were you thinking about that, maybe skewing it a little bit easier to play? NOFSINGER:No, no. We had to make it really intuitive. Everybody wants intuitive gameplay, but outside of that, we had to give a lot of depth and customization to it. Because even around the office, we had this ideal of making the definitive first-person shooter. Well what is that? If I ask you that, you're going to have a different explanation than me or Kerry. Each of us is going to have a different take on what's right for it. So customization was a big point to us. Every little piece that we opened up and exposed to these folks, we found that a lot of core gamers would say, "That's great. we want even more." So we just kept listening to them. I mean the level of minutiae that a core gamer can get into, I don't even know of another first-person shooter, 360, PC or otherwise, that has quite the level of customization. I don't know of any PC or console shooter that allows you to point at the HUD elements and drag them and drop them wherever you want them. We're able to do a lot of crazy customization that would be tough to do on the PC. GANOFSKY:Yeah, Eric led the charge or reaching out to the online community for feedback, opinions. Even a contest on designing the best HUD. I think that's valuable, that kind of feedback. We're not so much making the game for ourselves as we are for 50 million Wii owners. DESTRUCTOID:Right. When I was at the Nintendo Media Summit [late last year], I had a question about the controls, and I made a suggestion. And I was really surprised [Eric] pulled out a notebook and you were like "OK, what was that again?" It was wild, you were actually listening to me. GANOFSKY:That was really his grocery list. [laughs]NOFSINGER:No, I did that with every person there. I did that at PAX, and each of these shows. Obvious media and press folks, you guys play a lot of games, so you know what's what. But even "John Q. Public," the folks coming to PAX, they gravitate more towards the hardcore. If we're making them happy and we can make the casual player happy, we hope we can do that. DESTRUCTOID:Before you reached out and start getting suggestions, was there anything that you thought, "Oh, this is going to work great." But then, ultimately, found that it just didn't work? NOFSINGER:Oh yeah, there's a lot of examples of that stuff. The proof is kind of in the pudding, and once you try it, it's kind of proved or disproved. One of the things was melee attacks. We had to play a lot with the sensitivity on that. I mean, you could map the melee to the D-pad but it defaults right now to a quick thrust forward on the Wii Remote. It's really easy to get disoriented, so we had to play a lot with that. "Oh yeah, you'll just thrust forward and it's going to work great." But really, the first implementations of it were terrible; it just didn't work at all. We had to do a lot of work with that to see what would work. The biggest example of that that I could give was Wii MotionPlus. We were really excited about Wii MotionPlus; we got the kits when everyone else got them -- actually a little bit before. We were really excited, going back and forth with Nintendo on how to integrate this and what the best use for it was. But when we actually implemented it, it really didn't bring that much to the table. It really felt like a bit of a gimmick. The other things in the game had been built from the ground up to take advantage of the Wii Remote. This just felt way too tacked on. We didn't have a lot of melee weapons to take advantage of it; actually, we had no melee weapons. So we tried to scramble a little bit: "Oh, are we going to try to tack on a melee weapon?" We played around with that. To be real honest, it just felt like a cop-out. From day one, our mantra has always been, "If we're not doing it right, don't do it." So when we looked at that we said, "Hey, this doesn't feel right. It feels like a tack on. There's really not a lot of gameplay that supports it. Let's not lie to our fan base and say, 'Hey Wii MotionPlus,' just to use it as a bullet point on a box." Unlike Wii Speak, we plug that it and it works great. It's really cool to be able to trash talk with your buddies online. But maybe for a future version we'll revisit [Wii MotionPlus], and if we can build something around it that makes sense. We're not going to just tack it on to tack it on. DESTRUCTOID:Did you find that the technology for the Wii MotionPlus worked as advertised, and it was just for this particular game that it wasn't right?NOFSINGER:Yeah, it works. It lends itself better to certain kinds of things over others. Because the way that you have to calibrate it, and because of the way that there are some issues with some of the data and the way that it lags and so forth. It really lends itself better to melee-type things and things where you calibrate in-between [sections]. If The Conduit was starting development today -- which it's not -- but if it was and we wanted to use it, we'd probably look at it differently and incorporate weapons that make more sense for it. But it just didn't work out. DESTRUCTOID:On the topic of Wii Speak -- can you clarify how online play is going to work? Are you supporting friend codes, is there a lobby system?NOFSINGER:Well a lot of the details we're not releasing quite yet. But the details that we have told folks: it's 16-player online multiplayer, and that's running smoothly. We've told people Wii Speak, and that's working beautifully. We've gotten really good data transfer. We've told folks Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag. That in itself is kind of meat-and-potatoes, and any online shooter is going to have those kind of things, so it's not telling you a whole lot. Over the next few weeks there's going to be a lot more information on it. But we're definitely looking to up the ante, and do some things that are going to be special for the Wii. In the same way that we did for the core game, making the single-player experience special for the Wii, we tried to do the same thing with the online component. DESTRUCTOID:Cool. So Nintendo's introducing the SD card support. Would downloadable content be something you'd be able to support? NOFSINGER:No, not for this version. It's just not designed for it. We love downloadable content of any kind; it's a natural fit for first-person shooters and other kinds of games. But it's just too late in the game to come on board. Again, we wouldn't want to put in a half-assed solution. It does everyone a disservice. GANOFSKY:Yeah, tacking something on at this point would be a disservice to everybody. DESTRUCTOID:How many maps are you going to ship with? NOFSINGER:We're not ready to talk about that yet. But there's a lot of great maps, and I can say the single-player experience is a lot of fun, but the most mileage we've had with it as a team has been in multiplayer. It's just a lot of fun to shoot your co-workers in the face. Who knew?DESTRUCTOID:How do you feel about that, Kerry?GANOFSKY:Everyone loves to see the boss join in the lobby. NOFSINGER:For some reason he's a target, it must be some kind of glitch in the system. GANOFSKY:I join and suddenly there's a lot of arrows pointing at me. I don't know why. DESTRUCTOID:Again, it looks good for a Wii game ...NOFSINGER:It looks good for a game, period!DESTRUCTOID:Right, right! So, this is technology you've built from the ground up. Is that technology something that would share with other developers, or maybe your publishing partners like Sega? NOFSINGER:We've been approached a lot about the idea of licensing, as you might imagine. A lot of folks have come out about our Quantum 3 tech. We've not really pursued that, because that's a full-time gig. I don't think Kerry or I are looking to be Epic or anything like that. You need to have an infrastructure for that. GANOFSKY:The guys at Epic do a great job of that. We're really a developer, and we're approached frequently by developers and publishers for licensing. Part of it is, you know, we want to release this game first and foremost. Our commitment is to the consumer and finishing this game and doing it right. We'll look at ancillary revenue streams and licensing it to a handful of partners because we want everything to be great on the Wii. Right now, we want this title to be great on the Wii. NOFSINGER:I will say too that some of the folks that reached out to us right away they were really quality, great developers, great publishers. And some of them sure weren't. That gets into a fuzzy area where you know, we want to make sure that High Voltage is establishing itself as a high-quality developer. I think a lot of folks can overlook some of our less stellar titles that we've done under the licensed yoke. They'll give us a free pass once, but they won't give it to us twice. GANOFSKY:We believe you have to judge the titles for what they are. Time-to-market titles, for a license [developed] in seven to eight months, you have to judge them differently from a title built from the ground up. DESTRUCTOID:Do you have a ship date for The Conduit? NOFSINGER:Summer 2009.
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At New York Comic Con, heads were turning at Sega's booth space. Illinois-based developer High Voltage had brought along their upcoming Wii-exclusive first-person shooter, The Conduit.Designed from the ground up to take advan...

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Conduit gets zero local multiplayer, Nintendo cockblocks LAN support


Feb 09
// Jim Sterling
For a system that is known more about "family" bollocks and not for its online support, you could be forgiven for assuming without confirmation that local multiplayer would be a given in any Wii game. Sadly, however...

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