There have been lots of rumors hitting the internet about High Voltage, one of those rumors was that High Voltage was mad at SEGA for not shipping more copies of the game to retailers. High Voltage’s Eric Nofsinger decided to tackle the rumors and give the fans answers to misinformation.
“We do wish that Conduit 2 had been carried by more retail outlets but we harbor no ill will towards Sega.”
In the end of the day, I completely forgot this studio existed. Don’t get me wrong, I hope the best to them and their employees, but they have yet to make a game that is spectacular.
First, a quick apology to everyone, including SEGA, for the lateness of this review. I unfortunately lost my access to high speed internet shortly after receiving my review copy, and so I had difficulties with the multiplayer portion of the review throughout the summer. The multiplayer played a significant part in the final verdict, so I hope the good folks at SEGA who sent the review copy won’t mind the tardiness.
The original Conduit pioneered the Wii first person shooter, allowing every player to customize the game’s motion controls in a fashion that best suited how they wanted to play the game. It had its problems, however. Its online was easily hackable and virtually broke the game, and the single player offered absolutely nothing that hadn’t been done better in numerous other shooters. The environments, being based largely on modern Washington DC, were fairly generic aside from the odd monument. The level design was linear, and most of the weapons were pretty typical for the genre. With the announcement of Conduit 2, High Voltage Software acknowledged the problems of the original and promised to solve these problems with the sequel. Does Conduit 2 improve over the original, or does it fall even flatter?
Summary: Basically what happened is that Joystiq wrote a negative Conduit 2 review. Joystiq rated the game a 1/5, which would usually be the end of the story. But not with High Voltage. The writer for Joystiq, who happens to have a published book, all of a sudden just got a ton of negative spam reviews on Amazon.com for the book. After people accused High Voltage Software of writing them, the company has finally confessed that they did come from someone in the studio.
“Matt Corso did indeed write that internal email, however if you read the email he encourages folks to read Mike’s book and then write their own review in a ‘turn-about is fairplay’ sort of way” wrote Nofsinger in an official explanation. The email went to 70+ people on the list contains nothing slanderous or inflammatory; I believe people took it as such (the fact that there aren’t 70 negative reviews would support that assumption). Sure, it’s a tad unprofessional but if you knew Matt personally as I do, you would know it was nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek jibe at most. And for that, I apologise on behalf of High Voltage Software.” - Eric Nofsinger, Chief Creative Officer at High Voltage
So what does the writer for the inflammatory review have to say? What about the Joystiq writer who wrote the review?
Well clearly this guy’s been racking up the air miles….The new Conduit 2 trailer showcases many of the environments you’ll get to visit in SEGA/High Voltage Software’s upcoming Wii shooter. Locations range from the Bermuda Triangle (!) to Siberia, and from a city in the Amazon rainforest to the Southwest United States. And let’s not forget England and China.
I’m finding it hard to tell if all of these locations are from the single player campaign, or if we’re also getting a glimpse at the game’s multiplayer maps, since this trailer’s as frustratingly vague as the past few have been.
Conduit 2 releases exclusively for the Wii on April 19th in North America; Australian and European dates are the 21st and the 22nd, respectively.
High Voltage is best known for their game engine for the Wii called Quantum3. Quantum3 was billed to bring pixel shaders and other HD console effects to the weaker Nintendo Wii hardware.
The guys at the studio have been asked if they could still push the Wii further:
“Yes. It definitely can, but you need a lot of experience with the hardware. I would say that Conduit 2, in many ways, is not really achieving the system’s full potential. Every time we do a game on Wii, we find little advancements we can make with the hardware that we didn’t know we could do with the last game.” – High VoltageArt Director MattCorso
Matt Corso of High Voltage stated that if they get a chance to make a 3rd Conduit game that it will push the Wii further. I hear a ton of talk about how the Wii can do so much, but do you believe there is a ton of horse power still left?
Today IGN has posted a trailer for Conduit 2, this one giving us a (somewhat surprisingly) brief look at the multiplayer modes, likely one of game’s bigger selling points. The trailer’s only about a minute long, but you can hit the break for some of what you can expect from the game’s multiplayer if you don’t want to watch it for yourself.
I know that The Conduit didn’t light up the charts like we all here thought it was going to do. But does that mean it was a failure? Nope, according to the team, if Conduit 2 sells the same number of copies as the first, it will be a success.
“That’s a misnomer in our industry. By and large people look at it and they say, if it’s not a million unit seller it’s a flop. That’s preposterous. If I make this bottle of Coke, and let’s say there’s 10 pence of materials here – coloured water, sugar and a glass bottle – if I sell this for a pound, I’ve just made money. Whatever the product is, if it costs you less to make than you end up making off the thing, you make profit. As long as the profit margin is strong enough, then you get enough of a return and you can make another. The biggest misconception of consumers of the industry is that million-unit benchmark. When you really look at the number of games a year that sell over a million units, it’s almost none of them. If that really were the minimum bar for a success, the game industry would be gone in under a year. There are thousands of games released that don’t sell a million units. There are like 10 games a year that sell over a million units. But if you can sell a few hundred thousand copies – 300, 400 thousand copies, which is in the range that we did – we made money off that. We did well. Although it was a considerable budget for a Wii title, it was not the kind of budget a Gears of War had. If we’d spent the Gears of War money, then we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion now. We’d be back working on something else. We’d always like to make money. Everyone would. But if we sold the exact same number of units as we sold with Conduit 1, we’d be high-fiving each other. But I think we’ll do better.” – High Voltage’s Eric Nofsinger
Good for the team, should be able to make its money back at at least.
If you already made up your mind that you are going to purchase Conduit 2, you probably won’t want to see the first 30 minutes of the game. But if you are on the fence about it, because you hated the AI and level design on the first one, this is for you.
High Voltage Software confirmed they were doing 3DS work during an interview SEGAbits conducted on behalf of Conduit Portal during PAX. Apparently it’s a Conduit project!
This is what High Voltage chief creative officer Eric Nofsinger had to say to EuroGamer:
“We are very much pulling over this engine and this technology on this new hardware. We’re still early. The resolution is definitely lower, but the screen real estate is smaller so it balances out. We’ve not had a lot of severe optimisation yet, but we’re going to be able to have something very close to this [Conduit 2] on the 3DS probably by GDC. We’ve got environments from this already up and running around. You can shoot, you can select different weapons and you can see enemies. It runs pretty darn well with full 3D and everything. I would guess that SEGA will be interested. I had a nice conversation just yesterday with their head of artist and repertoire. At DICE, the conference in Vegas that’s coming up, we’ll probably have some more chats. We’re very excited about that system and what we’re going to be be able to do on it. The work we’ve done with the Wii, we’re going to have a serious leg up. It’s quite different than developing for the DS and the DSi. Developers like us that have more of a console experience on GameCube and on Wii are going to be able to take advantage of the 3D better and they’re going to be able to do a little bit more with the hardware than people who are coming at it from the straight DS angle and used to doing more 2D, or very limited 3D, kinds of things. There’s nothing like it at all (on 3DS). We can be a shining star on this.” – High Voltage’s Eric Nofsinger
It is currently unknown whether this is a port or an all new game. Here’s hoping HVS is able to take the lessons learned from Conduit and it’s upcoming sequel and apply it to this.