SEGA Talk #109: Conduit 2 (2011)

We dive back into the conspiracy world of The Conduit, with High Voltage Studio’s sequel Conduit 2. We dive deep into the conspiracies that shaped the game, the changes made and look at the bizarre cliff hanger for the sequel.

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High Voltage: “We harbor no ill will towards Sega”

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.

The Weekly Five: The Most Disappointing SEGA Games of 2011

2011 was an unbelievably great year for SEGA…for the most part. Even the best game company will always have its strings of hits and misses. However, last year I could only really think of one bad stinker. One starring a certain Norse god you will read about later on. With that in mind, I decided to comprise a list of SEGA games that disappointed me in some way. Games that while not outright bad (except one), did not live up to their expectations. If you find a certain favorite of yours on the list, do not take it personally, as this is mainly coming from my own personal view. Read on to find what SEGA games left me a little flat.

Review: Conduit 2

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?

Drama: High Voltage & Joystiq won’t get along

: 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 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?

Conduit 2 – Launch Trailer

Yep, it’s the Conduit 2 launch trailer. ‘Best Wii Shooter of 2011’ so says the trailer.
Apparently it’s still a race if you’re the only one running.

In all fairness it actually looks quite good! The first game didn’t really appeal to me, but this one looks much better.

SEGA releases today: Conduit 2, Sonic 2 and Virtua Tennis 4 demo

SEGA and High Voltage’s sequel to The Conduit is finally hitting store shelves after many delays. The Wii shooter faces stiff competition today from Valve’s Portal 2 sequel and the new Mortal Kombat video game. Europe and Australia get the game on the 22nd.

Playstation 3 owners now get to play Virtua Tennis 4 with the exclusive world tour demo. The demo last week was exclusive to PSN Plus subscribers, this week it’s available for all PSN users. The demo clocks in at 878 MB.

Talking about PSN plus exclusives, Sonic 2 hits PSN for all users this week. Like the Virtua Tennis 4 demo, this was exclusive and free for Playstation Plus users for one week. The game will set you back a cool $4.99. Small price to pay for the best Sonic game ever.

Check out Conduit 2 split screen gameplay

Video 2 | Video 3

Something that this generation doesn’t do enough of is split screen gaming. I used to love doing this back ‘in the day.’ I know, we have online now, but there are still those days that you just want to play with someone you actually know in real life.

Thankfully, the guys at High Voltage aren’t scared to add this feature into their upcoming Wii exclusive, Conduit 2.

[via: GoNintendo]

New Conduit 2 trailer shows off international environments

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.

[Source: IGN]

High Voltage says they can still push the Wii

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 Voltage Art Director Matt Corso

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?

[Source: NowGamer]

New Conduit 2 Trailer Shows Off Multiplayer Modes

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.

SEGA Press Event Happening in a Few Weeks

From GoNintendo comes a bit of news regarding an upcoming SEGA press event. Little is said of the event, except that it will happen in a few weeks time and that reps from High Voltage and Creative Assembly will be in attendance. I assume it’ll be at SEGA’s offices in California, though I never should assume as it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me” (joke).

Should be exciting to hear more of Virtua Tennis 4, as well as the others, however what I’m really hoping for are some reveals. Sonic Anniversary, Sonic 4 Episode 2 or Phaantasy Star Online 2 would all be great. Alan Pritchard did say to expect two Sonic game announcements in the early part of this year. More details to come, obviously.

[Source: GoNintendo and The Sonic Stadium]

High Voltage: Conduit made profit, don’t need to sell a million

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.

[Source: GoNintendo]

Conduit 2: The first 30 minutes

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.

Check it out, it might change your mind.

[Source: GoNintendo]

Conduit 2 Hands on Preview

Note: This preview was actually written after PAX 2010, not the recent Conduit 2 community event. As a result, the build I played would now be considered outdated. The only part of the preview this really effects is my opinion on the  frame rate, but nevertheless keep this mind. I actually have a few articles from PAX that never went up. You’ll be seeing the other article soon.

The original Conduit garnered a lot of press for being the first serious attempt at a Wii first person shooter. At the end of the day, despite all the hype surrounding it, The Conduit garnered only a good review score average. The game was criticized for being a very generic corridor shooter, with not much beyond typical running and gunning. With Conduit 2, High Voltage Software has set its sights on correcting all of the flaws of the original.

More after the break.