In part two of our interview with Firefly's co-founder Simon Bradbury we discuss upcoming PC and Xbox 360 dungeon crawler Dungeon Hero and look at the state of PC gaming. Read part one of the interview in which Simon talks about hardcore PC strategy title Stronghold Crusader Extreme right here.
VideoGamer.com: Moving on to Dungeon Hero, you mentioned you had the original idea four years ago and have been working on it for three years now, it seems quite a departure from what you guys normally do. Why do a hack and slash dungeon crawler?
SB: There's the idea side of it. I like seeing it from a different perspective, make it less of a cliché. There's kind of an arcade quality of the game, this goes back to the original Gauntlet co-op, I kind of like that. I like the idea of just going in there and bashing your way through. There will be a side by side co-op version of the game which will have its own unique modes, so you can play it with your mate while you're drinking beer. That visceral fighting done well. It's not just a meatheady bash bash bash. There's tactics to it, a slightly slower-paced combat in some ways but you're getting it right, there's a really good feel to it, there's not that many games like that. It's a game that I would like playing. I suppose it's quite selfish really.
We decided we would go for castle builder because there wasn't anything like it. So we wanted to go for a game that was unique in several different ways. It's got visceral arcadey combat but it's not a straight hack and slash. It's a hard one to pin down. It's kind of hack and slash, kind of dungeon crawler, bit more arcadey though. It does a dungeon from a realistic perspective. We wanted to pick an area from a hard headed business side as well as the passion that we could go in and make our own, like with Stronghold.
VideoGamer.com: The game is coming to PC and 360. Why not do a PS3 version?
SB: That will be a question for Gamecock and it's not out of the question.
VideoGamer.com: Interesting. So it will be coming out after the 360 and PC version?
SB: I'll have to refer you to my PR colleague here (points to Gamecock PR colleague).
Gamecock PR colleague: There will be more details about such topics later in the year. Speculate as much as you want.
VideoGamer.com: OK. So how are you finding the 360 then, since this is a first for you?
SB: Again this is one of the reasons why we wanted to make that transition over a period of time. While we were starting to look at it we were prototyping it, we had people on the R&D and we were bringing people in who've got 360 experience. Because obviously we've come from a PC background, we've come from an RTS background, which in some ways helps us because it allows us to bring that kind of sim side into the game. But in terms of 360 tech doing that initially is the way to go because it's not such a big jump from PC to 360. It's the same compiler, it's the same dev environment, it's DirectX...
VideoGamer.com: It's a PC...
SB: (Laughs) The challenges are technical actually. It's more about threading and cores which is on the PC anyway, so in some ways the PC is getting a bit more like consoles. The technical challenges aren't that daunting on the Xbox. Perhaps the issues are for us on the consoles are bringing out something to a console manufacturer's standard which is easier because it's fixed platform rather than the PC which is a moveable beast. But with a PC you can put something out and then patch it and patch it and patch it which everybody does and it's fine because it means you can just cram the thing right up to the very end whereas here you can't so the production is different on it actually. And obviously the gameplay is another one. That's why we're designing it, prototyping it, mocking stuff up, that's why we have fresher blood brought in.
One thing that is really interesting coming from an RTS and PC background to something like this is that you by that very nature bring a fresher look to it. Rather than saying right we're going to do a third game along the line and obviously it will be like that and it will do this, and all of a sudden you've got to really break out of a mindset, we're going oh let's try that, this is pretty cool. We try a lot of stuff. We tried some stuff and discarded it and tried some more and discarded it, but where we are right now is we've got some cool ways of doing the combat and some different ways of looking at how we can build the levels and this living breathing world that you might not have got if you've come at it from a traditional dev studio and you've done five third person action games on the trot. So I think that actually gives us a slight advantage. Let's make some mistakes on the way but it also lets us make them in innovative ways as well.