Ubisoft's Michael De Plater tells us what went right and what went wrong.
VideoGamer.com: The first game felt, to me, like a proof of concept, like it laid the groundwork for the voice command technology, and that it could then lead onto something else.
MDP: For that team it was their first project of that type as well. It was interesting going to E3 this year and seeing Kaos Studios, who had done Frontlines, which is obviously okay, I think it might have been the same review as us, high 70s, nearly 80s, get lots of 8/10s, good but not quite there. But then Homefront, they obviously look like they’ve learned from that and pushed everything up a gear. And the same with Splash Damage. Enemy Territory – it was good, but maybe not fabulous, and now Brink looks… And I think we’re in a really similar situation to those two guys. Exactly what you’ve said – we’ve built the groundwork and got the experience, and then you can take that to push it to the next level.
VideoGamer.com: Is voice command something you’re 100 per cent convinced is the right way to go with RTS on console?
MDP: It’s good for EndWar because EndWar is a tactical game where you’re giving orders to troops. So it works really well for that. I don’t know how much it would work for a more traditional RTS with base building and that more precision. Something like Natal is obviously interesting as well. You can imagine the Minority Report thing of pointing at here, and combined with voice command. The thing with Natal, obviously everyone talks about the camera, but it’s got the microphone as well. So, you really could do some fun stuff.
VideoGamer.com: Maybe we could see some kind of Natal integration with the next EndWar?
MDP: The other game’s Ubisoft got on the way is RUSE, which was at E3. They’re playing that on the touch table, so of course the interface that they’re using on the touch table, it’s in principle the same sort of gestures that work on a surface, would work on a camera. To take the principles, okay I select here, I say where I’m going - you just mount it vertically and it’s I select here and that’s where I’m going. I think that’s potentially interesting as well.
VideoGamer.com: Finally, if you’ve got one stand out memory from your time working on EndWar, even if it’s just a moment, what is it?
MDP: It’s definitely the team and the guys in China. When we arrived and we were getting to know everyone, we sat down to play Dawn of War. I’d been playing the game for 19 seconds and one of the engineers turned round and looked at my screen and just started pissing himself laughing, because I was obviously incredibly slow. These guys, they hadn’t made an RTS before, but they were so hardcore and knew so much about it and were so smart. So it was really the experience of meeting with them and working with the team in China.
EndWar is out now for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, DS and PSP.