Interviews: High Voltage Software - Conduit 2
Posted by Jon Wahlgren
The sequel's producer talks new multiplayer features, weapons and more
When it comes to Conduit 2, High Voltage Software's sequel to their debut Wii first-person shooter from 2009, we know a couple of things: that stuff is going to blow up and it will feature a whole host of new multiplayer bells and whistles, including a new co-operative mode.
Inquisitive minds that we are, we got a few queries in with Conduit 2 producer Josh Olson to find out more about the additions to multiplayer, Agent Ford's expanded arsenal, whether MotionPlus is in the cards and more.
Nintendo Life: Is the name officially just Conduit 2 and not The Conduit 2? Why the cut?
Josh Olson: Nice catch! It’s Conduit 2. The ‘THE’ got a bit clunky – too much of a mouthful – and we always referred to it as Conduit 2 internally. It flows better and just kinda stuck.
When did development on the sequel begin?
We started up pretty much right after the first title shipped – June of 2009.
So what’s Agent Ford up to this time around? Last we heard from him he was in quite the pickle. Does the story pick up immediately after the end of the first game?
Yes. And he’s still in a pickle. The story picks up right after the first left off, with Ford traveling through the conduit in pursuit of Adams in his quest to rid the planet of these alien puppet-masters. It’s gripping stuff.
Are all of the same voice actors returning for part deux?
We’re still working out the details for our voice actors, and have a few new parts to cast as well.
The multiplayer component sounds like it’s going to be getting pretty beefed up with the addition of customizable classes and perks, not to mention new modes and maps. What types of perks can players expect? Are the classes geared more towards custom loadouts or do they instead encompass traditional squad classes like medics and engineers?
We have around 30 suit upgrades currently implemented and continue to play around with different ideas. They run the gamut. The purpose of the class system is two-fold – we want players to be able to quickly switch to an alternate class with player-defined weapons and upgrades during a match, saving the hassle of navigating menus, as well as the ability to craft specific characters to match different play styles. If I wanted to be a medic, for example, I’d probably pick Reverse Damage (Shooting allies heals them), Field Medicine (Doubles revive times), and Robot Legs (Unlimited sprint) among my perks. If I wanted to be a tank, I’d pick Heavy Armor (Damage reduction at a cost to movement speed), Ammo Belt (Two extra magazines), and Improved Bullet Damage. Not happy with my current class? Switch it in the Spectate Screen or Pause Menu and respawn with the new class and its associated weapons and upgrades.
Tell us a little more about the new co-op mode.
Team Invasion mode allows up to four players (either online or locally via splitscreen) to take on AI opponents and complete a variety of objectives across a variety of maps. While its focus is on cooperative gameplay, it’s also fun to have that competitive element among your friends and see who the better player is by tying it into our scoring and currency systems.
What are some of the new weapons and how do they stand out?
We have all of the FPS staples already in place from Conduit 1 – the pistol, the SMG, the assault rifle, the shotgun, the rocket launcher – so we focused on more creative, fun weapons in Conduit 2 by really embracing the sci-fi. We’ve added a true sniper rifle in the form of the Phase Rifle. It also can be tuned to shoot through walls. Great fun – and our designers are having even more fun trying to balance it! We’ll get there. We have a deployable turret that can be used to auto-target and fire remotely, or the player can take more control and engage targets directly through the weapon’s camera. There’s also the Vortex Blaster, which creates a shield in front of the player that catches incoming projectiles, be they bullets, shotgun pellets, grenades, or rockets, and suspends them in the air in front of the player. You can then fire them back on your attacker – there’s nothing really as satisfying as getting a kill using your attacker’s own ammunition. There are more still that we’re not quite ready to talk about yet. We’ve also revisited all of the Conduit 1 weapons and have added an alt-fire functionality to each – the TPC Launcher from Conduit 1, for example, now can be set to fire proximity mines in addition to the point detonation canisters it fired in the first game.
You’ve previously mentioned that the All-Seeing Eye could’ve been implemented a little better the first time around and that was one of the things you’d like to build on. What are some of your ideas for improving this?
The ASE didn’t quite come together in The Conduit. It was used for both gameplay as well as for exploration. It’s much more heavily involved in the exploration aspects this time around and is similar to the visor in Metroid Prime. Coupled with our Data Log, there are a lot more conspiracy objects and story elements, as well as items that can be found to open up unlockables for both single and multiplayer.
One of the cooler things about the first game was the complete customization of controls and interface. Will players still have all of these options, maybe more, perhaps fewer?
We don’t plan on messing with a good thing. It is staying intact with the addition of a few more things for players to play around with.
Will you be supporting MotionPlus this time around? If so, in what capacity?
We played around with it a lot during the development of Conduit 1 – and probably said a bit too much as we ultimately decided to not include it into the first game. We’re still evaluating it for Conduit 2, but any integration wouldn’t be mandatory and would serve only to supplement the core experience. We’re first and foremost a shooter with a focus on keeping the pointer on the screen – we’re not considering any melee weapons that would make use of its added fidelity. Buy Red Steel 2 if that’s what you’re looking for – it’s a great game that really deserves to do well. We’ve been playing it a bunch around the office.
What release window are you shooting for?
The Grinder has gone multiplatform; will Conduit 2 follow suit or remain Wii-exclusive?
We’re staying Wii-exclusive. We like the Wii.
What’s going on with Animales de la Muerte? Is that still in development for WiiWare?
We’re not quite ready to talk about Animales yet. Stay tuned.
Is there anything else you feel is important or particularly cool that we haven’t touched on?
The latest feature to come online that we’re having a lot of fun with is destroyable armor on enemies. You can shoot off helmets and armor – it’s not only integrated into the gameplay, but it’s aesthetically kick-ass to boot. As a fun little aside, helmets stick around for four seconds after you shoot them off unless you shoot them again, which causes their counter to reset – it’s a fun little game shooting them around to keep them from disappearing. Hmmm…I should talk to the designers about making that an Achievement. It’s the little things, really.
Thanks to Josh for his time.