Updated Tue, May 24, 2011 by B. de la Durantaye
What would you consider some of the other fundamental elements that make the console crowd different from the PC crowd, and how do address those elements on a design level?
It’s always difficult to make generalizations about an entire community, but I think we can draw some reasonable conclusions about the console gamer community. In short, console gamers want to play games that feel like console games. Attempts to port the PC experience to the console — regardless of genre — have usually met with failure.
Consider games such as GoldenEye 007, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pikmin, Civilization Revolution, and Halo Wars. Each of these games were representative of traditional PC genres (First-Person Shooter, Real-Time Strategy, Turn-Based Strategy) that had historically failed to succeed on the console platform. These games, though, were built from the ground up for console gamers. By creating a true console experience and achieving (in some cases massive) critical and commercial success, these games helped dispel the notion that these genres “just weren’t suitable” for the console platform.
"We’re not looking to spin an existing genre; we’re instead hoping to create a new genre."
The key is to focus on the culture of the platform, rather than the technical aspects of the platform. You can connect a keyboard to a console, but the culture is voice communication. Conversely, you can connect a headset to a PC, but the culture of online communication on the PC is via keyboard. By focusing on the culture of voice communication, we can build a game experience around it, such as communication via walkie talkies, or commandeering a local radio station to broadcast to other communities.
Of course, the key cultural difference is interaction with the world through the controller, rather than a keyboard and mouse. We know it’s technically possible to create a game that can be controlled by both, but by focusing exclusively on the controller we can give players the kind of visceral, action-based character control and world interaction that console gamers expect.
To be clear, we don’t think focusing exclusively on the needs of the console gamer community results in a better game experience; but we certainly think it results in a better console game experience.
What sorts of things will we see in Undead Labs that bring a new spin to the gaming space?
We’re not looking to spin an existing genre; we’re instead hoping to create a new genre. Specifically, we want to create games that focus on survival mechanics — including securing resources, building communities with our fellow survivors, achieving short-term survival and planning for long-term sustainability, and ultimately finding ways to rebuild society. We want to bring together the best elements of open-world gaming and traditional MMO gaming on the console platform by blending sweet action with an evolving, dynamic world and true player choice and empowerment.