Master Of The Galaxy: Stardock's Brad Wardell
November 15, 2006 Page 5 of 5
GS: Have you read about the XNA for the 360?
BW: We're very familiar with it actually. I think it's a great concept but I don't think it's quite ready for prime time yet. It's C# and I'm kind of a coward when it comes to gaming technology. I really want someone to prove it before I say I want to make a major C# game. Remember those first Java games?
GS: Oh yeah, they were bloated.
BW: Precisely. There was that political one, years ago, like Politica or something like that. It was a slow Java game with a lot of problems. I don't want to make an Xbox 360 game and it be really pokey.
GS: Well, Marble Blast Ultra is out on the 360 and it was created in Torque.
BW: How about a MAME emulator for the Xbox 360?
GS: That would be great, but you might run into some licensing issues.
BW: Just the emulator, not the ROMs.
GS: Have you guys considered something for the Live Arcade?
BW: Yeah, we have, I'll tell you what game we've been thinking about. We have a co-op working on that right now. Did you have a Commodore 64?
BW: Did you ever play a game called Paradroid?
GS: You know, it sounds familiar but I can't place it.
BW: It was this game where you were a robot and had to wipe out all the other robots. You could take over the bodies of other robots which brought up a little puzzle game. It was a lot of fun, and I'd love to see that on the 360. That's basically our test project.
GS: It couldn't be too terribly hard to do.
BW: Oh, no. I think there's even a Flash version. We're not making that game, but that style of game.
GS: As a developer, what do you think about the XNA?
BW: Oh, I love it. I'm not a real game developer; I'm a gamer who learned how to program so that I could make the games that I wanted to play. I figure the more they open it up for more people to make games, the better off we all are.
GS: Even if there are hundreds of bad projects, there's bound to be a few great ones.
BW: Oh, sure, let the best rise to the top and you'll get some great ideas. We're so starving for ideas. This is a whole different topic, but the game industry is so stratified right now that it takes a guy like Will Wright, who's been around for five thousand years, to come up with something like Spore. Everyone says "Oh wow, that's so cool!" In the old days, we had a game as innovative as Spore coming out every year. Nowadays, they're so few and far between that we're starving for innovation. Something like Xbox Live Arcade can open up the doors for the next generation of game developers who will come up with clever stuff.
GS: It's been a long time since Ultima 7.
BW: I have bad memories of Ultima 7 because of the inventory bug. However, when they fixed it in Ultima 7 part 2, it was a great game. Oh, or Ultima 4 with the Avatar concept. I loved that.
GS: Then there's Ultima Underworld.
BW: Oh yeah! When was the last time you saw an Ultima Underworld type game? Did the market disappear?
GS: Something like Oblivion is about as close as you get lately.
BW: Oblivion sold over a million copies; you'd think someone would see that and want to do another Underworld.
GS: I've heard that the new game, Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, has a kind of Underworld feel to it.
BW: Yeah, that one's done in the Unreal Engine and it's like a more action oriented Oblivion.
GS: Like Hexen?
BW: Yeah, like that. You remember things like Archon? Where's the new Archon? I can't even find a new Battle Chess for that matter? Think of what people could do with Battle Chess nowadays. We could really have them sock it to each other. People will argue that they'll no longer make it at retail, but what about on Xbox Live Arcade?
GS: Well, yeah, look at PopCap.
BW: Exactly. I'm looking for something a little more than PopCap, but nothing that's huge. Something like Loom. Remember Loom?
GS: Oh yeah. I love LucasArts.
BW: How hard would it be to do a Loom-type game now? It's a little more than you can play on a website, but you can see people having fun playing a modern day Loom on the 360.
GS: Sam and Max are still popular. The Longest Journey 2 did pretty well.
BW: That's what I'm hoping for. I want to see a lot of young developers who can develop things on their PC, burn it to a CD and play in on the Xbox 360. I can think you can make the Xbox Live Arcade into something like that. They can send it through an approval process. The 360 still uses the old console model of: the publisher has to pay Microsoft for every copy sold. Maybe they can make it to where the submission process to Live Arcade is fairly seamless.
GS: Something like that could open up a whole new world of development.
BW: I certainly hope so.
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