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It sort of feels a little like a god game, plus tower defense, plus some other stuff. Did you actively take bits of different existing genres and stitch them together, or was it a natural evolution of your own ideas?
EC: We did not decide we want to take something like tower defense or take something like a god game; indeed, it is the opposite that happened. When we say there is a bit of tower defense, or a bit of god game, it is to deliver clues about the game. To give some context. Historically, at the beginning, it was not a god game.
What was it at that time?
EC: At the origin, it was a strategy game, but there was a background with the world, with a lot of erosion, some knowledge to preserve, and you are are giving power to your people. This is intact from the beginning, but the way to express it in gameplay has changed over time.
As I already said to you and as I said at GDC, the fact arose that the simulation was really malleable -- it drove us to direct interaction with the terrain. That's how the avatar, the kind of spirit of the tribe or whatever, has been input into the universe.
Then the default paths of the events -- the tsunami, the volcanoes -- that was in the original concept, to have events, to anticipate events, to have uncertainty regarding that there may be events, and of course to have cycling events. That was in the original concept, but at the beginning I didn't think about tower defense or the timeline.
It feels to me like the gameplay arose from the simulation you had created, and you were thinking, "Okay, we have this simulation. How does it become something the player interacts with?" It seems like it arose from there; is that correct?
EC: Yes, it is correct, but the simulation drove us to say, "Okay, how can we create more interesting gameplay to encompass the simulation?" Because we had erosion, but before the player could interact directly it was like something in the background. It was regarding the fantastic playable simulation, it was a step back.
Let's go to a metaphor. It's like the simulation was... you see the wall behind this window? Imagine that, maybe, there is a beautiful painting, and you can only see part of it. That was before the directed interaction. Then you break this wall, it makes a big window on this place for the picture.
So, then, the simulation that you created, the tools that you created for this -- it's kind of crazy to make that for one game. After this game is released, do you own the technology, or does it go back to Ubisoft so they may use it in Assassin's Creed or something like that?
EC: This technology is the property of Ubisoft because we created From Dust, but... They could use it for something else, but we are required to use it for From Dust.
What about multiplayer?
EC: Multiplayer definitely would work; cooperative or competitive gameplay. But it's a challenging part of the design -- not about the ideas, but more how to do the interaction. For example, on the same screen, or how to have the have the multiplayer ready for two people who are playing at a distance. It's a big thing.
Right now, we have a lot of work to make the solo; it took [a long time] to make all the foundation sorted, so regarding the project we can't do that. If we do that, again, it will be released more six months later. We must stay focused on the very precise elements. It will be for later, definitely; it is a must-have.