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Getting Hard Boiled: Midway Chicago's Mike Bilder on Stranglehold
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Getting Hard Boiled: Midway Chicago's Mike Bilder on Stranglehold

October 31, 2007 Article Start Page 1 of 5 Next

Recently, Gamasutra had a chance to speak with Mike Bilder, studio head of Midway Chicago. The most important project at that studio is Stranglehold, which launched in early September for Xbox 360 and PC and, finally, the release of the game on PlayStation 3 this month.

The discussion, which took place at a recent launch event for the game, takes in the evolution of that title, the difficulties getting it running on the PlayStation 3 hardware, and how movies and films could better influence each other, among other topics:

We were just talking about the PS3 build of Stranglehold. That was delayed a bit, right?

Mike Bilder: Yeah, a little bit.

Why did that come about?

MB: Just, technical difficulties in development, but it has a number of people dedicated to it in Chicago, and they're working hard, and I think we're going to overcome them pretty quickly.

Do you really think that it's going to be the same level as the 360? Or better? What is your take on that?

MB: I think it's going to be the same. And that's part of the reason why we're delaying it, is that we want to ensure that the quality is the same on all platforms.

The 360 was the lead SKU, right?

MB: 360 and PC, actually, were simultaneously the lead SKU.

Do you think that's part of the reason why it's been somewhat difficult? Because I've heard that if you go from PS3 to 360, if you have PS3 as the lead SKU, you have compartmentalized stuff and you're bringing it into a larger playing field. Whereas with 360 or PC as the lead, you're taking something big and breaking it into chunks.

MB: Sure. You know, it's really a tough thing to say. Hindsight's always 20/20, but we've kept all of the builds in a similar development state all along. What we found, though, when we tried to get some of it game-ready and fitting on the disc and fitting in memory, in the end it was an easier endeavor on two of the SKUs and it was a more difficult endeavor on one of them. Just, to be honest, the hardware differences in memory and processor on the PS3 vs. traditional PC and 360, it makes it a challenge, and it's representative. Everybody's having a challenge in the industry right now.

It's pretty ubiquitous, yeah. What do you think you could have done differently from the start, to alleviate that stuff? Because you said, hindsight...

MB: I think a lot of people and a lot of focus as far as games that we have internally that are going to be multi-SKU are trying to put the PS3 out in front now, make that your lead SKU. And in the same way I think a lot of people put the PS2 as their lead SKU in the last hardware generation, and then Xbox came after.

The difficulty you run into there, at least in the last generation, was that the Xbox was considerably more powerful than the PS2, and you found that people didn't always take advantage of the hardware. Whereas with the PS3 and the 360, it's certainly more of a level playing field, so I don't think it's necessarily a negative to put the PS3 first. But it does help mitigate some of that risk in framerate, memory, technology, just the hardware differences.


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