Wednesday, February 11, 2009

QuidProKuo EndWar's Community Developer

Sometimes we are happy with Ubisoft, sometimes we are upset with Ubisoft. That is how it goes with the relationship between gamer and developer. But, I must say we are all very happy with the hard work and dedication that Ubisoft Shanghai's Endwar Community Developer has put in to make our experience more enjoyable. We would all like to say thank you and keep up the great work!

I do apologize for the tardiness of this interview, we all know what I have been going through trying to give endwarboards.com a chance to host this content. All in all, I think this is a much better venue. I hope you all enjoy this interview and I hope to be able to interview other developers at Ubisoft in the future. For all of you that had questions and don't see them here, I apologize, but QPK could only answer certain questions.

A lot of players are concerned with how the Theater of War works and have many suggestions about how the Primary Front Rule operates. Can we expect any changes to the Primary Front Rule?

"It took a long time to get the TOW rules to where they are now, the last thing the team wants to do is to change a rule and break the entire system. However, we do know that the TOW rules are very complex and are keeping this in mind for future projects."

Where can we find a rule by rule explanation of the way Theater of War works? Can you explain the Primary Front rule in detail?

"There is already a TOW primer on the forums at Ubi.com"


What were some of the surprises and challenges the Theater of War gave the developers after the release?

"We didn’t expect the wars to last so long or for there to be so many deadlocks."

What goals, pre-launch, did the development team have to determine if the game was a success? Do they feel they met these goals?

"The goal was to make the first strategy game truly designed for consoles and revolutionize the way strategy game are played. In this respect, we’d like to think of EndWar as a success. We received a lot of positive feedback from the players and the press alike, as well as praise for trying something truly new and innovative."

We totally agree with this as a whole. We love how the controls work. We are really hoping that there will be a sequel, and we think that a better marketing campaign will bring more players to the game. Is it set in stone that EndWar will not have a successor? We really enjoyed the voice command RTS. We would like more of it. What does the future hold for EndWar?

"When we’re ready to comment there will be an official announcement."

Tom Clancy's EndWar certainly has revolutionized real time strategy game play on the console with the simple layout and voice command. What sparked these ideas and do you hope other developers will follow by Ubisoft Shanghai's example?

"We have a set of video developer diaries you can view to get your answers. You can find them on gametrailers.com. Here’s a link to the first episode (there are 10 in total). "

What are the Shanghai UbiSoft Developers working on now and next?

"Some are working on patches and post-launch support. Others have moved on to other projects."

Can we have a list of exactly what the patch will fix? We have seen many posts referring to leader board issues, units disappearing, etc., but no details.

"I was actually in the middle of compiling this list when I got this questionnaire:

Patch Notes for EndWar X360 Title Update 2 -
• Players disconnecting from a game in 1v1 Theater of War matches will no longer result in units becoming KIA (this includes the “disappearing units” issue).
• Fixed improper text translations.
• Fixes issue with Xbox Live Leader Boards inaccurately recording wins/losses.
• Fixed UI to properly display TOW victory conditions.
• “Dashboarding” players will now be credited with a loss every time they leave a game if they’re in it for more than 3 minutes.

PS3 Patch 1.03 details will come later."

We really appreciate game fixes and patches, so thank you so very much. Speaking of the players on the PS3. Does Ubisoft plan on giving PS3 players the 4v4 patch, and if so, what is the time frame?

"Yes, 4v4 will be part of the PS3 1.03 patch. I don’t have a date yet."

It seems that after you get 60 upgrades, the achievement on XBOX 360 doesn't unlock. Did you know about this?

"Yes, we know about this issue and our post-launch team is looking into it. "

That is great news, there are a lot of players out there that really strive to get every single achievement! Can we expect any new DLC regarding new units, upgrades, camo schemes or battalions in the future?

"Yes, there is more DLC planned."

How exciting! We really enjoy the option of replays. Does the development team plan on expanding the controls over the replays?

"No."

Fair enough. As you know this is a huge topic of discussion amongst the community. How did the development team miss that the ease of unit killing would push players away from this game in the incredibly huge numbers it did? Some people have recommended to increase the HP of a downed unit as to not make it SO easy to kill a legendary unit. Why have some other community games, like the Halo series, have nothing resembling perma-killing units, but we do? Could it be that is why they have hundreds of thousands, and even millions of player and we have less than 5,000 that play per week? Perma-killing is important as it refreshes the game, but it's too easy as compared to the time and psychic engery placed into the ranking-up.

"A lot of choices were made as a result of the private beta that we held. I can’t go into more details as this is more of a decision made by the lead designers and the Creative Director."

(I am going to look into an interview with the Creative Director.)

Why is Tom Clancy's EndWar only set in the Atlantic theater? Why doesn't it involve the whole world? I mean, we can only fight on half of real American territory, as well as only half of Russia. I can understand the game play issues involved in having the large amount of territories, but how about having the next war spread out over the Pacific, or maybe the whole northern hemisphere? Because as it is now, this "World War 3" seems a little contained, as you can't fight across the whole world, or at least all of America and Russia. Where is China in all of this?

"Really this is a question best-suited for someone like Michael de Plater, the Creative Designer on EndWar to answer. That said, I do know that the team wanted to focus on one specific part of World War 3 for EndWar and potentially explore other parts of WW3 in the future."

(I am also going to look into an interview with Michael de Plater.)

I hope that ends up turning out to come to fruition. If you could go back to the drawing board but only change one thing about Tom Clancy's EndWar, what would you change and why?

"Please keep in mind that I work on the community end and that this is my personal opinion: I’d have liked to have added a bit more depth, as a military enthusiast I’d have liked to have seen things be a bit more realistic, and a bit deeper as far as tactical options go."

As a Marine I would have to agree with you 100% on that. The game was released at the same time as Gears of War 2 and (I think it was) Left 4 Dead. There were two major releases at the same time, I know that. What impact did that have on the game sales?

"The real question is, 'How would EndWar have done if it was released on a different date?' The answer: I have no idea."

What is the forecasted impact of Halo Wars on the EW community?

"I really don’t know, only time will tell."

A lot of the dedicated EndWar players have played the demo for Halo Wars, and so far the results were: "It isn't EndWar." On a separate note, do the developers listen to the War Report? Do they read the forums? Do they read my interviews?

"Yes."

There you have it! QuidProKuo has spoken! We look forward to all the changes in the future, and we would like to say thank you one more time!

-Corporal Bruno
Grant Squad Member // Drill Instructor
Tactical Gaming
http://www.tacticalgaming.net
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