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Enemy Territory: Quake Wars Pt. 2

Let slip the stroggs of war!

Following up the first part of our interview with Splash Damage boss Paul Wedgwood is - surprise, surprise - part two, in which he discusses the PC games market and explains why we won't see cross-platform play in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars any time soon.

And if you missed our hands-on impressions with the latest Stroggified shooter then head on over via this link - it's possibly the biggest multiplayer game you'll play this year...

Five years ago you probably wouldn't have seen this type of game come over to consoles - let alone a large part of the audience opting for the console version over PC. Why do you think we've got to that point now?

Wedgwood: Well I think there are two or three reasons. Firstly, there have traditionally been a whole bunch of games that didn't succeed on consoles - real-time strategy games are a good example. With the Xbox I think that was one of the first consoles to have a really good first-person shooter interface where you could use your analogue controller reasonably to control your character. Until then third-person games were infinitely more successful.

The second thing is first-person shooters are generally very immersive, but for the field of view to work correctly you usually sit with a keyboard and a mouse very close to the screen, and when you sit back from the screen in a FPS you can get the sense of it being disjointed. Again, with consoles moving to high resolutions and people getting bigger and better screens for playing their console games on, that experience isn't destroyed by your distance from your television. I think that's helped a lot as well.

Then the third part of course is that things like Xbox Live have made it possible to have multiplayer combat on console games, whereas before you needed to know how to solder your own modem cable to have any hope of playing something against a friend.

A lot of those problems have gone away; it's easier to get a console that you can get online and play online and it's easier to control your character in a shooter than it was previously.

Why did you decide to opt out of including PC and console cross-platform play?

Wedgwood: Firstly, it was never a focus of the game's design. We didn't start off a couple of years ago thinking 'we have to have players on the PC play against players on the Xbox', for example. There's a natural limit of resources we can focus on the game. At Splash Damage we had the feature set and those are the things that we focused on since we started.

There are lots of other things we could include right? We could have a racing game rally mode but in the case of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, at this stage in console development I think there's too much disparity between the player on a analogue controller and the player on the mouse and keyboard on a PC.

The guy on the analogue controller has an advantage over the PC with vehicle control because he doesn't have the 'on-off' acceleration and steering, and the guy on the keyboard and mouse is able to turn faster and slightly more accurately. So our thought was that at this point it might be a bit premature with the communities generally happy playing amongst themselves and having a level playing field. That was the general reason.

Would you say you're a bit of a mouse and keyboard champion then?

Wedgwood: I've seen professional Halo players on analogue controllers and seen them do amazing things that I haven't seen people do on a mouse and keyboard, whilst shooting and running around and stuff. So I don't think that one of them is necessarily better or worse, it just kind of depends on how the game's setup.

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