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Interviews

World in Conflict

Massive Entertainment grilled about its potential contender for the RTS of 2007

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The storyline's been penned by Larry Bond. What difference is that making to the overall World in Conflict experience?

Walfisz: Larry Bond helped in getting the setting and storyline as realistic as possible! We really wanted the turn of events to feel probable, even though they're (fortunately) purely speculative. Larry Bond's writing has done that, and we think that a lot of players will enjoy our single-player campaign!

Lately we have also been working with Ed Zuckerman, an Emmy-award winning Hollywood writer (Law & Order, Star Trek, Miami Vice), and his additions to dialogue and character development are awesome.

WiC is a Games for Windows branded title. What benefits does that bring to the table?

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Walfisz: It gives us a lot of support to reach out to many PC gamers out there. Not all who enjoy PC gaming are hardcore, hardware-tweaking tech gods, so that's a really good thing for the average strategy gamer! Accessibility is key to a game like WIC, and Microsoft has a vast reach.

You're a developer that's been working on RTS games for some time now. Do you ever feel the urge to dip into a different genre, say a Massive Entertainment FPS or RPG?

Walfisz: First of all we have some unfinished business within RTS, and we think that we're really pushing the envelope with World in Conflict! Our goal is to make WIC unforgettably good, and we're constantly doing our best to make it perfect.

But yes, the team consists almost completely of gamers, many of whom enjoy a lot of other genres than RTS, so it's very possible that a future project will not follow our traditional line of games. We have a couple of guys who are experimenting with some weird game ideas, but to be honest, we're still so knee deep in WIC that we'll have to reveal our secrets some other day.

Games for Windows - Live is introducing cross-platform play between PC and Xbox 360. Is that something that excites you as a developer? Can we expect to see a Massive Entertainment game that supports this?

Walfisz: For the right game cross-platform play will be very exciting, but it's not something we're planning for WIC. Right now we just want to get the game out on PC and start having fun matches with our fans.

EA has seen success with Battle for Middle-earth on console, and of course is bringing Command & Conquer to Xbox 360 and then there's Halo Wars... What are you thoughts/opinions on the RTS genre on console machines?

Walfisz: It's great to see high-profile RTS games coming out for consoles but I still don't think that there's an RTS game that has really convinced a good part of console gamers that it's a fun genre. What the consoles need is a game that proves that strategy gameplay really works with the gamepad.

Before Halo, everybody said you couldn't play FPS games on console, but now look at the market! I don't think this threshold has been crossed yet with strategy games. It's something we've been thinking on a lot over the years, and maybe someone we'll get it right in the future. We'll see...

Finally, what's been your best moment to date from playtesting of World in Conflict?

Walfisz: One of the defining moments happened in Germany, before the game was greenlit by Sierra; we tested an early prototype of World In Conflict. The test leader (behind a mirror-glass wall) said that we shouldn't expect too much from the gamers, because "Germans are pretty picky". The test moved ahead, and the guys in the room were getting more and more excited. They started shouting and laughing, and then one of them dropped the Nuke (a really silly version, in hindsight, but still...) and all of them just let go of their keyboards and cheered!

The test leader still said not to expect too much from the scores, but as they came in one by one, we had 10s and 9s all across the board. I felt this tremendous joy, pride and anticipation! I knew it right then, that we would get the greenlight, and that we were about to embark on a really, really great project. And here we are today, almost two years later.

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