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Brink: 'I still don't understand why people make the games they make'

Splash Damage CEO talks Brink DLC, Doom 4 and Quake...

Not only is Splash Damage's free-running FPS blurring the boundaries between multiplayer and single-player, it's also smashing the industry stereotype of publishers teasing gamers with numerous delays by actually releasing Brink early.

We could only suggest magic as a possible explanation and so, at a Bethesda showcase in Utah earlier this month we took our interview slot with Splash Damage's CEO and game director Paul Wedgwood as an opportunity to what sorcery was at use in the studio.

With our minds turning to what the future held in store for Brink post-release, we also questioned the man in charge on DLC and the possibility of Brinkish sequels in the future.

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Wedgwood also gave us his impressions on the British gaming industry, what studios on our shores need to be doing to survive in an increasingly treacherous market and the possibility of Splash Damage getting involved in two other franchises close to the studio; Doom and Quake

It's actually not been long since we had a pretty extensive chat...

Yeah, at the London event. London was PS3 and now you've played on the 360s. A big goal, and we've always claimed this was going to happen, but of course no one ever knew whether it was real or not, was whether we'd achieve visual and gameplay parity across all three platforms and we've done it.

Setting aside a little bit of anti-aliasing, we've done it. But I think everyone knew it was going to be impossible to get exactly the same amount of aliasing on the three things.

We're basically all fully certified, we passed our first submission, which for a company that's never made a console game before we were quite surprised about and we're coming out a week early, which is good.

Yeah that's a refreshing change for a delay-laden industry...

Yeah well I can say now with hindsight that I knew they'd always do it. As a PC developer we're always obsessed with technology and hardware and stuff and we take it very seriously. We've always written the majority of the engine that we're using ourselves even if we it's id Software's technology. With their blessing we've always gone so deep under the hood with our tinkerings and rewriting stuff and quite often they would help us out; in ETQW Jon Carmack wrote some pseudo-code that did a kind of top-down Google Map projection thing and we took that and applied it to a 3D mesh and started doing the mega-texture work and there were all these things that we would look at with technology and it's really been no different for Brink so we've ended uprewriting everything that we did for ETQW again since we worked on the Doom 3 code all that time ago.

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The Steamworks package for Brink has been announced now, when Steam comes to PS3 will Brink make use of that too?

I don't know, honestly I've no idea. I haven't been that involved in the Steamworks integration. I don't know anything about the functionality except that we definitely have dedicated servers, I looked at the min spec and I'm happy with it, it's not a bad bar. The recommended system spec is pretty good. I would have preferred it to have been a little bit lower, we always would prefer it to be. You might find that it actually performs a bit better below that system specification.

Do you know yet how you're going to support Brink post release?

Clearly we do but I don't want to make any promises. This is such a big thing to focus on where you release to manufacture and you get ready for a huge player count coming on at the same time. We can globally push out subtle gameplay challenges to thousands of attributes for the game, which is going to be important for us to think about as well and I think once we're past that we'll start talking about what's going to happen beyond Brink 1 if there's anything for us to say.
We don't do anything without continuity in mind so any time we do anything at all we always think about where it's going, how it might evolve and so on. So of course we give a lot of thought to that stuff.

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