Q&A: Lost Planet: Extreme Condition PC producer
Lost Planet PC producer Jun Takeuchi on the challenges posed by DirectX 10, Windows and Xbox Live functionality, and more.
Capcom's Xbox 360 hit Lost Planet: Extreme Condition is about to land on PCs, and will be one of the first games to utilise DirectX 10 technology. While Lost Planet for the PC won't have any significant content additions to the 360 version, it will be optimised and enhanced for high-end PC users. We spoke to Capcom producer Jun Takeuchi about how smooth the porting process went, how significant a hurdle DirectX 10 was, and his expectations for the game's success.
GameSpot AU: Did you face any problems moving Lost Planet to DirectX 10?
Jun Takeuchi: Yes, there were plenty of obstacles we had to overcome when moving Lost Planet to DirectX 10. As far as I know, no other DirectX 10-compatible titles existed. One of the first problems was getting our hands on DX10-compatible motherboards, which were still a long way from being widely available and most of the drivers were not up to date. These things did cause some headaches when we were first getting started.
GS AU: If the game is a direct port of the 360 version, why the gap for release for the PC version?
JT: When we set out to port the 360 version of the game, the decision to make it DX10 compatible was made from the very beginning. So, factors like the time it took for DX10-compatible motherboards to reach our desired degree of market penetration, and the time it took to arrange cooperation with other companies like NVIDIA contributed to the difference between the 360 version and the PC version release dates.
GS AU: Do you feel any pressure for being one of the first DirectX 10-compatible titles? Do you think the game will meet people's expectations?
JT: Well, I must admit that initially I did feel a great deal of pressure. I think that we could have done even more with the PC version if we had developed it as a PC DX10 game rather than porting from an initial 360 version. When we were first making the 360 version, I felt pressure that it might be compared with games like Crysis and some of the other new, great titles which are in development. Now looking at our completed product, I'm quite happy with what we accomplished. That's the same kind of pressure I felt this time around too, with Lost Planet being one of the first DX10 titles. As far as meeting the expectations of the fans is concerned, the answer is yes. I'm confident that players will enjoy the high-quality graphics and rich online play. In terms of graphic quality, the DX10 version is by no means inferior to the 360 version; if anything, it can look even better.
GS AU: What percentage of sales do you think will be for Vista and DirectX 10?
JT: That's a very difficult question. We don't have a clear picture of where sales will go at this time. But my guess is that for now, it will be about 70 percent DX9 and 30 percent Vista and DX10. Initially, this is how things may play out, but as time goes on, I'd expect the majority of sales to move toward Vista and DX10. So, looking at the long-term picture, I see that gap narrowing in say perhaps another three months or so.
GS AU: In terms of controls, what things did you need to change to suit the PC experience?
JT: I think the vital part was getting the keyboard and mouse settings right. We spent a lot of time making adjustments, to make sure all of the player inputs worked to our liking. The original game was designed around the Xbox 360 controller, so naturally we left the ability to use the controller in the game while also working on making the experience with the mouse and keyboard just as good. Our goal was to make the gameplay experiences as similar as possible.
GS AU: Is Lost Planet for PC better played with a keyboard/mouse or a controller?
JT: As I mentioned in response to the last question, the game was originally designed around Microsoft's Xbox 360 controller. So the original experience we intended for players to have could best be had on controller. However, we understand that many PC gamers are used to the keyboard-and-mouse style of game play, so we aimed to strike a balance. We wanted, for example, to make sure that the speed and acceleration of aiming didn't feel different depending on the input devices while trying not to make anything feel awkward for keyboard-and-mouse users.
GS AU: With the game available on both 360 and PC, why didn't you include Live functionality across the platforms?
JT: That was something that we couldn't make a decision on by ourselves. I think at the time, Live Anywhere could only be tested with Microsoft first-party software. So it was more an issue of timing. Perhaps if we had pushed back development of the PC version, we could have somehow worked in Live Anywhere support. But that would have made the gap between the 360 version and the PC version releases even wider.
GS AU: How has the multiplayer content changed from the 360 version?
JT: Multiplayer content basically remains the same. But, Lost Planet for PC uses Valve Corporation's Steam network, so there may be differences in the way matching is handled.
GS AU: Jun Takeuchi, thanks for your time.
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