World Exclusive Developer Interview
Patton's Campaign Confirmed for Playstation 3
Playstation online chat about PS3 plans and how they got LOW up and running on PSP
Playstation Online gets into the WW2 trenches to quiz Daniel Parente about the development and future of Legends of War (LoW).
Enigma Software Productions are based in Spain.
How long has Enigma been working as a games developer and what are your goals now?
Enigma SP started 15 years ago and since then we have developed many titles, most of them for PC, in different genres: action, RPG, sports, edutainment, simulation… but above all we have specialized in strategy, thats the genre in which we have more experience and we feel stronger. Our main worry in our titles is to bring as much innovation and quality as we can.
A couple of years ago we decided that we needed to move to multiplatform development, and we thought that there was a gap to be filled in the market for high-quality strategy games. Our challenge is now to consolidate the company in the consoles market and offer what we believe players are looking for with limited options.
Is this the first project you've undertaken for the PSP?
Yes, and most likely it won’t be the last one. We are pleased with the experience.
It is a machine with many possibilities, and from our point of view it’s still little exploited, at least in this genre. We have tried to squeeze it to the maximum, and we think that we have been successful, as a lot of people and companies, didn’t think it was possible. Even our technology provider is amazed by the result.
Who's idea was it to bring Patton's Campaign to the PSP when there are other consoles with higher profiles?
The decision was taken after asking ourselves the biggest question a game developer needs to do after finishing a game: And now what? After a brief bit of market research. We realized that there was a lack of good strategy games for the consoles, and the PSP in particular. Since we love strategy games and the World War II, and we just finished “WarLeaders: Clash of Nations”, we decided that we could continue through this road, implementing some of the ideas that we were not able to develop in the PC game. We decided then to explore the idea of focusing our games into legendary military leaders, and Patton was the first one to come to our minds.
The PSP was selected to be the first one, because development times are shorter and costs are lower. It was also the toughest console, as the limitations are higher. Now, we are in the process of porting the game to the remaining consoles (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii) and off course the PC
How long has the game been in development? I've been following and waiting for news over the last two years, was it much longer than that?
The production of the game has taken around 18 months, before that there were a few more months for the pre-production, and a couple more since we submitted the game to Sony until it was released. The game has a lot of content and features, and our QA process was very exigent (although we were able to pass very fast)
Having now played the game I'm very impressed with what you've managed to do on the PSP, how difficult was it to get Legends of War up and running?
We are very pleased with your opinion about the game. One of the major concerns when developing a strategy game are precisely the controls, even more when you are developing games for consoles. We were very confident that we would manage to make the controls simple and effective for the PSP even for a complex strategy game like LoW.
As usual the main problems were the memory limitations and performance.
The graphics are in fact some of the best I've seen on the PSP with no slowdown or other problems developers seem to face on the small platform, how much of the PSPs power was used?
We already had many of the assets included in this game from our previously release “War Leaders: Clash of Nations”. Adapting all these assets to the PSP limited memory and power was a hard work since we wanted to keep the original quality of the assets and all the functionality we had in mind.
We've squeezed the PSP; we have used even the last byte of memory available. This became a problem because we had memory issues quite often during the development, even when doing small changes.
The PSP has 32 Mb of memory of which we have only had 15 Mb available for all the game (only 7Mb for graphics). By the way, we have worked with Vicious Engine.
I've only just had 2 hours of gameplay, that I must say is very polished, what games inspired you to develop this PSP title?
Many games have inspired LoW, but I must say that our major reference has been "Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command" for PSP. We have adopted the characteristics that we liked most, but that was not enough. Our goal was to improve the weaker parts, for example the camera or the depth of the game. From our point of view, long-term Warhammer becomes monotonous and short, it does not happen in LoW, which is longer and varied.
On showing the game to my Son he said it looked just like, "Company of Heroes on PC". Very high praise indeed. Was it your intention to give PSP owners a 'Company of Heroes' type game for there handheld?
Yes, we are proud to have our game to be considered as a PSP version of “Company of Heroes”, it is a great game. We always try to play as many games as possible for every new project and pick up ideas from all of them, and of course we add many of our own ideas.
Of the 50+ hours game play, what is your favorite mission?
It is difficult to choose, especially for us… ;)
Personally, the team loves the infiltration missions and the latest missions in Berlin.
Do you have any plans for DLC? (Downloadable Content)
We are determined to expand Legends of War saga with new titles and 'minis'. We think it’s an interesting format and there is lack of titles to satisfy all kind of players. Tactical titles are scarce, for example. We want to do thematic 'minis', for example a small campaign with infiltration missions.
How has Sony got involved in the project? Have they had any input or are your developers just good with the PSP?
Unfortunately Sony didn’t get involved as much as we had expected. They gave us some inputs during the pre-production stage of the game and they are helping us with the promotion of the game now.
I've seen many WW2 movies and have my own personal favorites. What movies have inspired you for some missions in the game?
For us, the most outstanding reference has been "Saving Private Ryan" (1998), and the series "Band of Brothers" (2001) and of course "Patton" (1970). We have also had several books on Patton and the Third Army as a reference.
I understand that you are trying to bring Legends of War to the shop shelves on UMD. Have you had any more news on that yet?
We are currently in contact with some publishers to ship the game in UMD, if we get an agreement with any of them, we will do it by sure.
Do you have any plans for your next game? Will we see another chapter in the Legends of War games on the PSP?
We have quite lot ideas right now and our next move is porting the game to PS3, Xbox 360, PC and may be Wii. If users enjoy the game we have already thought about some other titles for the ‘Legends of War’ saga. For the time being our idea is to continue developing the game also for PSP.
We want to make new titles in the series based on the World War II, for instance the wanderings of General Rommel in Africa or Zhukov leading the Red Army on the Russian front... without excluding other periods, as the campaign of Julius Caesar in Gaul. Always with famous war characters, ‘legends of the war’, in the most important conflicts of humankind.
Have you had the PSP2 development kits yet yourselves or do you want to stick with PSP for now?
Once we have more information about the future PSP2 we will see if it makes sense to migrate the game to the new platform. We are a small development studio and we don’t have devkits for PSP2 yet. We are in contact with Sony about this.
I have read that you plan to bring Legends of War: Patton's Campaign to the Playstation 3 at some point. Can you give us any exclusive news on how development is going and will it have online play?
We expect to have a technical prototype of the PS3 version of the game by mid-November as to be officially shown to publishers during the GC Lyon. We are now using a new version of Vicious Engine compatible with PS3. We are currently are in the process of porting all the assets, ensuring they have quality enough for a console like PS3, and evaluating all the PS3 can give us in terms of memory and power. The user should expect a much higher quality in this platform as the PS3 gives us much more possibilities. I think that if people were surprised with the quality achieved in the PSP, they will be even more impressed by the game on the PS3 and Xbox360.
Thank you for your time and I wish you every success with the launch of the game.
We are the ones that need to thank you for your interest in the game, and for being a fan of the game during the last months. We develop our games for people like you and your readers, and we are very pleased to see your enthusiasm about the game and our work. People interested in knowing more about the game will be able to find some more information about us in our Web page: http://www.enigmasp.com/
Playstation Online will bring you first Exclusive news as soon as we get it on the Playstation 3 version of the game. If they are thinking about Wii then we can only hope that the game will support Playstation Move.