Developer Scott Foe Talks Contra, Mobile Games and Wanting Four-Player Skyrim

Developer Scott Foe Talks Contra, Mobile Games and Wanting Four-Player Skyrim

Scott Foe, chief product officer at developer Ignited Artists has been in the game industry for awhile. We pick his brain on everything from cooperative game play to mobile games.

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A lot of that stemmed from the way in which Nokia's organizational infrastructure was arranged. There were three game studios: North America, which was in Vancouver, Europe, which was in Helsinki, and then San Francisco, which everyone knows is not actually in North America.

It appears that gamers themselves were the last ones to figure this out. I'm just going to pretend this comments means what I'd like it to mean, as is encouraged when listening to music.

Interesting interview but isn't having Skyrim in the headline kinda misleading. It only pops up very briefly even though he makes a good point with it

Marcel Helion:
That is the nature of the beast. There are a few options that you can do to try to keep these games online. Most importantly, allowing the community to reverse engineer the server infrastructure and permit former contributors to support the community in any way they can to keep the game alive. It is sad to see some of these great online games get lost forever.

The far bigger problem with old multiplayer games is simply that no-one is playing them. It's no good getting all the code working, servers up and running, and then finding yourself the only person in the lobby actually looking for a match. While I agree it's a shame to lose games forever when they're not even that old, the need to have certain minimum population consistently interested is always going to make multiplayer games much more of a problem to keep than single player ones.

Right now we're seeing asymmetric multiplayer in shooters

The important word missing here is "again". We've seen asymmetric multiplayer plenty of times before. Sometimes it's done well, sometimes not, but it's never really caught on, and I really don't see it being any different this time.

The very obvious one would be that you can do first-person shooters from anywhere at any time. You would see a lot more real-time experiences come to mobile. I've always been a fan of genre leadership, so I like to do crazy things that have never been done before.

There are plenty of real-time experiences already. The problem is that actually controlling things in real time via a small touchscreen is basically impossible. People love to argue about whether consoles or PC have better controls for various genres, but I have yet to see anyone claim that a phone touchscreen comes anywhere near either of them. You just can't get either the complexity or the fine control. There's nothing new or genre-leading about wanting to do shooters on phones, it's been done, they just don't work that well. Throwing multiplayer into the mix isn't going to change that.

There are plenty of real-time experiences already. The problem is that actually controlling things in real time via a small touchscreen is basically impossible. People love to argue about whether consoles or PC have better controls for various genres, but I have yet to see anyone claim that a phone touchscreen comes anywhere near either of them. You just can't get either the complexity or the fine control. There's nothing new or genre-leading about wanting to do shooters on phones, it's been done, they just don't work that well. Throwing multiplayer into the mix isn't going to change that.

This is a good perspective. The mention of Industrial Toys is relevant, because they tried the mechanic of putting the player on a rail in order to compensate for the control issue in Midnight Star. The problem is that this essentially eliminates the element of 3D gameplay, as it returns us to Rebel Assault-style gameplay circa 1993.

As you say, there is nothing new or genre-leading about a rail shooter and multiplayer will not salvage that. But this is not to say that there cannot be new and interesting innovations, only that we have not seen them yet.

To date, the successful mobile games have been mechanically crude and designed within the limits of the touch controls.

 

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