With the Xbox Series X | S about to get its first suitable dedicated console, the mid-sized developer Bloober team talked about how the studio achieved this achievement.
medium It is the most ambitious game of Bloober Team to date. Not only is it the largest production made by developers, but it is also an exclusive product for the next generation of Xbox consoles, when in fact none of these exist. I spoke with Intermediate Chief Designer Wojciech Piejko and producer Jacek Zięba to understand what pressure this has put on the company, their views on Game Pass and their views on Microsoft’s budgeted next-generation Xbox Xbox S.
Piejko said: “I think this is definitely the most ambitious, because you know this dual screen and all these mechanics, but in all respects, it’s like our biggest game.” “Here, we are from a first-person perspective. Switching to a third-person perspective, of course, requires more animation, and more animation and mechanisms. We know that we are not as powerful as the studio, so we know that we have been working hard to push ourselves further forward.”
The first-person horror game “Layers of Fear” launched in 2016 showed the potential within the studio, and since then, these games have become thick and fast. “Starting from the “level of fear”, we added “The Observer” to our formula and made dialogue choices. For example, Rutger Hauer’s appearance is also great, and then we adopted an external IP, of course, talking about Blair Witch. Create more things. I think “medium” is like a leap for the studio, not a step, but a step, because we switch perspectives to create more movie experiences, create a lot of cutscenes and similar things. Yes. , I think we are now trying to upgrade to a studio and enter new areas.” Piejko added. Blending together “Lars of Fear 2”, “The Medium” is the studio’s fifth new version over the years.
The team told me that Medium may be Bloober’s latest title, but it took many iterations to release. To a certain extent, once a certain platformer, and then a first-person perspective, for the game that finally puts this game into the hands of players, this is undoubtedly good for the developers of Bloober.
Zięba agrees that “Media” is an important moment for Bloober. “Each of our previous games is like an evolution. Yes, we have added what we have, and “The Medium” is more like a revolution, which is a dream project for the company. Of course. This idea has been brewing for many years, and now we can realize it and realize our destiny.”
As a relatively little-known studio in 2015, Zięba and Piejko cannot overemphasize the importance of creating high-quality games to advance the studio.
Zimba said: “Every game opens the door.” “The fear layer opens a door, observer, which allowed us to work with some Polish actors and Rutger Hauer. I think there is no fear. Observer opened the door for Lionsgate’s Blair Witch and the first cooperation with Microsoft, which also opened the door for large-scale cooperation with Microsoft.”
Piejko added: “Microsoft has a close relationship with us. When we showed them “The Medium”, they said, “Oh, it’s cool, guys, this looks cool, this looks like our product portfolio It’s really different, “Because I don’t think they have any horror games right now, I think we are fully in line with their portfolio plan.”
Zięba remembers the moment when fans realized the work of the studio. “Once we were in the U.S. and bought some calling cards or the like, a person asked us “Who are you?” “We explained that we are a game developer, what game Blair Witch developed recently, he was blown away.”
The collective head of the studio did not become famous. Piejko clearly sees where the studio is in the gaming industry. “Yes, we don’t think our studio is AAA A studio now. We are lower than that, we know this. We know that we still have a lot of room for improvement, and we can improve the game or other aspects of the mechanics. But , Yes, I think we are excellent storytellers. To create an atmosphere, this is our main strength, and we are working hard to build a better game around it.” Then, he joked that he really wanted to get Naughty Dog The tools used, call them “Masters”.
Zięba agrees that the studio still has room to grow and achieve greater success, and does not know where the ceiling is. “I think we want to create the best story in the game. When we see that something may surpass us, it may not be the best choice, but of course we want to continue to develop, so we don’t know where we can end. We can say “stop”.
During the global pandemic, a large part of The Medium’s development was driven by Piejko’s pride for the studio to overcome and other obstacles that must be overcome. He said: “We made the game during the pandemic, and a lot of bad things happened during the development process,” “It is really a challenge for us to create a game with two words at the same time, because this is our first time. I don’t know how to deal with certain things, yes. You know, this is not a normal development, I want a shooting mechanism, ok, let’s see how the best shooters do it, yes, you can Reverse engineer the product and design it. Medium size requires a lot of iterations, sometimes like blind iterations, because well, “what should we do? “And “I don’t know, let’s try it, try again,” we will wait and see.
Zimba added: “Creating a medium is a leap to uncharted territory. As you know, we have found a new land in a certain way. We have found it. We are very happy.”
One might think that developing a new generation of consoles (in this case, Xbox Series X and Series S are two consoles) will increase the studio’s problems, but thankfully, this is not the case.
Zięba said: “With each generation of game consoles, they are getting closer and closer to the PC.” “The structure and all the content, so for the new game consoles and Xbox Series X and S, it is somewhat It’s almost unreasonable, you know, it’s like the engine has been prepared for it, the architecture is like normal, and you know these things work there, not PS3 stuff. So no, most of the time, this It was a very pleasant experience.”
The two agreed that The Medium can be developed on older hardware, but it will be significantly reduced, and to realize its vision, it must be implemented on a new console and PC. But what is Microsoft’s less powerful Xbox Series S? Where does this reliance on next-generation power adapt? The message from the team is clear: Don’t worry about the relatively insufficient functionality of the small console.
Zimba said: “Yes, it’s like a week ago, I even played the entire game in the S series, I was beaten because I thought I played in the X series.” “Someone told me. Me, “Man, this is the S series. “What! Great, great. Of course, you will know that 4K will not appear because S does not support 4K. Of course, it may look different from Series X because X has twice the function of X , But the overall experience is the same as the fun of the game. I own the S series and can’t wait to play at home.”
“Yes, so the graphics are still good, because we have a very cool graphic art style, I like the art style of the game. It has a lower resolution, but it’s still a great experience.” Piijko added.
Zięba said: “The structure of S, although it is so, is simply fantastic,” Zięba said, and then we continued to study another completely different, more powerful and expensive beast: the gaming PC. The “medium” system specifications have attracted some attention, but maybe they shouldn’t think that this is a game developed specifically for next-generation hardware.
“You know, we are rendering two worlds at the same time. If people want to use HDR and ray tracing to render both worlds, it requires very powerful hardware,” Piejko explained. “We don’t want to put the specifications on the Internet and say: “Yes, it will run smoothly on your card”, but it’s not the case. Our game flows between two worlds, and sometimes you are only in one world, Sometimes you are in two worlds at the same time. If you start the game, there is only one world at the beginning, then when the game renders the two worlds, you will encounter two words, you know the frame rate will drop, which of course is not Very good. We have to develop specifications for the most power-hungry situations, which is why the requirements are high.”
Due to the partnership with Microsoft, players do not need to purchase games (although they can still choose), and “medium” games are launched on Xbox and PC Game Pass. Zięba believes that this service can bring great value to consumers and expand the studio’s game range.
“Yes, you know. In a sense, it’s a double-edged sword. You can make the game available to millions of players, who are really worth the money and can play many great games.” Zięba said. “I know this is not a streaming service, because you still need to install the game (although streaming is part of the Game Pass for some games), but in a similar way to Netflix. I think all of us, consumers, developers People and others don’t know what the result will be.” If Zięba is worried, it is that the service will expand to “provide too many games on the platform at once.” Not that he thinks this is a problem. “Currently. Today is like, great.”
Bloober finally launched “Medium” on January 28 for people to play, so what’s next for the studio? Not yet ready to disclose any information.
Piekko quipped: “We never know.” “Always, well, what’s next? Maybe it’s “Observer 2,” maybe…we’ve been thinking about it. So we didn’t close any doors, But now we can only say that there will be darkness behind those doors.”
So what about the current Xbox console exclusive rights? Just like Blair Witch (Blair Witch) finally came to PS4, will “Medium” enter PS5? Zimba said: “At present, we only focus on Xbox and PC.” We will have to wait and see.
The “medium” game will be launched on Xbox Series X, S series and PC (Steam, Epic Games Store) on January 28, and will be part of the Game Pass for all these platforms.