High Voltage Software changed Wii gaming with The Conduit, bringing the modern day shooter in with a graphically friendly package. HVS focused on developing their engine around the limits, bringing a Wii game unlike what anyone had seen before with new effects and depth. At E3 this year we saw a behind doors preview, showcasing the new design and approach to Conduit 2. With linear paths thrown out the window, the team pushed forward to create a tree of paths to suit the style of the player with new AI to match.
Conduit 2 thrives on story and choice, allowing players to adopt the combat style they wish. If full frontal assault occurs, the AI will finally react to the threat they sense happening. In The Conduit, AI suffered from too many choices and too long of a thought cycle for enemies. If an assault took place, the AI would react to the first attack and try to produce actions based on every change in the fight. Conduit 2 restricts paths available; the AI has only so much time for each enemy to decide. This change allows HVS to create independent AI, dedicating decision trees to each class. The demo included an example of this with a scientist ducking for cover and escape; as it moved on, the AI changes were visible, with the lesser AI moving to safety as the soldier classes stepped up to attack.
For those coming from the original, the shift using the branching paths and new AI gives the game new life. This is not The Conduit that players once knew; in fact, the community feedback is still changing the game as they develop it right now, in areas like the new custom control, Wii Motion Plus and Speak support, sensitivity, friend codes (or the lack thereof), and camera choices. It acts as an example of the commitment to the development around the feedback they took before.
Other shifts come through in the flow of the game; in The Conduit, HVS pushed to handle the game in-house for storyboard. In the sequel, a professional author has come in to streamline the game, incorporating an active plot while playing. Cut scenes have become a separation point for many gamers; the latest installment will work on keeping a flow of action instead. HVS has also moved to allow for sprinting on demand, giving players the ability to control the pace of the game. One of the last changes that we found was the update to the HUD, which shows a move to regenerative health over med kits.
Many changes have occurred over the course of the year; HVS plans to continue taking community feedback and develop Conduit 2 to be what players want. We are looking forward to setting up a future Q&A with the team, so stay tuned for more information on that.