Avalanche: calling Xbox One "the ultimate gaming machine" would scare off mainstream

Just Cause developer sticks up for Microsoft's reveal strategy

Avalanche Studios chief creative officer Christofer Sundberg reckons you're all being a load of over-judgemental nancies about Microsoft's Xbox One reveal, which went to town on broader entertainment features and connectivity at the expense, some would argue, of new game announcements. Microsoft's attempt to capture the hearts and minds of non-specialist media is not, he says, evidence that the manufacturer is no longer interested in videogames.

That's pretty much what Microsoft's been saying for over a week now, of course, but it's reassuring to hear this from an independent studio, particularly a studio whose portfolio includes the sturdily core-oriented Just Cause games.


"Microsoft has said that it wants to make the Xbox One an entertainment center," Sundberg told Edge. "If it was dubbed the ultimate gaming machine at this point, Microsoft would lose the attention of general media.

"This way, they are grabbing mainstream attention first and can focus entirely on gamers at E3. After that they'll have both in their grasp. The Xbox is and has always been a gaming platform, and I don't see that changing with the Xbox One."

Sundberg also quite likes the sound of Xbox One's online functions, despite controversy about its 24 hour mandatory sign-in requirement. "More connectivity is obviously fantastic," he said. "It enables us to develop online features that enhances the open world gaming experience without limiting players by having to stay connected.

"I think Journey and The Walking Dead were great examples on how to use connectivity to make the experience more interesting, with the anonymous connection to other players in Journey and the decision feedback in The Walking Dead. We were a little late using all the fun metrics we've gathered from Just Cause 2, to make the game better and interesting for our fans, but in futures game we are using player patterns to a larger extent."

He even has a good word for Kinect, aka the Unholy Scourge of Traditional Real Man's Red-Blooded Carnivorous Pro-Life Gaming. Avalanche is still discussing "what level of Kinect support Microsoft will require", but sees the functionality "as one of many possibilities to make gaming experiences on the Xbox One better."

"I have dreamt of making an open-world/sandbox game for kids for many years and in that case I can see a strong support for the Kinect enhancing the experience," Sundberg mused, "while I have a hard time making a perfect fit with some of our games in development at the moment."

Avalanche is set to reveal a number of next generation titles at E3, possibly including its mystery movie and comicbook tie-ins. Here's another oracular snippet from Sundberg: he expects fewer big budget games on Xbox One and PS4, and reckons this is a Good Thing.

Want to know how to make a boat fly in Just Cause 2? It's your lucky day.