Champions Online's Bill Roper • Page 2

Cryptic's new ambassador on nemeses, consoles, and life after Hellgate.

Eurogamer: So the Nemesis content will be instanced for you personally - is there a way to interact with other players' Nemeses?

Bill Roper: Oh, that's actually one of the coolest parts, the Nemesis is designed so you can share it. It's actually the very first way of having user-generated content in Champions. If I just happen to be out in the world, the minions are just going to jump me and anybody can see that happening - and when I go into Nemesis showdowns I can certainly invite team-members to go with me.

Eurogamer: You mentioned changes to the UI as well - when we last saw the game, it had something halfway between a PC and console UI to accommodate both formats. Which way is it going at the moment?

Bill Roper: It's definitely MMO-based. We still have... the ability to play the game on consoles, but we really needed to make sure that the UI was specific to [the PC]. We've done a lot of work to keep that four-colour-comic flavour in the UI, but make it very much so that it is very comfortable for PC MMO players... It feels like a PC game.

When we take the game to consoles, we'll have to redo the UI so that it works. Fortunately we designed the game with consoles in mind, so there aren't any mechanics which won't work. But with Champions coming out first on the PC, it was really important for us to make sure that the UI base for everything was very strong and solid and felt right on the PC.

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Eurogamer: So the console versions will be coming out some time afterwards?

Bill Roper: All I know is it's coming out first on the PC. We really, really want to bring it out on console, the consoles are just hungry and perfect for an MMO, and we've done a lot of work to ensure that there's nothing to prevent us from doing that. It's an area beyond my control at this point, I just work on the game.

Eurogamer: You came onto the game late last year, quite late in the development cycle, which must be a very different experience from the last games you worked on. What can you add at this stage?

Bill Roper: It's definitely very different from Hellgate: London, where I was there right at the beginning of the whole idea. It's actually getting back to what I did when I worked at Blizzard. Pretty much after Warcraft II, I would come in the last six to eight months of the project, and get involved at that time. A lot of what I'm able to do is - there's many complete systems and systems that are still coming online, but the core of the game is there, and I'm looking at it and trying to figure out what needs to be done to kind of punch things up. How do we make this work better? This isn't working, what can we do?

It's a very different level of creativity to what designers have - you have a lot of the framework in place already, in many regards you're past all that beautiful blue-sky design where anything and everything is possible. You're dealing with taking what you have and making it great. It's actually very exciting and challenging.

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