Where on earth is Sensible World Of Soccer? It's certainly not on Xbox Live Arcade. We wanted to know why - given how good it looked when we played it, and how sure Codemasters seemed about a summer launch - so we had a chat with Codemasters Online Gaming's Jim Brown. Here's what he had to say!
Eurogamer: SWOS was due to be released on Xbox Live in July, then August, and now we've heard it has been pushed back into 2008. Can you confirm this?
Jim Brown: We are currently targeting a release at the end of November. Of course this is all subject to passing the usual internal and Microsoft submissions.
Eurogamer: What are the reasons for the delay? Is it down to the licensing issues surrounding player and/or team names?
Jim Brown: It's not down to player names, no - we wish it were that easy. SWOS hasn't hit the digital streets yet as it's simply not ready.
The title has been close to release for some time now in terms of number of outstanding blocking issues; however we've been unhappy with the quality of the network performance and have rewritten significant proportions of the network code.
Sensible Soccer is a brand that's very important to us and a game that's close to our hearts. Most of the team here in the Online division are lifetime gamers, and we strongly believe the title has to enjoy first-class performance over the internet if it's to retain it's position as the best football game ever. The very nature of SWOS' seminal twitch gameplay simply demands it.
We have that now, the current build in our Internet test lab is flying along - we're now re-debugging the network rewrite to cure de-synchronisation and disconnect issues (already fixed once on the old netcode) caused by the rewrite, which isn't easy when working in Amiga code from the early 90s.
We took the decision very early on to work with that code and unaltered gameplay, and we still feel it was the right choice. It's been frustrating, but we genuinely believe SWOS is a winner and want the title to play as we originally intended when we started this project.
Eurogamer: Is the PC version still likely to come out, and will it be cross compatible with the 360 - i.e. will 360 players be able to play PC players online?
Jim Brown: We're reviewing the plans for the PC version; obviously following the challenges we've had achieving excellent network play on a fixed hardware platform like the 360, achieving SWOS on a variable hardware platform needs to be assessed. Our focus is on releasing the 360 title pre-Christmas right now, we'll have news on the PC version once that's done.
Eurogamer: Any plans to bring it to PSN at some stage, or even the DS or PSP?
Jim Brown: We love the SWOS series and we have lots of ideas for other platforms, even regarding things like persistence gaming, but nothing firm at present. We really need to see how successful this version is. We are really looking forward to the release and I hope to be trying my after touch skills on some of your readers soon!