Tripwire defends Killing Floor 2 PS4 port
Promises not to "dumb down" PC version.
The boss of Tripwire Interactive has moved to explain his company's decision to make a PlayStation 4 version of previously PC-exclusive co-op sci-fi horror first-person shooter Killing Floor 2 after some expressed concern over the move.
The PS4 version of Killing Floor 2 was announced during Sony's PlayStation Experience event last week, and following that some within the game's community predicted the PC version would be "dumbed down" as a result.
In a post on the Tripwire forum, president John Gibson said that with rising development costs comes the need to make games available to as big a potential audience as possible.
Shipping a game on console adds about 10 per cent additional work, Gibson said, but opens up the potential fanbase to tens of millions of additional gamers.
And, Gibson insisted, the PC version would end up benefiting from the additional time and effort spent on the PS4 port.
"Lets say we could afford to spend $2m making a game for the PC only, but we could afford to spend $4m if we released it on PC and console," he said.
"In the end PC gamers get almost double the features and content as the developer could have afforded to make if they released the game on a single platform alone. Over the past few years you've been benefiting from this but never knew it. Great multi-platform games like Far Cry 3, Dishonored, etc all wouldn't have been possible at the scope that they were released at if they were only on a single platform."
Tripwire had other reasons for adding console development to its slate. The power and architecture of the current generation of consoles means it's easier than ever to port from PC to console. And the first parties have opened up to the idea of self-publishing, meaning an independent developer such as Tripwire no longer needs to sign a deal with a publisher in order to release a game on console.
Then there's the fun factor.
"Sure, we're hardcore PC guys," Gibson said, "but a lot of us also grew up playing console games on the Atari, NES, Playstation, etc. We think it will be fun to bring a game to the living room, and to expose a new crowd of gamers to Tripwire's style of games and doing business (i.e. different types of games and lots of free updates, post release support etc).
"In other words, Tripwire is not being 'consolized', rather we plan on 'Tripwirizing' console gamers. The time has come when we can put games on the consoles on our terms, without compromise, and we're excited for this new frontier and the experiences we'll be able to provide gamers."
Despite all of this, the PC remains the lead platform for Killing Floor 2, Gibson said. And the game will launch first on PC. "We will however be taking the time and effort to ensure that we provide an amazing experience for PS4 users as well."
There will be some differences between the two versions, though. The user interface will be adjusted, and the difficulty of the PS4 version will be tuned "to take into account the different playerbase and controller". "So far however we've got what we think are some pretty good gamepad controls," Gibson added, "and can actually play the PC difficulty levels pretty well with a gamepad."
Here's an interesting note: the gamepad support includes aiming assists.
"It's actually pretty funny," Gibson said, "as we asked around to people that play a lot of shooters if the shooters they were playing on console had aiming assists, many thought they did not. When we looked at the games however we found every single one of them did have some form of aiming assists. In other words, many console gamers had no idea that they were getting assists from the game.
"I'd rather not go into specific of what the aim assists are, as we're still tuning the controller functionality. What I will say is what we have right now works very well, and feels a bit like a cross between COD and Borderlands console controls. We basically looked at the best of what other games had done, took what we thought were the best practices of other console game controls, and then looked at how we could make those even better."
The upshot of Gibson's post is a denial that the PC version will be dumbed down because of the PS4 version.
"Longer answer, the PS4 version has no impact on the gameplay of the PC version," he said. "PC is the lead platform, and the game will be separately tuned to play well on both the PC and the PS4. PS4 gamers are likely in for a harder game than they are used to.
"With that said, we feel many developers underestimate gamers on the consoles, and we feel that console gamers are ready for a challenge. Hell on Earth on PS4 will be HARD. With that said, the game will scale on easier difficulties for more casual gamers."