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Long read: The beauty and drama of video games and their clouds

"It's a little bit hard to work out without knowing the altitude of that dragon..."

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Zeno Clash's ACE Team

The mind and words of Carlos Bordeu.

Innovation sparkles as brightly as diamonds in the games industry, and is lusted after in equal measure. For every polished gem promising a safe return - every Assassin's Creed 2, every BioShock 2, every FIFA 10 - there's a raw stone with exciting potential. These, more often than not, are mined from independent sources before big corporations trample over the top with their metaphorical tractors of industry [let's wind it up - Ed]. Zeno Clash, made by Chilean developer ACE Team, is one such source. Flawed, but brilliant; a unique world of bird people, father-mothers, brutality and Gaudi-like constructions.

ACE Team bet big and the gamble paid off, as sales have allowed for a sequel, which was announced recently. This promises greater exploration, more RPG elements and an expansive, open-ended world. But ACE Team hasn't finished with Zeno Clash 1, with extra content set to arrive soon and the possibility of an enhanced Xbox Live Arcade port. At least, that's what Carlos Bordeu - one of three founding brothers of ACE Team - told Eurogamer. And he had much more to say, covering wild, disregarded Zeno Clash concepts, humble beginnings and the state of the industry.

Eurogamer Zeno Clash is done, finished, out there. What's your reaction to what was eventually turned out?
Carlos Bordeu

Well, we're very happy with the reception the game has gotten. We really thought at several moments during the development that it was going to be the sort of game you either loved or hated. And we're really happy because it seems to be getting a lot more love than hate! In the media, the press, the people it has had a very good reception. We would have maybe liked to get to a bigger audience - I think a lot of people are wary about it; the game is kind of strange... I'm not sure. But we still have to do more work in terms of getting more media press and notes about the game so that more people try it out. But overall we're pretty happy with how the game was received.

He looks happy. Punch him.
Eurogamer Did you have a backup plan in case it all went awry?
Carlos Bordeu

You mean like if we have some sort of plan in case the game was not successful? To be honest: not really. I mean this was a very big bet on our side. How we will move forward as a company and what we do next depended a lot on how successful Zeno Clash was, and I still think there's more we can do with it: we're currently trying to get it ported to a console, although we're still not ready to announce anything about that yet.

The truth is we didn't have a backup plan or anything.

Eurogamer Consoles! All of them?
Carlos Bordeu

Xbox 360, because Source engine is properly ported for it. I think the only game that has been developed for PlayStation 3 was The Orange Box, and that was Electronic Arts internally. Source comes with compatibility for PC and Xbox 360, so that's our main goal.

The world of Zenozoik: a hallucinated fairytale.
Eurogamer How far along is the Xbox 360 port? Have you had a chit-chat with Microsoft?
Carlos Bordeu

We've been having conversations about a possible XBLA version of the game and we're currently talking with a publisher, but we still haven't closed that yet. But it's something we'd really like to do.

Eurogamer Would you have to alter Zeno Clash much for Xbox 360?
Carlos Bordeu

Yes we would, probably. Usually when you port there is a lot of interest in adding new features and content so the console port is interesting and people who have the PC version will say, "Oh cool, the console version has these features added." I can't tell you what it would be right now, but yes, we are looking at adding a little bit of extra content.