Avalanche defends Xbox One’s reveal pitch, talks up connectivity features

Xbox One

Avalanche Studios’ chief creative officer Christofer Sundberg has dismissed concerns over Xbox One’s apparent focus on smart TV, and re-iterated its credentials as a gaming platform. He also told us that Xbox One’s connectivity and Kinect features have great potential.

Microsoft’s approach to the reveal of its next console has caused much debate – particularly where its ambitions in the TV space is concerned. But this is little more than early messaging aimed at the mainstream, Sundberg told us.

“Microsoft has said that it wants to make the Xbox One an entertainment center,” he said. “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.”

Though the debate (and confusion) continues over how Microsoft will implement its always-on system, Avalanche considers Xbox One’s online functionality an exciting prospect. “More connectivity is obviously fantastic,” said Sundberg. “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.”

The Avalanche exec added that the studio is still discussing “what level of Kinect support Microsoft will require”, but sees plenty of potential in the technology – particularly in terms of the kids’ market.

“I see Kinect as one of many possibilities to make gaming experiences on the Xbox One better,” said Sundberg. “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, while I have a hard time making a perfect fit with some of our games in development at the moment.”