Why have you shifted Below to ID@Xbox?
Because we were self-funding it, we were driving development ourselves – it fits almost [perfectly] into what ID@Xbox’s platform goals are. If Microsoft had ID@Xbox when we started the project, it would have been kind of different for us. We wanted to self-publish, we wanted to hit other platforms at a certain point, and we’re not going to sign up for some massive amount of exclusivity, because that doesn’t fit the way we do things.
You had early access to Xbox One and its tools. What it’s like to work with?
We’ve had a really good experience working with it. We decided to put [XBLA game] Super Time Force onto Xbox One, and the process of getting it over was relatively clean and straightforward. We’re not pushing any massive tech boundaries; I’m not saying Below isn’t a really challenging technical product – there’s a ton of crazy tech going on there – but we’re not building Crysis 3. Our goal is to leverage the technology to make really aesthetically focused, stylised and stylish stuff. The chances of us running into massive technical hurdles are probably significantly lower than the Respawns and Cryteks of the world. For us, it’s a great little box. We’re at a point where we can actually get stuff done and running on it with relative ease.
Microsoft takes a lot of flak for the way it treats indie devs in particular. Is that fair?
Sure, there’s been some bumps, but I think that’s a big sign of a positive relationship – you can hit those bumps, get over them and continue moving forward in a way that’s mutually beneficial. Everyone from Phil Spencer to [Chris] Charla to Ted Woolsey, they’ve always been very upfront about them caring about the studio, not just pushing the project we signed a deal for.
What resolution and framerate are you targeting for the finished game?
Right now, it’s running at 1080p. We’re still early enough in development that the framerate isn’t set, but we’re going to try to hit 60fps, and it seems like that is possible. It’s 1080p and significantly above 30fps, and we haven’t spent tons of time in optimisation… It’s very important for the game to be 1080p – the scale and size of the whole game world really shines at that resolution.