Forum > Gaming Discussion > Factor 5: Why Wii owners should pray they aren't out of business (56k warning)
Factor 5: Why Wii owners should pray they aren't out of business (56k warning)
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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:07:27
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They supposedly had two Wii games in development, a Superman game and a Kid Icarus title. They said that they were going to push the system from a technical standpoint.

I stumbled across a couple of pics that wowed me and then hunted down some more.

This is some sort of joke right?

4787278aaa.jpg

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rebel_strike9.jpg

These guys were doing next gen before next gen existed

The entire Rogue Leader in two player?

The water?

Notice frequent use of custom shaders? On GC? It can be done.

WTF! GASP

You know sometimes when there are guys saying they can live with cube/xbox graphics? Well..............

Umm look at the rock face on the left there. Shader.

So now that we've found out that publishers marketing and sales depts simply aren't funding proper projects, bar a few japanese games (MH3, FFCC, New Tales Mothership game) seeing these pics just hacks me off even more. There is nothing wrong with Wii hardware, especially given how its more powerful than cube. Graphics like this can be acheived, developers need to get better, using the hardware as an excuse is crappy. Now they are using the market as an excuse.

February 2008

A short while ago Factor 5 president Julian Eggebrecht confirmed to IGN Wii that the developer, best known for its Star Wars Rogue Squadron titles, had at least one new project underway for Nintendo's Wii console. At DICE 2008 in Las Vegas last week, Eggebrecht shed some light on the mystery game.

The San Rafael-based developer has always been known for getting the most technically out of the consoles it works on and it looks like it will endeavor to use all of Wii's horsepower, too.

"We want to push the hardware. I think for us it's relatively easy for us to push the hardware. It inherently comes. But a lot of it is about exploiting the uniqueness of the Wii. I mean, on the graphical side, we're going to try and do everything to outdo everything else on the platform, the same as we did for the Star Wars games back on the GameCube," said Eggebrecht. "But one of our main focuses is the innovation around the controls. Everybody is always talking about the motion control, but I think people are overplaying that a bit. I really, really love the pointing aspect of the remote. Although we're going to use everything for what we have in development, I think the pointing stuff is probably the biggest innovation which we're working on right now."

Asked about the Wii game's state of completion, Eggebrecht responded: "We're pretty much at a state where we're almost done with the engine. At the same time, we've also been working on content quite a bit because we had enough running very quickly on the platform that we were able to. But the biggest milestone or mark right now is that we're almost done with the engine and it does everything that the PS3 did and then some, quite frankly. So we're pretty happy with that.

"It's not just what a lot of people were expecting. 'Oh, we're going to cash in on what we had from Rebel Strike.' Which we actually also did. That was a fun experience just to bring that game over and play it on Wii. Nevertheless, we said, well, weighing the pros and cons, why don't we do something completely new based on all the experience we had back then? So, that's almost done."

Before it began development on Lair for PS3, Factor 5 was linked to create Pilot Wings for Nintendo's then-codenamed Revolution system. What ever happened to the project and has Eggebrecht given up on the idea of creating a similar flying game?

"We'd never give up on the idea of making a flying game. Maybe a pure flight game, I don't know about that because it limits you a little bit. Flight can be involved, though -- our engine is strong around it. If it lends itself and the game design to it, it certainly can be an element.

"What happened back then. It was 2004 and I think, quite frankly, it came down to us wanting and needing to move on to the next-generation consoles. Nintendo at that point in time hadn't made up their mind, and I don't blame them, what the next-generation for them meant. We, of course, assumed that it was going to be something in the same vein of Microsoft and Sony, so we were kind of prodding and pushing them a little bit. We were saying, 'Come on guys. The road is pretty obvious. Why don't we get going on developing something in that vein because we all know where it's going to lead?' And they -- now in hindsight, of course, I know why -- but they always told us, 'No, why don't you keep it down? Don't think about 10 million polygons more. We're trying to figure something out here.' It was very mysterious throughout the year. Quite frankly, simple business matters happened. We had to run a studio, we had to pay people. And we had to jump onto something. That something at the time was basically the other upcoming consoles. Those guys were very aggressive as partners and at the time we didn't want to lay off anybody, and we needed the cash. So we happily went along with that also expected that sooner or later we could translate it back to whatever Nintendo came up with. Of course, we were blown away when they said, 'This is it, by the way,' which happened way later. So that's I think also why there were never any hard feelings. I think Nintendo knew what was going on with us and that to a certain degree that the time lapse forced us into how things happened. We never, ever had any bad break up, or anything like that. Which is also the case with Sony, by the way. We love the guys at Sony. So if we have another game which we want to work on with them, we would love to and I don't see any reason why not. Things there are a little overhyped on the Internet where people basically think that we all spit into each others' faces, which isn't the case at all."

Journey backward into Factor 5's history and you will eventually find the Turrican franchise, which will, it seems, be making a comeback, both on Virtual Console and perhaps as an all-new game -- most likely for PS3 or Xbox 360.

"You probably have seen the ESRB Wii ratings. There was quite a bit news going around that last year for Wii, which obviously means Virtual Console. So there might be something brewing there and we hope very, very soon there will be something there," said Eggebrecht. "And in general, what we have working on internally is thinking about how to bring that into 3D. I mean, taking a close look certainly at Metroid -- at what these guys did. Taking a close look at other old franchises from the 2D days which were brought into the future. I don't think we're at a point yet where it's full-blown and we're one-hundred percent set in a direction and everybody on the team is certain that this is the way it should go, but we're making headway. It will come back. It's definitely coming back in the old incarnations -- don't worry about that. But I also think that we will bring it into the future pretty soon."

Does Eggebrecht have any final words for Nintendo fans anticipating the company's Wii project? You bet.

"Whatever we're working on will at least blow you away in a lot of the technical aspects. We're really trying to do everything to squeeze the maximum out of the machine," he said. "I'm also hoping we're going to pay respect to what the console is all about, which is the innovation in terms of controls, in terms of accessibility, new experiences, things like that. We're really, really trying hard. I hope it's going to pay off. In terms of what we're working on; is it for third-party publishers, is it for a Nintendo first-party, what title is it? I won't give you a clue."

IGNarticle

Resident Evil 4 was a beautiful GCN title. Rogue Squadron was doing things at launch that developers still haven't done on Wii. Why do you think that is? Are studios getting sloppy on Wii?

Julian: Yes. I'm so disappointed knowing exactly what the Wii can do -- and I still think nobody knows it better than we (no pun intended) [laughs]. I really have to say, boy, am I disappointed! They all have finally figured out, five years into the hardware's life cycle, how to do at least basic shaders and a rim light, but that's what everybody does. But I still don't see enough bump and normal-mapping, if any. I still don't see enough post effects, although you would have insane fill-rates with Wii. I don't see any of that. I was digging out Rebel Strike the other day and was looking at it, and we had some people who were visiting ask, "Why isn't anybody else doing this on Wii?" And I am at a loss. I really am.


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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:18:03
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Revogamers interview

RG: Let's talk about Nintendo, You know Nintendo's hardware very well. Recently, you showed yourself disappointed with many studios graphical efforts on the Wii. In a hot selling machine like this, why don't we see many great looking games?

JE: There's a distinction between... because I think people took my comments as that I don't like the look for example for Wii Sports. I think what Nintendo is doing in the Wii Sports is perfectly fine because they're utilising the hardware for that style exactly as much as they need to utilise it. My complaints were actually about the games which try to go the traditional, more photorealistic route, because there you really have to push it, and they're really not pushing it. Why not? Hmmm I don't know, the hardware is very, very easy to understand. Now the problem might be -and it just might be- is that some studios -or some publishers specially- are discarding the graphical capabilities automatically simply because it is a Wii title and they're basically telling the developers "look, we won't pay for any advanced graphics". Because the Wii, I mean not that you would meet a 20 million dollar budget like on the PS3, but if you want to get really, really advanced graphics out of the Wii, then you have to spend probably more money than basically going for the cheap solution, so that might be an inherit problem, so it might actually not be the laziness of certain developers, but it might be the... inability or the non existent willingness of the publishers to actually give them in a budget to do better graphics.

RG: So maybe we can blame the publishers instead of the studios?

JE: I think that at the end of the day it's a mixture of both, because as a developer who is working on a more photorealistic title I think they also have to step up to the plate. They've to take a look a bit deeper and then go to the publisher and say look, just because we've done ten comic book type graphic titles, this one needs different graphics, so let's take a look a bit deeper into the hardware. You're giving us millions of dollars to find out how our assets end in the 360 GPU's work, we want to take a look a bit deeper into the Wii GPU because obviously you can do more. Many have proven... Resident Evil 4 clearly from Capcom or our own Rogue Squadron series has prove that you can do a lot more with the hardware, so it's not secret that it's in there, somewhere. But developers need to step up to the plate and the publishers as well... or they need to be open about it and if they're really willing to do it then they need to find the graphical style which is simply different, I mean that's another solution they have there.

RG: Can it be because of their tools? That it would be easier if the Wii had standard shader effects... or is it a matter of work because you have to prepare the shaders for yourself?

JE: The one thing which makes it probably harder for developers who are coming from the traditional direction is that the shader system inside the hardware works quite differently, you have something more right about that than the traditional AGI and the video pipelines. Because the thinking back when the basic graphics hardware structure was developed was to get very, very efficient, that hotwired a lot of things. But there're many possibilities in terms of how to use that hotwiring and actually rewire it, if you're clever about it. If you connect you can get a lot of shader effects which would've been on the 360 or the PS3.

RG: If you "create" them on the Wii

JE: Yeah, because... on the Wii, you just have to be more ingenious. But the Wii, on the other hand... I mean, think about it: it's got so much more power compared to the GameCube. If even with the extremely similar shader hardware, the system clockrate is so much higher, you can do so much more advanced things, so if people just would look at Rouge Leader, Rebel Strike and Resident Evil 4 and then say: this hardware is significantly faster than those games it should have the very minimum they should get that and then they should build on top of it.

RG: And with much more memory...

JE: Yeah, exactly, and the memory! That is a very good point. Aside from the shaders, our main limitation which we always found on the GameCube was the memory: the memory was a struggle the whole time; it was a very hard struggle. That was actually our biggest struggle. When we got the Wii specifications we were excited because we said "wow, this is actually the amount of memory which we needed"

RG: The memory problem you had before

JE: Yes, exactly, that would've been our "dream memory". (laughs)

Casi como un encuentro
A "simple" place for a deep talk

RG: Going with that... have you considered the option of sharing your previous development tools with other studios? Because Rebel Strike was an awesome looking game.

JE: The Star Wars engine was never developed in a way that you can just sell it to somebody, because we never thought of it as something sellable. If we would do a new engine or something which is more around or current engine because with four years... it'll be the one which is basically been used as the basis for Lair. If we would do a Wii version of that, certainly that could be something which somebody could license. But I wouldn't just drop the old Rebel Strike stuff just onto somebody, because at this time I think we're so much more clever about the load of the data path issues, which you guys in the press never see because you get to see the finished game. So all of these things now that we're much more clever about. And it was way too painful back then. We don't want to take up the old engine, but having said that I would do a new engine, and certainly it'd be fun to do that on the Wii.

RG: So would you start from zero or downgrade something that you've been using on Lair?

JE: In terms of the data path and things like that, we would probably use what we're using nowadays really exactly because you can transfer that over. In terms of shaders and very specific things like physics, we would start from scratch, because you need to tail up that very much to the hardware.

Edited: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:50:11

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:35:08
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Factor 5

  • Awesome graphics?   Yes!
  • Awesome gameplay? Not so much.

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 13:44:16
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On the subject of Wii being technologically screwed over by lazy, shortchanged or talentless developers and inspired by Ravenprose's general lameness at F-Zero GX Nyaa

10.jpg

fzerogxgc_001-large.jpg

f-zero-gx.724994.jpg

f-zero-gx.724990.jpg

Also, Raven don't you think that Nintendo might step in to co-produce the Kid Icarus game given how important a licence it is for them?

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 15:47:34
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Hm... Yeah, I think I need to go play some Rogue Squadron some time today.
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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 17:06:11
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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:02:45
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SteelAttack said:

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:31:34
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Also, Raven don't you think that Nintendo might step in to co-produce the Kid Icarus game given how important a licence it is for them?

How important is it, when they haven't made one since a time when I was pubeless?

We all know how good Rogue Squadron and F-Zero look....and we also know how limited Factor 5 is in the gameplay area. Graphics without a great game mean nothing. So its hard for me to care about what they do, knowing that yeah it'll look really nice for a Wii game but the play probably won't match up, on top of the fact that I have other machines that have games with even higher graphics AND good gameplay.

I tip my hat to F5 in that they definitely knew a few tricks nobody else did about the Cube/Wii hardware. Those games were amazing technical achievements.  But as I've always said, they need to merge with another developer who is great at gameplay/storytelling yet not so good at technical things. Then we'd have another true powerhouse developer.

         1200923.png?77682175

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Mon, 02 Feb 2009 20:58:59

edgecrusher said:

Also, Raven don't you think that Nintendo might step in to co-produce the Kid Icarus game given how important a licence it is for them?

How important is it, when they haven't made one since a time when I was pubeless?

We all know how good Rogue Squadron and F-Zero look....and we also know how limited Factor 5 is in the gameplay area. Graphics without a great game mean nothing. So its hard for me to care about what they do, knowing that yeah it'll look really nice for a Wii game but the play probably won't match up, on top of the fact that I have other machines that have games with even higher graphics AND good gameplay.

I tip my hat to F5 in that they definitely knew a few tricks nobody else did about the Cube/Wii hardware. Those games were amazing technical achievements.  But as I've always said, they need to merge with another developer who is great at gameplay/storytelling yet not so good at technical things. Then we'd have another true powerhouse developer.

I'd say that it would be important as its a Nintendo franchise and they wouldn't want a shit product. Apart from the 3rd person sections in Rebel Strike the gameplay in all three Rogue Squadron games was very enjoyable. They are flight game specialists so if they were doing a flight based game as rumoured: Pilotwings, Superman or Kid Icarus. Chances are that as long as they don't bollock it up with pointless fluff, it would be a great looking and well playing game.

If Nintendo stepped in to co-produce it, like how Metroid Prime was made in co-operation with Nintendo Japan, it could very well be that powerhouse game you would want.  

Edited: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 21:01:31

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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 03:54:27
Rogue Squadron absolutely blew me away. In fact it was one of the reasons I bought a GC!
Ravenprose said:

Factor 5

  • Awesome graphics?   Yes!
  • Awesome gameplay? Not so much.

Since when? The Rogue Squadron games look AND play brilliantly.


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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 04:22:32

Foolz said:
Rogue Squadron absolutely blew me away. In fact it was one of the reasons I bought a GC!
Ravenprose said:

Factor 5

  • Awesome graphics?   Yes!
  • Awesome gameplay? Not so much.

Since when? The Rogue Squadron games look AND play brilliantly.


 I hated the gameplay of that game. It just wasn't fun for me at all. But it did look fantastic, though.

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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 06:34:56
Blacklist him again, GG!

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 06:48:00

Foolz said:
Blacklist him again, GG!

 I'm still on the blacklist. He can't blacklist me again. So there, ha ha! Nyaa

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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 10:10:12
Nothing to add GG. Lots of reading, but good reporting.

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Tue, 03 Feb 2009 12:07:03
Raven is double blacklisted. That means he has to do double the man-whoring to pay me off, if he ever expects to get off the blacklist.

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Thu, 05 Feb 2009 12:16:09

According to IGN, Overlord Dark Legend is a tech pushing game.

Overlord: Dark Legend Screenshot

On the surface, Dark Legend looks very similar indeed, with players controlling the Overlord directly in third-person and influencing Minions by targeting the specific area of the game world you want them to interact with.

Actually, when we say it looks very similar to its Xbox 360 we mean it literally. On firing up the demo, Dark Legend's title screen featured a background FMV of fly-bys and cut-scenes which we assumed had been culled from the original game. It quickly became apparent though that these scenes had been taken straight form this Wii version, its in-game engine offering some truly stunning visuals that really haven't been done justice by the first batch of Dark Legend screenshots.

Inspired by classic fairy tales -- and skewering them into far less innocent tales for its own nefarious purposes -- Dark Legend plays out across a lavish fantasy landscape, with our demo set amongst ramshackle cottages, rolling green hills and cascading waterfalls. The world features vibrant colours, sharp textures, real-time shadows, bloom and incredibly detailed character models in what's possibly the best looking third-party Wii title we've seen so far. While closer inspection reveals some obvious visual downgrades in terms of polygons and other tricks, it's an object example of how some careful consideration and a creative approach to the console's technical limitations can still yield spectacular results. It's all the more impressive when you consider the number of Minions the engine is shifting round on-screen at any one time and how far off completion the game still is.

Another Revogamers interview with the Overlord Dark Legend Wii team.

http://www.revogamers.net/articulos-394-Dentro-de-Overlord:-Chat-con-Climax------3.html

(Visual effects) There’re a couple of things that we did to help, there’re separate processes like the really good shadowing system on there. It would generally be a “next-gen” games and PC hardware, effect, but we matched to get it working on the Wii hardware. We’ve tried to make it pretty much for the environment, to give that rich and lusterous feel. (Shadows from trees and leaves)

Walker: yes, our real-time shadow system, that’s exciting, different; it gives us a really nice look. We’ve got bloom effects, 20 minions, 10 enemies on screen. We’ve worked to push the hardware, and there’s a lot going on.

(Use of the TEV unit, we saw advanced effects on GC, nobody using on the Wii)

Yeah, we did use the TEV stages, which is essentially the graphic hardware of the Wii has. We did that quite a lot, especially to integrate: we had some real time code which generates them, so the shadows could work with that material like on the fly. That’s it, the way that we managed to get our interesting shadowing system was by manipulating the hardware with the TEV stages. (From scratch) It’s designed very much for the Wii hardware, it’s a custom code written specifically to get high performance out of the hardware.

TEV=Textured Environment Pipeline, Wii and GC's tools for custom creating shaders and textures.

(More on tech) Ric: The level of detail that we’ve got on Wii is probably unparalleled at the moment. It’s thanks to the engine that we’re using, but it also is thanks to the techniques that we’re using, as well. We’re using a lot of instant shading, we’re doing visual calling, so when you go around corners things are added on the fly. We’ve managed to pack in an abnormal amount of data in only 64 MB around, so it’s quite an accomplishment.



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Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:36:13

Overlord Dark Legend HD video


Wow, nice another company pushing the visuals. Reminds me of Fable. Watch the HQ trailer.

We Ski and Snowboard tricks video shows really clearly normal mapping all over the place.

Edited: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:53:19

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Wed, 11 Feb 2009 12:47:48

http://wii.ign.com/articles/953/953134p1.html

Hi Matt, or whoever is reading this. Has there been any indication, after the closing of Factor 5, if the rumored Kid Icarus game has ceased development (or has it transferred into Nintendo's developers hands)? What about the supposed Superman game that had me salivating at the mouth? Have you heard anything like somebody picking it up, much like Atari picked up Ghostbusters?

I'm sure there are at least a couple of readers looking at this and scratching their heads because most of this stuff falls into rumor territory. Let me quickly recap. A while ago, a source of mine saw Kid Icarus for Wii, developed by Factor 5. As usual, as soon as I heard about it, I began hinting about the news in podcasts and the like because I am a blabbermouth. Soon after, another site – think it was ***** -- ran rumored art from Kid Icarus Wii. And we've seen a few more bits of 3D character models since then. All the while, it's never been confirmed officially and, as any 11-year-old Casamassina-hating douchebag on NeoGAF will tell you, I supposedly made it all up, etc. Thing is, I didn't. Don't really have anything to gain by creating fiction. Not getting paid by the word over here.

If Factor 5 had an official Kid Icarus contract with Nintendo, though, I don't think the company would be in the state it's in – completely unresponsive. Today, I called president Julian Eggebrecht, as I do weekly, for any sort of news on what's going on over there following all kinds of rampant rumors of the studio's demise, and once more only got his answering message. Moreover, I couldn't even leave a message because his mailbox is full. Now, if funding was still coming in for such a project, I have to think F5 would be operational in some capacity, which – and this is anecdotally given I can't get a hold of anyone over there – it doesn't seem to be.

The other possibility is that Factor 5 started on Kid Icarus in good faith that a great playable would land it the contract with Nintendo. Not out of the question given the company's relationship with the Big N already. Remember, it was involved with GameCube early and co-developed the audio technology. It also pushed the system harder than most with titles like Rogue Squadron and was at one time officially partnered with Nintendo – Iwata even announced it at a long-ago E3 – to create some first-party game. It was Pilot Wings and unfortunately that too never went anywhere.

Now, supposing F5 was officially on board with Nintendo for Kid Icarus before all of this Superman / Brash Entertainment nonsense supposedly obliterated the company, yeah, the chances are damned good the project would continue. But I'm inclined to believe the opposite is true – that it never had the contract and that Kid Icarus for Wii might go down with the company. Certainly doesn't mean we won't ever see Kid Icarus for Wii because Nintendo definitely knows gamers want to see the return of the franchise – just might happen with another studio.

-- Matt


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Wed, 11 Feb 2009 14:18:01
In other words: he made it up.

    Children, our lives have been gongs striking; clamour and boasting; cries of despair; blows on the nape of the neck in gardens.

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