Neverwinter has hit the ground running with the release of the game on PlayStation 4. We had the chance to talk with Producer Ben Bascom about the move to PS4 and consoles in general. See what he had to say in our exclusive interview.
MMORPG: Congratulations on making the move to the PS4 for Neverwinter! Give us some background on the transition.
Ben Bascom: Cryptic has built up a solid fan base over the years. Naturally, as some of these players have transitioned to consoles, they want to bring our games with them. We’ve wanted to provide Neverwinter to console gamers for some time now and when the game was scheduled to release on Xbox One in China, we talked with Perfect World and the timing seemed right for us to start console work.
After Neverwinter made its console debut in China, bringing it to the rest of the world was the next natural step. We really weren’t sure how players would receive a full MMORPG experience on a console, as it wasn’t something that had really been done when we first started working on it. Well, player response has been extremely positive! Since then, we’ve been working diligently to bring Neverwinter to the PS4.
MMORPG: A lot of MMOs are seeing new life on console this year. What is the response from Neverwinter’s fan base to this change?
BB: Our fans are really excited for Neverwinter. New players are constantly coming in on all platforms and other players are sticking around to play all the new content.
On the PS4, you are going to get a ton of content and we’re going to bring you up to the current story really fast – so fasten your seatbelts!
MMORPG: When bringing the game over, what were the challenges to adapting the code to the PS4?
BB: Our single biggest issue was in updating our graphics engine. It took months before we could see anything on PS4 and when we did, it was just the UI. A few weeks later, we were finally able to run around Protector’s Enclave but we had a long way to go before it was playable. Normally, we’d also face big challenges with UI, but we’ve been working on those things with the Xbox One version for a while now.
Our graphics team has done great work on getting the game in top shape for the PS4 launch and we’re really excited for the full experience PS4 owners are getting.
MMORPG: Can you give us a hint on when we will see content like the Storm Giant update moving over to the console?
BB: I can’t give you a date, but our plan is to get this to console as soon as possible. We know players are excited for it, so that’s our primary drive right now. Additionally, it really is easier for everyone on our team when we keep the console and PC releases close together.
MMORPG: What about content like the Foundry on the PS4? Is there a chance of seeing it for in the near future for those players?
BB: We have a lot of talented fans and players who have created some incredible content in the Foundry. The Foundry, as it exists on PC, is unlikely to make a full transition to console. We’re looking at ways to bring over some of this experience. but the console platforms have a lot of rules about user-generated content that have to be carefully reviewed. Our console solution is unlikely to release any time soon.
MMORPG: Can you outline the cadence of the Neverwinter plan for updates? Will it be like: PC, then Xbox, then PS4? How do you plan on rolling them out?
BB: We currently have a cadence of releasing on the PC, then releasing on Xbox One about six to eight weeks later. There will be a little catching up for PS4, but once it catches up, we hope to have both console platforms releasing in that same six to eight week window following the PC release of new content.
MMORPG: What about the possibility of linking characters from the PC to the PS4 using the ARC system? This way players can copy over their favorite heroes.
BB: Currently we don’t have any plans to allow transferring of characters between platforms. While the platforms are similar, there are minor differences that could cause characters to not work or in worst cases, bring down game servers.
I’m not saying that won’t ever change in the future, but it’s not in our plans right now.
MMORPG: Once you launch, what are your plans with Neverwinter now that it is hosted on three game systems?
BB: The console community has been fantastic for Neverwinter. Moving forward, we are committed to the challenge of making a great experience that the communities on each of the systems will enjoy.