The Park Interview – Funcom’s Horror Adventure Comes to Consoles
The Park marked Funcom's comeback to single player games, after a pretty long streak of MMORPG releases (Anarchy Online, Age of Conan, The Secret World). The game, a psychological horror adventure in first person view, had a positive reception across the board (including ours - check the full review for more) when it landed on PC in November 2015.
The Park is now set to debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Q2 2016. We've talked with Creative Director Joel Bylos and Chief Technical Officer Fred Richardson (who are also working on Conan Exiles, an open world survival multiplayer game) about these ports and whether we can expect more games like The Park in the future from Funcom.
- Were you surprised by the great reception received by The Park, both by critics and public?
- Joel Bylos: We were very happy that so many people liked The Park. We wanted to tell an interesting story, make something with quite simple gameplay, while exploring a few complex ideas, and at the same time teach us the Unreal engine. All in all, considering the limited time we spent on the game, we are very excited about the great reception of The Park.
- Are you considering whether to make more adventure games in the same setting in the future?
- Joel Bylos: I can’t give specifics on what we are doing just yet. We have several awesome game universes at our disposal and we can use them to make all sorts of games. Stay tuned to learn what they will be!
- The big topic of this year's GDC was certainly the advent of VR devices. Are you interested in adding VR support for platforms like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR to The Park via updates?
- Fred Richardson: At this point in time we are not actively looking to add VR support to The Park. We played around with a few ways we could do this, and decided it might be best to explore these areas in another context, rather than attempting to retrofit support into an existing title. We are watching VR developments closely though, and it is clearly a very exciting development for the gaming industry.
- Do you intend to add DirectX 12 support to The Park on PC, and are you using DX12 for the Xbox One version?
- Fred Richardson: We are not using DX12 for The Park currently on any platform. Improved draw call submission performance would not automatically yield great gains for us in The Park. DX12 is a potentially very powerful API for certain types of scenes, but games that have been written to handle the limitations of older-gen graphics APIs might not benefit from it immediately.
- Unreal Engine 4 now supports the Vulkan API, too. What do you think of it and do you plan to support it?
- Fred Richardson: Vulkan is quite close to DX12, and as such is an interesting API for us moving forwards. Ultimately though, the attractiveness of the API will depend on the platforms we are looking to target, and this will vary from project to project, as well as based on market evolution. We will evaluate for our projects moving forwards if Vulkan makes sense as a target platform on a case by case basis.
- What kind of frame rate/resolution are you targeting for the PlayStation 4 & Xbox One versions of The Park? Did you have to drop some graphics fidelity on either version when compared to PC?
- Fred Richardson: Our targets for The Park are 30+ fps on both platforms, running 1080p on PS4 and a mix of 900p and 1080p on Xbox One. Some graphical settings were tweaked to run on the consoles, mainly foliage draw distance, though generally speaking the visuals should hold up pretty well to the PC version. We feel that the addition of some new features such as controller rumble and the move to the more laid back console play style has benefitted the game overall.
- As a developer, what do you think of Microsoft's new Universal Windows Platform? Are you enticed by its prospects or perhaps you agree with Tim Sweeney's wary stance?
- Fred Richardson: We have not worked extensively with the Universal Windows Platform, so we don't currently have strong opinions on the subject.
- Thank you for your time.