EA Originals Developers Discuss the Possible Impact of Google Stadia on Game Design
EA developers think there is a future in game streaming hardware, like the upcoming Google Stadia -- here are their quotes about what that future looks like.
Two days ago, EA discussed a new string of EA Originals partnerships with studios like A Way Out’s Hazelight, Fe’s Zoink Games, and Wonderworlds’ Glowmade. Other partnerships highlighted also included Jo-Mei Games for Sea of Solitude, 11bit Studios for Frostpunk and Moonlighter on EA Origin Access, and Velan Studios, a relatively new developer created by the founders of Vicarious Visions. DualShockers attended an event with all of these developers and asked them how they think streaming platforms like Google Stadia will impact the design of narrative games or titles going for more original concepts.
Karthik Bala of Velan Studios, who is currently working with EA on an unannounced multiplayer game that he says isn’t like much else on the market, gave the most thoughtful response. He was both optimistic about Google Stadia while keeping his expectations in check. “I think that it’s going to be another platform initially. I think that just like any other platform, if you are developing directly for it and you really understand the strengths of it, it may take a couple of iterations. My guess is, much like every other console and every other platform, it is going to take developers one or two cycles for developers in general to understand what is unique about it,” he began.
He then went on discuss how things will begin to get much more interesting once we learn what a platform like Google Stadia can do that other platforms can not. “What is really interesting for me as a gamer and as a developer is when we start looking at what can a streaming platform do that a traditional console can’t do. What kind of experiences can you create only on that.” Considering Google Stadia allows things like splitscreen with minimal performance impact with Stream Connect, easily modifiable visuals with Style Transfer ML, and the ability for players to share a specific moment in a game with State Share, there is definitely a ton of potential that is ripe for exploration.
Bala then touched on how Netflix has had a positive impact on the film and television industry creatively, suggesting that the same could eventually happen with Google Stadia. “I think it’s a great interim vehicle for broadening access to a broader group of people who may not otherwise be able to play it. You look at Netflix and everything else with linear video streaming, how awesome is the content that is out there now compared to the dark days of reality TV in the 90s. It’s amazing when you look at all the creators who are able to go after their ideas and find an audience”
The broader audience Stadia can tap into seems to be the most crucial appeal. Bala pointed out that “it is going to help bring it to a broader audience, and then creatively it is going to start opening up new kinds of experiences. And you’re going to get some really interesting hybrid stuff as well.”
Jonny Hopper from Glowmade, a studio that is currently working on a game about a girl and her customizable robot called RustHeart, agreed with Karthik. Hopper pointed out how game streaming doesn’t mean other gaming avenues will start to die as some people seem to think.
“They are not mutually exclusive as well. Steaming services don’t mean the death of PC games, it’s not the death of console games. Just like subscription and paid games, they don’t cannibalize each other, it’s just more people who are going to play the game in a different way and I think that is the really important thing. You make a narrative game for whatever platform it is still the same game, other people are going to play it,” Jonny Hopper explained.
Karthik Bala ended the discussion about game streaming by explaining that the uniqueness of games available on Google Stadia should be driven by the creatives. “I think the important thing to consider from a development point of view is that the creative should dictate how we are utilizing the platforms because when it goes the other way it usually turns out pretty terrible. As long as the creative is leading it and you are looking at it as another set of tools, it is going to lead to interesting places,” he concluded.
As Google Stadia rolls out throughout 2020, it will definitely be interesting to see how games take advantage of its unique features. The most creative ideas in the industry typically come from indie games, so once those kinds of titles start flowing on to the platform, whether they be EA Originals ideas or not, we should see some interesting concepts that could only be done on a streaming-based platform. Google Stadia will begin rolling out in November 2019 and if you are curious about what the service will have to offer then you can check out a full list of games confirmed for the platform.