E3: The Conduit

Every so often a really good looking game comes along that just does not receive the attention it deserves. During E3 (On Wednesday the 16th) I was eating lunch in the room designated as the “cafeteria” where ESA (or someone else?) provides free food and drinks for all the media peeps. On this particular day we were running a little late and all the tables were taken so we decided to sit on the floor against the wall and enjoy our much needed pre-packaged free lunch. While sitting and enjoying our meal suddenly four guys come up and start setting up a small flatscreen TV and a Wii that looked incredibly modded.

Turns out two of the guys were from High Voltage Software and were giving the other two guys (who happened to be media) a preview and hands on of The Conduit. They turned to us and said “Hey, feel free to watch and check it out” as they got everything setup and going. At the time I had absolutely no idea what this game was about but I decided to watch anyway while one of the guys from High Voltage Software began playing. Immediately I realized how amazing the graphics were for it being on the Wii. Second I noticed how incredibly cool the weapons and gameplay appeared to be. Third I realized how awesome the control customization is in the game. Then I had to know more.

It turns out that the guys did not have any floor space or room in the Convention Center. They were showing the game at one of the hotels nearby which actually was not all the uncommon – even Bioware was showing Dragon Age: Origins at the Sheraton. Anyway, the guy from HVS told us all about the game and was incredibly down to earth and quite the opposite of some of these devs who think a bit much of themselves. Truthfully when I first saw these guys I thought they were media because they had that “you’re one of us guys” air about them.

The gist of The Conduit is that it’s a classic alien invasion story where you’re trying to save Washington DC from an invasion. No wait, don’t stop reading! I know what you’re thinking but trust me it’s not as cliche as it sounds. Here’s a quick rundown of the story:

In the near future, Washington, D.C begins to experience several strange phenomena. A mysterious flu-like virus, “The Bug,” sweeps through the region, causing high-security buildings to be left understaffed as government workers stay home to try to avoid catching the disease. Months after the initial outbreak, a terrorist attack destroys part of Washington Monument, and only weeks afterwards on September 11, a presidential candidate is assasinated by another terrorist cell disguised as her Secret Service detail, heightening national tensions.

Following these alarming events, a secretive organization known as the Trust realizes that the capital has become the epicenter for an extraterrestrial attack by an alien race identified as the Drudge. “John Adams,” the enigmatic commander of the Trust, directs a newly inducted Trust agent codenamed “Mr. Ford” to infiltrate the area and find the truth behind the sudden attack. Along the way, Mr. Ford must overcome the onslaught of the Drudge, a group of traitor Trust members led by a man calling himself “Prometheus,” and virus-infected humans under the Drudge’s control. In the end, Mr. Ford will discover the horrifying truth of how far the conspiracy reaches.

The game is using the Quantum3 Engine which allows the game to utilize pipelines and shaders and… well it makes it look like a game that belongs on the Xbox 360 or PS3 while still being exclusive for the Wii. The weapons that we got to see were some of the best thought up out there. One gun in particular uses these glowing orbs and the guy peels back this layer of alien skin or something and puts a new orb in to reload. The animation was really cool. Another one of the guns apparently needs grubs or slugs or something else really alienish. One gun in particular sounds very cool – it has two crosshairs and when you fire it sends out two projectiles. If one sticks into something (or someone) you can use the motion controls of the Wii to get the other crosshair’s projectile to wrap around. We were also told that The Conduit has all the usual machine guns.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this game. For the first time ever I might actually enjoy a Wii shooter.

Special thanks to creative directors Eric Nofsinger and Matt Corso for being in the right place at the right time – the E3 makeshift cafeteria – and giving me the opportunity to learn about your fantastic game.

Recommended material if this sounds interesting:
IGN’s E3 preview of The Conduit
The Conduit manual pictures
The Conduit Trailer

  • Wow, I would have never noticed this game had you not mentioned it! Not only does the game sound fun from your little writeup, but I’m glad to see some devs not be lazy with the Wii’s lesser power.

  • Wow, awesome. I just bought a Wii for the girl (she loves Mario and Wii Sports and…Mario), and other than Okami I’ve been digging for other games I might enjoy. This might foot the bill.

    I guess I’m glad you sat on the floor for lunch. =)

  • I’m a little concerned about your comment of it being a ‘heavily modded’ Wii. That implies that in its current form it can’t run on standard Wii hardware. Will they be able to get the game to a releasable state on the Wii with the graphics they showed off at E3, or were the nice graphics only possible on their modded system, and used for promotional purposes only?

  • @Graktar Metroid pulled it off. I have been looking for a traditional shooter to make it with great graphics and this one looks very very promising. Thanks for the heads up Keen.

  • @Graktar: My mistake, I meant to imply that it was probably a developer’s Wii with things for debugging and that sort. It had a different faceplate on it and such.

  • Good times! That cafeteria story reminds me …

    I remember when i was at E3 a few years back. We sat down in the cafeteria area, and started chitchatting with this old fart sitting at the table next to us.

    Soon, we found out it was “Wild” Bill Stealey! Yes! the man whose name i’ve read on countless game manuals and in-game credit rolls sat 4 feet away from me.

    He was talking about some MMO naval strategy game idea he had, to be run over cellphones dunno if anything came of it. He also tried to get us to play WarBirds. He scoffed at me when i said i liked Aces High better 🙂

    good times indeed.

  • The game looks like an average FPS, but that’s a good thing if you only have a Wii.

  • It actually sounds good but I have an inability to play anything else then a MMO. I wonder why that is.