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Canadian Developers Speak Out!

by Max Lake - June 12, 2001, 9:46 pm PDT
Source: MacLeans

Information and commentary from several Canadian developers preparing for the next console war, including Silicon Knights & Denis Dyack!

Macleans just ran an article covering the game industry and prominent Canadian developers, including Denis Dyack of Silicon Knights! The report gives a nice sampling of some of Canada’s top development teams and how each are preparing for the next round of console wars, whether it be for Nintendo, Microsoft and/or Sony. Although there is little new information, it is still a fantastic read.

The article begins by describing Silicon Knights, its preparations for GameCube and info on its ultra-passionate president, Denis Dyack. In one of his comments, Denis mentions an almost unbelievable advantage of moving Eternal Darkness from N64 to GameCube:

"We found that going from a cartridge on the N64 to the GameCube, the load times were much faster," says Dyack. "We had to put an eighth of a second delay in because the cognitive response for people was too jarring."

Along with SK and Denis, the article looks at other Canadian companies, including Bioware Corp., and speaks with Greg Zeschuk. Bioware is best know as the team behind Baldur’s Gate and are currently working on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the Star Wars massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG). Zeschuk remains circumspect about which of the three platforms -- GameCube, PS2 or Xbox -- Bioware will launch the game on next year. "You want to pick the winner," says Zeschuk. "You don't want to put all this money into a big Star Wars game and not be doing it on the right platform."

For the record, let it be known that there are rumors that BioWare’s will be coming to GameCube and is the rumored second Star Wars title we heard whispers of before E3…

There is also word from Ubi Soft, which primarily consists of an anecdote from Yannis Mallat, an Ubi Soft producer, oversaw development of Rayman Advance. It turns out Ubi Soft built Rayman Advance from a very early prototype of GBA hardware and finished the game by March 21st. Unfortunately, the hardware had changed and now the game didn’t work. The hardware specs had changed and now the game was much too dark, requiring all the graphics to be redone. "I wanted to cry," says Mallat.

The article touches on PS2 and X-Box but concludes with a very bright outlook on Nintendo, and even speaks to Nintendo of Canada:

But don't count out GameCube. Even if the Nintendo console, powered by a graphics chip made by Markham, Ont.-based ATI Technologies Inc., is a year late in its launch and faces a head-to-head retail confrontation with Xbox next Christmas, it remains part of a gaming powerhouse. Nintendo, after all, is responsible for bringing the world icons such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon. And while GameCube doesn't play DVDs like the other two, Nintendo of Canada president Peter MacDougall says the platform will offer a pure experience. "We haven't been encumbered," says MacDougall, "by DVD movie delivery, or audio CDs, or a slicer-dicer."

Thanks to Herodotus in our forum for pointing this article out!

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