E3 2008: The developer's view from Team 17

Team 17's Martyn Brown gives us the developer's take on E3 2008
Team 17's Martyn Brown gives us the developer's take on E3 2008

TechRadar spoke with renowned UK games developer Martyn Brown from Wakefield-based Team 17 Software. The soft-spoken Yorkshireman behind the legendary Worms franchise, gave his views on this year's show and the announcements from Sony,





Martyn tells us that he didn't attend E3 this time, for the first time in years, "partly because I didn't think it was up to much last year, partly because I've recently been in LA and finally, because I'm heading out to Seattle for Gamefest/Casual Connect this week."

He was, however, like many of us, glued to the internet watching all the press conferences streamed live online.

Microsoft's strong but no Halo

"Of the three conferences, I felt Microsoft showed the strongest all-round, despite potentially avoiding the hard-core who have so far made the 360 what it is, by neglecting to show the new Halo title," says Brown.

Of course, 'Bungiegate' as it's already known (probably) has already been investigated and covered beyond reason. Suffice to say that at some point very soon, Bungie will be making SOME announcement!

Games aside, what did Brown think of the new-look Xbox experience?

"The new dashboard looks very interesting as do the avatars, although a little 'Mii-too'!

"As a developer with a strong vested interest in supporting Live Arcade, we're keen to ensure that any forthcoming titles make the most of the new feature set and the 'Prime Time' [game shows] idea looks really cool."

The other major 'non-gaming' announcement from Microsoft was the Netflix movie rental deal, which Brown is less impressed with.

"I still don't buy (ironically) the movie rental onto console simply because of size/download time and I'd rather do that with a dedicated piece of hardware (funnily enough, I use a PS3 for that!).

"If anything, I got the impression that Microsoft went for casual by the throat, with a watchful eye on the market expanded by the Wii, but it remains to be seen if they'll capture that market to a large degree with their software offerings, which still lack some kind of gesture-driven controller – something I actually expected to be revealed and announced by both Microsoft and Sony."

It seems that those gesture-driven controllers are being left to third parties such as Motus and In2Games (on which note – we expect to be hearing more about these new motion-control technologies from both companies in the very near future).

Sony needs Home service

"I've had the feeling that PSN is quickening its pace with regard to catching up to where XBLA is, but it's still some way off as I still get the impression that online doesn't feel part of the PS3 experience when you turn it on (on 360, it's omni-present)," says Brown.

So what can Sony do to change this state of affairs? Is the (much-delayed, much-hyped) forthcoming release of PS3's Home service the answer?

"Anything they can do to stimulate this is vital in my opinion although I would imagine it'd take a completely new firmware approach to nail it and right now, that doesn't look on the radar.

"I am still not sure about Home and I'd be worried that if it's not out in the next couple of quarters, appetite for it may diminish."

As for the games, while Sony made a number of new announcements at E3, Brown feels that it was "a reasonable line up but no real killer app," adding that, "God Of War 3 could have been it, but it was a fleeting mention that is obviously some way off."

Overall though, Brown is happy with the direction Sony is heading, adding: "as a machine, the PS3 is starting to get some real quality titles and as a developer it's a much healthier situation to have two strong next-gen options."

Adam Hartley