The Medium dev Bloober Team talks about how the studio achieved this achievement, as the Xbox Series X | S is trying to get the first suitable console exclusively.
Moderate Bloober Team’s most ambitious game ever. Not only is it the biggest developer product, but it’s also dedicated to the next-generation Xbox console that will appear when they are virtually non-existent. Talk to medium lead designer Wojciech Piejko and producer Jacek Zięba to think about what pressure this puts on the company, what they think about the Game Pass, and what they think of Microsoft’s next-generation console, the Xbox Series S. I checked if it was there.
“I think it’s arguably the most ambitious because I know this dual screen and all those mechanics, but it’s also like our biggest game in all respects,” says Piejko. “Here we switch from first-person to third-person. Of course, we need more animations, etc. that we know weren’t that powerful as a studio. We, as you know. , Always trying to push myself further. “
The 2016 first-person horror game Layers of Fear shows its potential in the studio, and the game has grown thicker since then. “From the Layers of Fear, I’ll use The Observer to add to the formula and add dialog choices. For example, Rutger Hauer looked great, so I used an external IP and, of course, talked about Blair Witch. I think The Medium is like a studio leap, not a step, but a jump. Switch perspectives to create more cinematic experiences, cutscenes and much more. Well, I think we’re now leveling up as a studio and entering a new territory, “Adds Piejko. Adding Layers of Fear 2 to the mix, The Medium is the fifth new release from the studio.
Medium may be Bloomer’s latest title, but the team tells me it’s been repeated many times before its release. Being a kind of platformer at one point and then a first-person title, it’s definitely great for Bloomer developers to see the game finally in the hands of the players.
Zięba agrees that The Medium is a big moment for Bloomer. “Each game before that was like evolution. Yeah, we add to what we had. At The Medium, it was like a revolution, like a company dream project. Of course, it was. It’s been under construction for years, and now we can do it and realize our destiny. “
As a relatively unknown studio in 2015, Zięba and Piejko can’t exaggerate the importance of creating high-quality games that move the studio forward.
“Each game has opened the door,” says Zięba. “Layers of Fear opened one door, the observer, which allowed us to work with Polish actors and Rutger Hauer. I think it wouldn’t have been possible without the Layers of Fear. And the observer , Opened the door to the first collaboration between Blairwich’s Lions Gate and Microsoft, which opened the door to significant collaboration with Microsoft. “
“Microsoft has a great connection with us,” Piejko adds. “And when we showed The Medium, they said,’Oh, cool, this is cool, this looks really different from our portfolio.’ Currently there are no horror games, so I think it fits perfectly into your portfolio plan. “
Zięba remembers the moment when fans recognized the work in the studio. “When we were in America, I bought a calling card or something and a man asked us,” Who are you? ” We are a game developer and we talked about Blairwich, a recently developed game, and he was impressed. “
A little fame didn’t go to the studio’s overall head. Piejko has a clear idea of where the studio lies in the landscape of the gaming industry. “We don’t think of our studio as a triple A studio right now. We’re lower than this, we know this. Improvements to improve mechanics such as games. We know there’s a lot of room, but yeah, I think we’re good storytellers. Build an atmosphere. This is our flagship and build better games around it. I’m trying. “Then he jokes that he wants to get the tools that Naughty Dog uses by calling them” masters. “
Zięba agrees that the studio still has room to grow and achieve bigger things, and it doesn’t know where the ceiling is. “We want to make the best story possible in the game. When you see something on us, it may not be the best choice, but of course we I still want to evolve, so I don’t know. A place where you can end, a place where you can say “quit”.
Much of The Medium’s development took place during the pandemic, and Piejko is clearly proud of the studio to overcome, along with other obstacles that had to be hurdled. “We made the game during the pandemic, but a lot of bad things happened during development,” he says. “Creating a game with two words at the same time was really challenging for us, because it was the first time we didn’t know what to do with some things. That’s because in normal development. No. I need a shooting mechanism. Let’s see how the best shooters do this. Then you can reverse engineer something and design it. Medium It requires a lot of iterations, like blind iterations, because of “what to do with this”. “I don’t know, let’s try this and this and this,” we will see. “
“Creating a medium was, as you know, a leap into the unknown to find a new land in a way, and we found it, and we are happy,” Zięba said. I will add.
Developing a new console generation, in this case two consoles for the Xbox Series X and Series S, may seem to add to the studio problem, but thankfully this doesn’t seem to be the case at all. ..
“Each generation of consoles is getting closer and closer to the PC,” says Zięba. “With the structure and everything, with the new console and the Xbox Series X and S, the engine is equipped with it and the architecture is normal, so it wasn’t a trivial task, PS3? It’s not like anything. No, in most cases it was a really fun experience. “
The pair agreed that it might have been possible to develop The Medium on older hardware, but it would have to be actually created on a new console and PC in order to be significantly reduced and to realize the vision. I will. But what about Microsoft’s less powerful Xbox Series S? Where does this depend on the power of the next generation? The message from the team is clear. Don’t worry about the small console being relatively low on power.
“Yes, I played the whole game on Series S like a week ago, but I was impressed because I thought I played on Series X,” says Zięba. “Someone told me,’Man, this is Series S.'” what! Great, great. Of course, S doesn’t support 4K, so there is no 4K. Of course, the X is twice as powerful, so it may look a little different from the Series X, but the overall game experience and fun is the same. I own a Series S and can’t wait to play at home. “
“Yes, the graphics are still great, because they have a really cool graphic art style and I love the art style of the game. It’s lower resolution, but it’s still the same great experience,” Adds Piejko.
“The S architecture in this little box is great,” says Zięba, before moving on to a completely different, more powerful and expensive beast, the gaming PC. The Medium system specs frowned a bit, but maybe they shouldn’t have thought that this was a game built specifically for next-generation hardware.
“As you know, we’re rendering two worlds at the same time. People need very powerful hardware to render two worlds using HDR and raytracing,” Piejko explains. To do. “We don’t want to put the specs on the internet and say,’Yes, it will work smoothly with your card,’ and that’s not true. Our game flows between the worlds. You may be in just one world, or you may be in two at the same time. If you launch the game and initially have only one world, when the game renders two, you’re in a two-word situation. I know the frame will drop, but of course that’s not good. The requirements are high because the specifications need to be set for the situations that require the most power. “
Thanks to our partnership with Microsoft, players no longer have to buy the game (although it’s still an option). The Medium will be released on the Game Pass for Xbox and PC. This is a service that Zięba believes will provide great value to consumers and expand the range of games in the studio.
“Yes, you know. In a way, it’s a double-edged sword. It can make the game available to millions of players. Players are well worth the money and can play a lot of great games. “I will,” says Zięba. “I know it’s not a streaming service because I still need to install the game (although streaming is part of the game path for a particular title), but it’s similar to Netflix’s approach. We all consume People, developers, and others don’t know how it ends. “If Zięba is concerned, the service will be extended to” run many games at once on the platform. ” “It will be. He doesn’t believe this is a problem right now. “For now. As it is today, it’s great.”
Bloober finally released The Medium on January 28th for people to play. So what’s next for the studio? Not ready to reveal yet.
“We never know,” says Piejko. “It’s as usual, okay, so what’s next? Maybe Observer 2 or maybe … we’re always wondering. So we haven’t closed the door, but now By the way, we can only say that there is darkness behind those doors. “
And what about the current Xbox console exclusivity? Will Medium appear on the PS5, just as Blairwich finally appeared on the PS4? “For now, we’re focusing on the Xbox and PC,” says Zięba. We have to wait for it.
Medium will be available for Xbox Series X, Series S, and PCs (Steam, Epic Games Store) on January 28th and will be part of the Game Pass for all of these platforms.