Interview / Jokes, games, and chimps; a day in the life of Wideload Games

Whenever a game developer decides to make titles based off a wise cracking zombie, or animals running for president, you can suspect Wideload Games had something to do with it. Based out of Chicago, Illinois, Wideload Games was created by Alexander Seropian who also was one of the founding fathers of Bungie and one of the minds behind the original Halo. They are responsible for the original Xbox title Stubbs the Zombie, and the recently released Hail to the Chimp.

We got the chance to speak with Alexander Seropian and the head of Wideload Shorts, Scott Corley. Wideload Shorts focuses on developing games exclusively for digital distribution. In our conversation we covered the general ideas they have for the company as a whole, how the gaming industry is changing, as well as how their own gaming habits have changed. Read about it all below.

That VideoGame Blog’s Jeremy Hill (TVGB): It’s been a lot of years since you were last with Bungie. Do you still keep in contact with your old crew?

Alexander Seropian (AS): Sure.

TVGB: What do you guys usually talk about? Do you talk about new Halo stuff?

AS: We talk about how we used to get drunk all the time. Just kidding. You know some of those guys I spent 10 or 15 years working with. We have more in common than just videogames. So we talk about the kinds of things you’d expect us to talk about as college buddies.

TVGB: Do you like the direction they’ve taken the Halo series?

AS: Yeah I do. I still play those games.

TVGB: So what was your goal when you created Wideload Games?

AS: Well what I wanted to do was create a new kind of developer that could be independent, work on original games and could survive. The idea was to establish a new kind of development model that could support a team of talented people who would come up with game ideas, prototype them, reproduce them, and basically work with other developers and contractors or studios to get the project all the way through to production. Kind of similar to how a film is made but a little different. So we can get that way by maintaining creative focus which is kind of what Wideload is all about.

TVGB: Scott, when did you join Wideload?

Scott Corley (SC): I joined Wideload at the end of 2006.

TVGB: And you head up Wideload Shorts right?

SC: Yes that’s right. We created Wideload Shorts shortly after I started here at Wideload.

TVGB: What’s the first game you’ll bring out from there?

SC: We actually put one game out that’s been released on one platform, known as Instant Action, which is Garage Games online platform and we did a game called Cyclomites which was about making the simplest game we could possibly make. We did that and-

AS: Failed it!

SC: Failed it. But that was the first Shorts game that we took through this process of prototyping. That game started off a single-player, very simple game, and we expanded it to multiplayer, versus, and co-op. And we distributed that through the Instant Action platform just because it was a good fit for us. For the next project, we kicked our little creative thing into gear again and created the idea for our new game which we’re working on right now.

TVGB: Is this going to be coming out on PSN, WiiWare, or Xbox LIVE?

SC: The new game – we can’t really say too much about it, but generally the platforms we’ve targeted in Shorts are exactly those you’ve just mentioned. Xbox LIVE Arcade, PLAYSTATION Network and WiiWare. And Cyclomites ended up being a PC only release, so it’s really sort of a side effect of how the project came about. Generally our targets are the downloadable console platforms.

TVGB: One of the things I thought was interesting when I first heard about Wideload Shorts was that since you only deal with distributing games online, do you think there will be a time where doing that will be the only way to get games?

SC: I personally do think that. But I thought that for a long time and it hasn’t happened yet. So I think it’ll definitely get bigger over time. Getting stuff on disc is still the easiest way to get a whole boatload of data from game developers to someone’s house. And that will probably stay the same for a while. Getting 50 gigs into your house is pretty easy on disc, but not so easy over broadband. Where do you store all that? But I think it’s a combination of the storage technology and the online bandwidth getting up to speed. And also I think game players are starting to realize that a lot of downloadable software has its pluses and minuses. On the plus side it’s convenient to be able to switch between games without having to pull discs off the bookshelf, and you don’t have to keep them from getting scratched and so on. People still like going to buy stuff from the store. I like going and buying stuff from the store so there’s a little bit of a thrill there that’s lost on the download side. But no matter what happens, I’m not going to try to predict what’s going to happen, but we know for sure it’s going to be a bigger and bigger deal.