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On The Phone – Stefan Pettersson From Expansive Worlds

Posted by on May 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I had an opportunity to sit down and have a nice talk with Stefan Pettersson, the CEO of Expansive Worlds. We talked about the amazing hunting sim called “The Hunter” and where things are going in the future.

After the jump, I have the conversation paraphrased along with the entire conversation in audio format.

Stefan was extremely gracious in allowing us to take up his precious time (especially precious to me since I kept him from working on my hunting game) and being very open and forthcoming with us.

Here’s a trimmed down version of what went on

Rob : Of all of the different types of games you could have produced, what motivated you to produce a hunting game?
Stefan : In 2002, a company I used to work for did a pitch to produce the Cabela’s “Dangerous Hunt” games. Then another company was started, “Avalanche Studios”. They are known for massive environments and gaming worlds with believable day/night cycles and environment. Their engine fits huge realistic world so combining that technology with a hunting game really fit in place.

Rob : How many people are working on this project?
Stefan : 7
Rob : Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

We went on to talk about the team and the things they are working on.

Rob : Are there any plans to expand in to multiplayer?
Stefan : Yes, it is really something we want to do…a cooperative multiplayer where you may have 4 people walking in the same instance of the world and communicating with voice. It’s something we are preparing for and our plan is to start working on it this year. Doing multiplayer is something we feel is very important but, at the same time it’s a huge investment.

Here we went on to talk about the issues of deciding which parts of the game should be focused on. The chicken or the egg, the cart or the horse. Multiplayer is important but is it more important than expansions and animals and levels, OH MY!

Rob : I heard you’re having trouble with the moose.
Stefan : There’s always trouble with the moose.
Rob : Rumor is that you’re having issues with the antlers.

At this point, Stefan set off on a discussion of the scoring and modeling of the antlers of the various animals. I don’t dare attempt to transcribe or paraphrase any of this but it basically boils down to the engine they’ve designed and how it interacts with the game and graphics and random generation of animals. It’s certainly worth a listen!

Rob : I’ve been seeing fish in the water, lately. Are there any plans to include a fishing simulator with the game?
Stefan : Yes, this is something we’ve thought about. It’s not so much about finding new ideas as it is finding the time to implement them. Including a fishing aspect is intriguing because we have the perfect world for it.

Here, we discuss the “stupid” fish, the possibilities of fishing within the game and how that could be implemented, and me wanting to shoot deer from a boat. Also, “bow fishing”

Rob : Do you guys have any other grand plans for the game that you can talk about at this point?
Stefan : Yes. In terms of content, we’re working on the moose. We also would like to extend the black bear hunting by adding bait, which is a step toward a persistent world. Today we have a tree stand and a ground blind. We would like a player to be able to mount a tree stand or leave a ground blind and quit the game and when they come back it would still be there. With the bait, we want a player to be able to drop a bait and this would effect how the bears move and interact in the game.

Stefan went on to talk about other things like adding positionable tents, changes to the server side and website including achievements, enhancing the competitions and leaderboards, user created competitions, longer competitions, in-game updates and other good things!

Rob : Are you planning on going to any of the big expos like E3 or GDC
Stefan : Yes. This year we won’t be going to E3 because we are too busy but we try to visit some of the big expos. We actually visited Harrisburg in Pennsylvania for the Eastern Sports outdoor show, the largest show in North America. We had a booth manned by people from the community and that shows the dedication of the community. It was a great opportunity to get to know the American Hunting industry from the inside.

Here we went on to talk about the partnerships they have with hunting federations and organizations, the push toward ethical hunting, trolls, PETA and haters.

Rob : Do you have any other projects in the works or is this your main focus?
Stefan : This is our main focus. In the long run, of course, we also hope to build other games on the same technology but right now it’s 100% “The Hunter”

Rob : Can you get me an autographed photo of the Swedish bikini team?
Stefan : I think we can do that!

After this we spoke for a couple of minutes about the unique challenges presented in the game and how it can easily make even hardcore FPS lovers fall in love.

If you’d like to listen to the discussion, in full, click the play button below!

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  • Kirk212

    TheHUNTER is the most realistic and beautiful game I’ve ever played:)