Let me clear the air a bit. I'm Adam Isgreen (mods feel free to verify), the guy talking in the interview.
My bad for not correcting Nick immediately on remaster vs. re-release. We had a fire drill go off during the interview (random, yes), and that certainly disrupted the flow of the conversation, as we picked up in the middle after I could get back in the building.
My personal story on PD is that I missed it on the original Xbox. I'm pretty ashamed of that since I adore all of Futatsugi-san's games, have all of the Panzers in both Japanese and English, including Saga (SEGA GIVE IT TO CODE MYSTICS!), and I somehow missed this game.
I first played it after hearing Phil mention that he constantly gets asked about it by press / fans on Twitter. Grabbed it on 360 BC. After the first hour I thought "what is all the fuss about?". It starts slow and doesn't pick up until you get past Chapter 2 and can build arsenals (decks), which can be a good two hours into the game. Once that happens in campaign, and when you start to play multiplayer, this light goes on and you realize how deep and amazing this game is at its heart. 13 years and there's no perfect deck to the game. Stick skill and deck planning are equally as important. Teamwork is insanely rewarding. There's a skill that does anything you can possibly imagine you could do in arena-based combat.
Consider me converted. I get it now. More people need to grok this game. I'm part of the cult, and that's OK, because it's a great cult to be in.
The game is a re-release of the 2004 game with improvements that were possible to do without having final source code. I get that many just don't care about that point (should you need to?) but it is what it is and it is a huge deal to not have access to source yet try to improve things anyway. Could we have done more if we had working final source code? Yes, without a doubt, but that wasn't the case.
Let me add that Code Mystics (the development team) are absolute ninjas. This was a 2004 4:3 game. They cracked open and rewrote the renderer, fixed the culling (making the screen display 16x9 is only the first part of the issue), added LIVE support, enabled easy balance tuning, got cross-play working, re-enabled hundreds of custom shaders and VFX (DX8 to DX11 is not a fun conversion, I've learned), made UI changes, and got the framerate to a massively stable 30 FPS on any machine / platform, all while not being able to truly modify the game at its core. That is a feat. Likely you have to be in development to appreciate that, but it's not easy work.
Why isn't it 60 FPS?
The entire engine was built around the game running at 30 FPS. Everything in the code and data is either frames @ 30, assumes 30, or hard-coded to expect 30 FPS.
The frame rate averages 30 FPS now on a wide range of systems. The worst dips we've seen are to 26/27 in certain moments. This is massively improved from the original (for those that played it) which would drop into the teens constantly on destruction events.
Here's PC min-specs:
OS: Windows 10 64-bit
Processor: Intel Core2 Duo E6550 @ 2.33GHz | AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+
Memory: 1 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 | AMD Radeon HD 7750
DirectX: Version 11
Network: Broadband Internet connection
It's an XPA title, so cross-play and cross-saves are supported.
Why original assets?
Because we didn't have source is the major reason, and also because for a 2004 game, it holds up well in comparison to other games from that time. That's subjective of course, but we're trying to capture and preserve what PD was, not re-create it. It was funky, certainly, and that's part of its DNA.
Why wasn't a date / price announced?
We're re-releasing PD because we love its unique gameplay and style. Everyone here at MS wants PD to get a chance to be played, so sometimes dates, price, and how to get it broad exposure is debated a lot. Gold? Not? Free? Not? Other programs? It goes back and forth, and many different groups are in that discussion. The short of it is that we want everyone to be able to play PD, so you can expect it'll be priced accordingly.
OMG there's micro-transactions?!
Yes, to accelerate multiplayer deck building. It is completely optional. The campaign gets you a lot of skills and credits to use just by playing through it. You also earn skills and credits just by playing MP as well. PD already has a skill shop, credits, random "junk" packs, rare skills, and everything you'd seen in games today -- and it did all that in 2004.
There's also free skills and a deck case you get to start MP off with, so that if you don't want to play the campaign, you don't have to.
Graphics are dated, meme.jpg, etc.
Yep! It's a game from 2004. We preserved its look, but really you shouldn't be hung up on looks here because this is a player's game, not a looker's game. Design-wise and mechanically, you will not find another game that plays like it, even today (closest in feeling is MOBAs, actually).
Sometimes (well, OK, often) we make games to make money, but this re-release isn't focused on that. It's about recognizing something unique and novel, and allowing more people to discover it. PD's play - especially multiplayer - is completely unique and (IMO) very, very fun. It never got a chance to prove that on its original (limited) release, so now more people get to discover it, which is all we want out of it.
So I'll simply close by saying play first, then judge. Feel free to tweet me your thoughts once it's out (@Ishmae1) and I'll be happy to discuss it with you.