Of all the genres of games available across PC and consoles, strategy games are quite likely the least console-friendly of all. Nevertheless, this didn't stop 11 Bit Studios in designing Frostpunk to be as easy to play on PS4 as on PCs.
Writing in the PlayStation blog, Frostpunk's lead game designer Kuba Stokalski wanted to clear up a few important points ahead of tomorrow's launch. Seeing as how we're looking at a simultaneous PS4 and Xbox One launch, it's safe to assume his words apply to both consoles.
He said that 11 Bit well aware that console habits differ from PC starting with the most basic one - the couch. This almost exclusively means gamepads, which means strategies are often more trouble than they're worth, but Stokalski thinks the team nailed it with Frostpunk.
"The mere port was not an option for us. UI guys basically got back to the drawing board. They re-designed all the menu screens and icons, put in some new HUD elements and re-scaled those that were left", he said.
What they ended up on are radial menus, which make a lot of sense from the controller perspective, not to mention that Frostpunk is pretty big on circles, so it's a win-win.
Admittedly, navigating Frostpunk's choices and sub-menus is "a pleasure" using PlayStation 4's controller, and if this is indeed so - console owners are getting a strategy gem they're bound to remember.
Stokalski stressed that instead of simplifying core game concepts, which is what many devs end up doing, making gamepads work is a matter of intuitiveness, or in other words - research and iteration.
"That's what we did. For example, we have over 50 types of buildings in Frostpunk. So we sorted them into groups. Like people-related buildings with tents, child shelter or fight arena, or those used for health purposes like medical post and infirmary", he wrote. Coal gathering buildings are and for other industries.
PS4's L and R buttons have been put to use as well, making it easier to navigate all of Frostpunk's menus, but Stokalski says he's most fond of the R2 quick menu. By holding R2 when a building is highlighted, you can tweak the workforce without a hitch.
"We truly feel that we succeeded in the quest of making the strategy game smooth and enjoyable experience on PlayStation 4 and we can’t wait for 11th October when console players will be able to play Frostpunk", he concluded.