Published on April 10th, 2013 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor

Interview: High Voltage Software Says ‘The Grinder’ Still Possible


Aside from the many big presentations during the Game Developers Conference, there were a few smaller ones worth viewing. The Oculus definitely stole the show with its promise of virtual reality with games, and there were a handful of other booths showcasing new software titles. However, there were other promising showings on the floor that raised my brow even higher, even after playing with the 3D apparatus.

After stopping by High Voltage Software to check out The Conduit HD, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the Nintendo Wii first-person shooter of long ago. It was praised by many, including myself, and now received an HD reworking for the Android platform. So, what else does the multiplatform developer have up its sleeve (still)? How about a little game called, The Grinder.

Check out the interview below featuring High Voltage Software’s Chief Creative Officer, Eric Nofsinger, as he answers the many questions we had for him during the show. The last portion of questions directed at the long disappeared and highly anticipated multiplatform title known as The Grinder.


GAMINGtruth: What has been your favorite part about GDC?

[Eric N.]: My favorite part has got to be showing other gamers our games.  Some of the reactions we get are priceless — also the parties and events.  Drinking on someone else’s dime is a pastime of mine. Oh, yeah, and being accosted by costumed candy mascots and “freemium” taco pushers. I guess that was a lot more than a single favorite.

[GT]: Least favorite part?

[EN]: This is a no-brainer: setup and teardown.  Setting up a booth space and breaking it down sucks the hog.  Pro-tip: when attending a convention, hit people up for swag just before breakdown time. They’ll often give you things because they don’t want to carry crap back with them.

[GT]What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone wanting to get involved with game design?

[EN]: Make some games. Start with UDK and Unity. Also, consume everything.  Books, movies, magazines, games – take it all in.  You really have to be conversant in every aspect of gamer culture to succeed in game design.  It also never hurts to be a scripting badass.

[GT]The Conduit ran on the Quantum3 engine. What’s the latest on this engine? What was used for the HD release of The Conduit?

[EN]: Conduit HD ran on the same Quantum3 engine, with major tweaks from our partners at War Drum Studios.  We were able to eek a lot more out of the tech given the target platform.  With the engine able to scale to just about any platform, it still sees quite a bit of service for our products.

[GT]What do you see in the future for High Voltage Software besides the games seen here at GDC?

[EN]: Obviously, the mobile space is becoming increasingly important.  With the market changing to fit smaller, more bite-sized games, we’re pretty pleased with where we’re at and where we’re going.  We bring super high-quality production and polish to mobile games.  As the future systems kick into gear, we’ll be ready and waiting like a true blooded game apex predator .  Overall, there is a definite “calm before the storm” vibe in the industry as a whole right now, but with a dash of optimism and smidgen of hope.

top down

A look at the top-down version of The Grinder previously intended for the Xbox 360/PS3/PC.

[GT]Speaking in terms of The Grinder, could you revisit what we spoke about the other day (context: Is it still possible, you had mentioned you were waiting for the right time, what might have halted its prior release, Wii U a possibility)?

[EN]: Those are a lot of questions all rolled into one!  The Grinder is a fun IP.  Nothing is off the table when it comes to developing it into a solid product for us.  High Voltage has a strong history of taking great core ideas and taking the time to work them into fun finished products.  When we developed the core concept of The Grinder, the market was in a place where it was starting to turn against new IPs, which made it harder for us to find the right outlet for it.  Once the next generation hits its stride, we’ll be looking at potential development.  As for Wii U, anything is possible – but there’s nothing to announce right now.

[GT]If the game is still on the table, does this mean both the FPS and top-down versions of the game?

[EN]: Yes?  Honestly, we feel that the IP is strong enough to support many different potential games and products.  To say that The Grinder will be “this” or “that” would limit where we could go. You can’t tie down High Voltage Software. Nice try. 

[GT]What platform do you see it releasing on, or would like to release it on?

[EN]: This one’s easy: all of ‘em that make sense for gameplay.

Final Truth:

There’s no doubt that we could in fact one day see a release for both the top-down and first-person shooter versions of the game. In terms of The Grinder FPS, it too ran on the Quantum3 engine. This same engine was reworked for the The Conduit HD, which shouts “plausible” in terms of video game releases.

While there is still no concrete confirmation on a release date, it is still promising to hear a developer say  “possible,” as it waits until the market is right. Which, is more promising than a slated date succumbing to a delay. At this point we can deem the title not cancelled, nor is it necessarily in the works.

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About the Author

I am Greg, aka LaWiiG. Thanks for coming to take a look around! Retro is the way to go! Do yourself a favor and show love by playing retro games.

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