A few months back, Microsoft revealed that the every Xbox One will include devkit functionality, adding a whole new layer of depth for those looking to develop and self-publish on the next-generation console. While little in the way of specifics has been mentioned by developers, a recent interview Edge Online conducted with Ken Lobb sheds some light on how they will utilize these tools in Killer Instinct, expanding on the short mention made of a beta program during a recent Microsoft Studios broadcast (and pointed out by Maximilian)
Double Helix Games’ upcoming reboot will feature a six-character cast at launch, with two more to be released sometime after. As with any competitive game, adding new characters necessitates laborious balance testing, usually through location tests at high-profile events.
The Xbox One’s development mode will allow them to push out whitelisted code to specific consoles, unlocking an updated build that features the new characters. In this way, a huge number of players (Lobb is quoted as saying he wants 10,000) will be able to get their hands on the update instantly and provide feedback from their experience.
How many of these changes that have been implemented in the past few months were not changes at all, but in fact were all part of the plan?
That’s exactly the point on this one. The plan to turn a box into a devkit is [from] two years ago. It had to be. You don’t just decide that we’re just going to unlock the box magically and everyone can run unsecured code. We can do amazing things with this. We can whitelist players. We’re doing this with Killer Instinct. I’m going to be shipping characters after we launch and I’m going to invite about 10,000 people to be the ones that help us balance them; the same way that we’ve been inviting Evo people to Double Helix.
I want to invite 10,000 really great players to help me lock down the balance on those last two characters. The way we do that is sort of like a mini version of what it means to be in devkit mode. What we’ll do is send them a code that’s whitelisted. They’re the only ones that can play it. And, again, you don’t architect that in minutes, this has been planned for years. So, yes, a lot of our ‘alterations’ in the last few months have just been us saying, “Now we get to explain to you [the things] we’ve had in mind all along.”
Be sure to visit Edge Online to read the rest of the interview, which includes further information on Microsoft’s plans for the Xbox One.