Microsoft Surface packs a staggering payload of cool tricks, but there’s one unassuming feature that’s likely to attract game developers: the USB port.
“I don’t like mobile games,” says Jake Kazdal, creative director at the indie developer 17-Bit. “I don’t play them, I don’t like the controls. I’m too much of a core gamer, I just can’t get over it. I’m old and stubborn.”
“And now I don’t care,” he says, “because I can plug in my wired Xbox 360 controller [into Surface] and all of a sudden I have a full-blown games console wherever I go.”
The unique pairing of the portability of a tablet and the precision gaming control of the Xbox 360 gamepad makes Surface unique, Kazdal said via phone to Wired. Microsoft is publishing 17-Bit’s game Skulls of the Shogun, a strategy game set in a cartoon undead version of feudal Japan, for Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone later this year.
“Our game will support both versions” of Surface, Kazdal said — the ARM processor version and the Intel-powered, Windows 8-compatible Pro.
Although Kazdal is excited about playing games on a tablet with an Xbox 360 controller, he said that Skulls for Surface will ship with “three distinct, discrete control schemes.”
“You can play with mouse and keyboard, you can play with iPad-style touch controls or you can plug in a controller,” he says. “The turn-based game, the action part of it is less intense so you’re not going to screw up as much with the glass-based interface system.”
One can already play PC games on the go by carting around a laptop. But the small size and sleek design of Surface make it a much better option, Kazdal says.
“A laptop is big and bulky,” he says. “I don’t like Windows laptops. I use a Mac.”