Q&A with Team Dakota: The Power of Creation in Project Spark

“Project Spark” is an open-world digital canvas that enables anyone to build, play, and share whatever they can imagine. It’s a powerful, yet simple way to build and play your own worlds, stories and games. Share all of your creations to a dynamic community, and play what the community makes.

The Creative Director on “Project Spark,” Henry Sterchi, took the time to discuss with Xbox Wire the unique opportunities they have with “Project Spark,” the plethora of awesome things you can build, an upcoming beta and much more.

“Project Spark” will be available to download for free on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Windows 8. What opportunities do free-to-download offer that aren’t available in conventional retail games?

Henry Sterchi: “Project Spark” was conceived around letting everyone bring their imagination to life, so we wanted as many people as possible to play it and share their creations with the world. With the community being a central part of the experience, the more people that get involved playing, creating, inspiring each other, and even showing off their skills, the better.

User creation is the cornerstone of “Project Spark.” What are some of the coolest things players can create, and what are some of the crazier possibilities that you envision the community will explore?

At the highest level, the coolest thing people can and have been creating is the unexpected. We just continue to find new things and possibilities and it’s such a fresh experience where you never know what people will make next and it’s basically endless.

When we first got the touch controls running, one of the testers showed up with a fully functional synthesizer that recorded back your play. But, one of the coolest things I’ve seen is that we had a team member build a game they always wanted to make since they were a kid. It was this awesome early 90’s style RPG where you’d go around a town and talk to NPCs that would give you new quests and such. They had tons of dialogue to tell a story they’ve always wanted to tell. You could acquire a sword and find this cool hidden land filled with bad guys below the town. Seeing someone really pour their passion into something and make their once impossible dream come true was really inspiring.

The craziest thing I’ve seen so far was a nearly full length “buddy cop” style movie with stunts and boat chases and action scenes. I kept watching it laughing, it was so off the wall.

I just don’t know where the community will take things, but I know there will be so many new things and unexpected things – and that’s super exciting to me.

How is Kinect functionality being integrated in “Project Spark”?

We aren’t talking in details right now around Kinect, but as you saw in the Media Briefing; you can use the voice recognition to create. Just being heard like that with the game responding is an awesome experience. There are a lot of possibilities, but we will release more details in the future.

What new technologies are you most excited about with Xbox One?

New technologies open up new possibilities, and for a game like “Project” Spark where possibility and imagination rule; it really unlocks some amazing things. Obviously you have the improved visuals, and creating worlds that are beautiful, rich and feel alive is super powerful. We’re really excited about all of the new elements around Live, which is paramount to us.

The ability to create with touch controls on a second screen brings a whole new dimension to things as well. With that, you have the ability to use a second screen to create your own games with this super intuitive touch control on big screen living room TV. Of course, you also have all of the potential with Kinect and so much more, making this the perfect time to make the type of experience we are with “Project Spark.”

Anything else you’d like to add?

We just can’t wait to see what people will make and create. You can go to www.joinprojectspark.com and sign up for a chance to get into our upcoming beta or join the discussions on Facebook at project-spark or Twitter with #projectspark. We look forward to hearing from everyone and hope you all give it a try!