WipEout Pure - Designer Q and A

WipEout Pure - Designer Q and A WipEout Pure - Designer Q and A WipEout Pure - Designer Q and A WipEout Pure - Designer Q and A

Wipeout has become a PlayStation tradition and the game has created its own history as a launch partner for Sony's consoles. PS One and PS2 versions will now be followed by a PSP version which has changed significantly, it will now be called WipEout Pure. You can begin evaluating the newest version by following the Screens tab above but read on to find out what Colin Berry, WipEout Pure Designer, has to say about the title and how he also defends his game from that dreadful word; Port.

The latest and the greatest in the seminal WipEout series, Pure distils the essence of anti-gravity racing and futuristic adrenaline-fuelled combat. Hi-tech weapons, hi-octane speed and a high-tempo dance soundtrack combine to deliver an explosive taste of the future directly into your hands.


- Featuring all-new environments and race craft plus a pumping soundtrack specially created for the game by a range of top artists

- Post launch downloads give you access to extra circuits, new craft, personalised skins and additional music

- Go head-to-head full-screen in 8-player tournaments via WiFi

We've seen Wipeout on PSone and PS2, can you tell us what is different about this game?

It's on a handheld machine! Seriously though, quite a bit is different; there are 12 brand new tracks (along with four classic tracks hidden away). Whilst some of the ship names will be familiar, all the ships are newly modeled, textured and have new handling stats.

Another important new feature is Multiplayer via WiFi, for the first time eight people will be able to hook up and race against each other using the WiFi capability of the PSP.
The weapons and pick ups have been refined, some old favourites and have been given a face lift and there are a couple of new surprises.

Zone mode, which made a successful debut in Wipeout Fusion, is back and this time it has purpose built tracks, designed specifically to enhance the Zone mode experience.

So it's not just a port?

Definitely not, it is anything but. When we started thinking about a version of Wipeout for the 'new handheld machine' we wanted to create a new version of Wipeout. Doing a port was never an option. Sure, we do have four classic tracks (one from each of the major iterations of the game) but even these have been recreated from scratch and they are housed in all new stylised environments.

The team has wanted to do a handheld version of Wipeout for a long, long time and once the PSP was announced we knew we finally had a handheld platform that could do the game justice. Had we gone down the route of porting one of the earlier versions I think we'd have been cheating ourselves and the fans of the series.

What new elements have you introduced to the game?

The first perhaps most crucial element is not new as such, but a return to the very early days. We have abandoned the dynamics system from Wipeout Fusion, the ships are no longer 'locked' to the track, they are free to bounce and leave the track when you move fast over the undulating surface it is a throw back to the feel of the earlier games, that was one of the earliest decisions made and the game feels like Wipeout because of it.....hence the name Wipeout Pure!

One key new feature is the way in which players get their energy back. The old pit-lane system has gone; now whenever you pick up a weapon you have the choice to fire it, or to absorb energy from the weapon, which in turn replenishes your ship's energy. This alleviates the problem of having to race half a lap tentatively as you try to make it to the pit lane. Instead you can replenish your energy whenever you pick up a weapon, making for some interesting gameplay choices: Do you fire your missile and try to take first place despite having low energy, or do you absorb the energy and settle for second place?

There are two new teams that compliment the six others that people will recognise from previous versions of the game. All the ships have been created in a way so that they all have pros and cons. We've balanced the stats so that no one ship becomes redundant and no one ship is easily the best to use on every track. We do not want the player to feel that they have to use a certain ship to win a certain race.

The ships can also perform a side-shift manoeuvre which is pretty nifty and allows the player a greater range of control on the ship. There is also an airborne move but that is remaining under wraps for the moment.

As mentioned earlier there is full WiFi multiplayer support which is really good fun. There is also the ability to swap ghost ship data with friends and to compare records. Players will have their own individual profile which will track their progress through the game and their individual game statistics, however they can also synchronise their records with friends and have both global and personal record tables.

Zone mode has had tracks specifically designed for it, which gives it an identity of its own and further establishes it as a main feature within the game. It has also been refined in the way it plays hopefully pushing it further than when it debuted.

Is this created by the same team that worked on the previous games?

For the most part no, only a handful of the team has worked on any of the previous iterations. Having said that, everyone on the team knows Wipeout, knows its history and what the game is all about. It's a good mix - we have a lot of fresh ideas and approaches, coupled with an overall mentality and aim that involves retaining the essence of Wipeout. Indeed the title itself Wipeout Pure was born of the desire to return to the pure elements which made the early versions of Wipeout so popular.

Are there many major differences in the development for a software title for PSP?

Initially we thought there would be, when the project was first started we thought that we would not need a huge team and that development would not take so long. However as time has gone on the size of the team has grown to rival the team that worked on Wipeout Fusion. The machine might be small, but it's powerful, and content-wise there is so much in this game we found we needed more people than we had first expected.

Tell us more about the WiFi elements in the game.

There are two sides to the WiFi features in the game. The first is the main area and that is the WiFi gaming itself - current plans allow for up to eight players to compete against each other in either a single race, a league or a time trial race.

The second side allows players to swap ghost data and to compare and sync their records via WiFi. Players will be able to compete against their friends' times and ghost ships. Of course players will not lose record of their own times once they have synchronised data - they will still be able to view their personal best on a track should they so desire.

Are you going to include any downloadables that can be used to enhance the title at a later date?

Absolutely, this is a big part of what we have planned for the game, and is one reason why the team has grown to a large size. Players are going to be able to download new tracks to race, new ships, new skins for the front end and new music tracks as well. This is a feature that is unique in the PSP and allows for a new delivery method for content, adding extra value after launch for its titles.

As a developer, what is the most exciting element of working on software for PSP?

It's a new format, which is always exciting if a little daunting at first. Not only that, it is also the first handheld Sony has made and we are bringing a well known franchise to it, which adds weight to the pressure and expectancy, but it's a nice kind of pressure. The PSP is allowing us to do things that were not feasible on PS2, for example, the downloaded content. Eight player WiFi gaming is also pretty exciting.

What features has the game got that takes into consideration the fact that the PSP is portable?

One thing that has had a fair bit of attention is the controls and feel of the game, the PSP does not have as many buttons as a PlayStation 2 pad so we have had to be imaginative when considering how the game plays and feels. It has not been restrictive but it has required some thought to get the best results.