|Jussi Laakonen of Bugbear recently sat with us to discuss their upcoming combat racing game FlatOut. He talks about the game, and the future of gaming.
|05.02.05 - 10:55 pm
XG: Could you please give any of our readers who have not heard of Flat Out, a quick rundown of the game and its storyline?
JL: FlatOut is a high-octane, merciless racing game, where ruthless drivers wreck their cheap banged-up cars and demolish the abandoned racing tracks while battling it out for the victory and prize money!
FlatOut is very different beast from many of today's shiny tune'em-ups. It is man against man destruction racing with dented, battleworn muscle cars on broken down tracks. Physics and damage modeling play a huge part in the game's appeal. Just imagine pushing your opponent into a tyre wall: the result is a shower of tens of tyres through which the opponent's driver flies as he or she is flung out of his car! It's an injection of pure adrenaline for the whole racing genre!
XG: Have you included any Xbox LIVE features in the game? If so, what are they? If not, why have you come to this decision?
JL: Xbox LIVE is an essential part of FlatOut. Up to 8 players can battle it out over Xbox LIVE and trust me it simply takes the fun to a whole new level! Nothing is more rewarding then after battling side by side for a lap you finally manage to push your opponent into the concrete wall and then see his ragdoll driver being flung out as you speed toward the finishing line!
XG: What will we be able to do in Flat Out that we cannot do in any other racing game?
JL: A lot! FlatOut sets new standards with its innovative and unparalled features such as:
- Each lap is unique: dynamic tracks change with each impact and crash.
- Groundbreaking physics: cars and track side objects react extremely realistically and impressively.
- Ragdoll drivers: flung out spectacularly from the car in high impact crashes.
- Open environments: the player is free to go anywhere and find his own shortcuts.
- Wacky minigames: use the ragdoll driver as the bowling ball or as the dart.
When you put together dynamic tracks, the physics, cutting-edge damage modeling and ragdoll drivers and run it through an 800 bhp blender, you get FlatOut – a racing game with a razor sharp edge to it!
XG: What is the ETA for Flat Out? (Europe/USA).
JL: FlatOut is due out in Europe on November 5th and in USA in the first quarter of 2005.
XG: Have you had any problems during the development of Flat Out? If so, what have these been? How have you overcome these?
JL: FlatOut is our first console game and although making the transition from PC to XBOX and PS2 has not been overtly hard, there is always a lot you need to learn when you work with a new platform. For example, developing Xbox LIVE support is challenging, but at the end the result really worth all the effort.
XG: Viewing the 3 systems' online strategies (Xbox, Gamecube and PS2), which do you think, from a developers stand-point is the better option and why?
JL: I can't really comment on Gamecube, as we are not developing on that platform. If I compare Xbox and PS2 online capabilities, I think it shows that Xbox LIVE has been out longer as it is quite well polished and has good support and wide range of middleware providers. PS2 Online is growing rapidly and is definitely a good system. Overall I don't think there are major differences in terms of the game play features you can implement on Xbox LIVE and PS2 Online.
XG: Coming up to the holiday season, what titles are you looking forward to playing?
JL: For me personally Half-Life 2 is the title I simply can't afford to miss. Sid Meier's Pirates is another personal favourite, as I was a huge fan of the original game.
XG: What are your thoughts on the games market as a whole and the 3 main producers (North America, Europe and Japan)?
JL: The games market is tough and getting tougher. To be successful a game developer has to focus tightly, have great technology as well as excellent game design and story telling capabilities. The next generation consoles will make life even more demanding as more and more content needs to be produced for big titles. Still, I think there will always be room for focused, talented and creative independent game developers.
XG: What are your thoughts on the next generation of consoles/games? Any plans for Xbox 2 or PS3 development?
JL: We are of course preparing to work also with the next generation consoles as we need to be ready when there is an opportunity to work with those consoles. I'm pretty sure that there will be demand for PS2 games for several years to come and the holiday season 2005 will still be a good market for also Xbox games.
XG: What do you think of the future of hand-held gaming? Any plans for DS or PSP products?
JL: The handheld gaming is getting more and more exciting with the launches of N-Gage QD, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. It is great to see so much innovation in this category! We will not be left out of these exciting developments, but I can't tell you any more about it yet.