Wipeout 2048 interview. New controls, new tracks and new ships: everything you need to know
We chat to Karl Jones, Lead Designer on Wipeout 2048 to find out more about the latest instalment of the future racer. Here he explains the new features added to the game such as distinct ship classes, how the game takes advantage of the PS Vita’s new control options and, most interestingly, how the game isn’t finished. Sort of.
Official PlayStation Magazine What was the thinking behind replacing the traditional default airbraking handling scheme for the new ‘Racer’ controls?
Karl Jones Playstation Vita has a great range of new inputs which allowed us as developers to experiment with new ways of playing the game. This gave us three distinct control schemes – Racer, WipEout and Touch and Tilt.
The original ‘WipEout” control scheme is still there for everyone, but we decided to default to the new Racer controls as it’s a more familiar control scheme to most gamers. We hoped to cater for both existing fans and new players alike.
OPM Seeing as 2048 is a prequel to the other WipEout’s what challenges did that create for you in terms of course and craft design?
KL The restrictions imposed on us because of 2048 being a prequel were a good thing. For once, we had some limitations on what we could do, which gave us much more of a design brief than we’re used to having. Tracks had to make sense for the time period and the ships had to look and behave like they were earlier versions of the ships in the original games. These limitations actually gave us a bunch of cool new visuals, features and mechanics.
The original game was set in about 2052, which isn’t all that far into the future. This meant that 2048 had to look as though it took place at some point between now and what we’re used to seeing in previous Wipeout games. As AG racing is only just beginning to take off (no pun intended) in 2048, we decided that the tracks should not be purpose built. Instead they would be augmented city streets, with temporary bolt-on components that allowed ships to travel up, around and even over the skyscrapers in Nova State City.
In doing this, we found our tracks were wider, which meant the player could worry less about fighting against the track, and worry more about battling against their opponents. This led to us breaking the weapon pads up into defensive and offensive types, giving the player more lateral choice across the track. We then layered in the tricky but optional ‘Skill-cuts’ for the more skilled players who wanted to shave fractions of a second off their lap times to improve their all important Leaderboard positions.
The race teams themselves are new to AG racing, so their tech is early and largely untested. AG racing is weapon-ised so the teams are experimenting with various chassis types to find the perfect balance between racing and fighting. This meant we could offer the player some real ship choices – Speed Ships, Combat Ships, Agility Ships and the super secret Prototype Ships. Because of this, this time around, ship choice is really important.