Xbox 360 PS3

XCN has provided us with another great interview, this time with the developers behind the just-released Virtua Tennis 3. I found the demo hard to begin with, as many of you out there, but more and more training made the game really entertaining. Inside you'll find their thoughts about 1080p, DLC, explanation of the online mode and much more.


We got the pleasure to present two interviews! First with Toby Allen, Assistant Producer at SUMO Digital, and Mie Kumagai, Director at AM3.

How difficult has been the experience of creating one of the first two games with 1080p resolution for Xbox 360 and PS3?
From a 360 perspective we didn't have any real issues and it was all quite straight forward.

What are the primary differences between the Xbox 360 and the arcade versions of the game?
The arcade version of the game has been improved on the PS3 by AM3, we took this latter version and added a few extra features. You can expect a new world tour mode, character customisation, mini-games and 1080p quality graphics. Specifically on the 360 version we have taken the Virtua Tennis 3 experience to a new high with the addition of Xbox Live support; this include tournaments, game higlights, VT.TV and spectator mode. You can play up to 8 players online with doubles in a tournament - all playing at 60fps and in superb 1080p quality.

Will a demo be released before the full game goes on sale?
The demo has just been released - check it out on Xbox live marketplace and enjoy the latest Virtua Tennis 3!

Did it take long to implement the 1080p support? Why do you think other developers skip it?
Getting the game into 1080p resolution was pretty easy, where the guys had to put in some extra work was tweaking the quality and fullscreen effects. You will be able to see the game really shines at this resolution.

Did you think about including features for the Xbox-Live Vision Cam, like face mapping?
These are all brilliant features but would have required a significant amount of work and elements such as face mapping would be tricky with VT3's custom characters. However it is something we may look at in the future.

What game modes will be playable via Xbox-Live? Will there be online doubles settings or just single multiplayer features?
The online side of VT3 will be powered by 4 different features; tournaments, friendly, VT.TV and game highlights - you will be able to play doubles.

Do you feel you maximized the potential of the 360 with VT3?
We certainly tried, and the addition of VT online simply allows all the VT fans to finally play against each other in a true tennis environment!

Will there be secret Players to unlock?
Now that would be telling! I'm sure VT fans will soon figure this out!

Will there be some totally crazy Tennis Rackets?
Coming from a japanese developer, you can expect a high level of crazy content in the game - a lot of tongue and cheek.

Is it possible to create more than one Player Profile?
You will have to ability to create up to 4 different profiles for World tour.

Is it possible to play with two Xbox live gold accounts on one console against other players?
Yes, it is possible to play with two Xbox Live gold accounts on one console. They can participate in player (unranked) matches, ranked matches and tournaments. However, they must be on the same doubles team for tournaments and ranked matches.

In addition VT3 also supports doubles teams where the players are on different consoles. This feature behaves very similarly to when two players are on the same console and was mainly added to enable players on two different consoles to play ranked doubles matches together. We also have ranked leaderboards for when two players play together, including: Mixed Doubles TrueSkill, Men's Doubles TrueSkill, Women's Doubles TrueSkill.

Can Xbox 360 gamers expect some exclusive stuff with their version?
You'll just have to wait and see, we might have some suprises!

We know that Virtua Tennis 3 will give us the possibility to organize online tournaments over Xbox Live. Can you explain us how this feature exactly works?
The online tournament feature works by first grouping together the players in a lobby and once the required number of players have joined and/or everyone is ready the tournament can begin. For player (unranked) tournaments COM players are added to make up the numbers but for ranked tournaments a player will automatically get through to the next round if they are short of an opponent. Whenever someone is waiting for their next opponent who is still playing their last match they will be able to spectate the remainder of that match, also players that have been knocked out can remain to spectate the remainder of the tournament. The tournaments only have 2-3 rounds of play and you will play through your matches one by one until you are either the winner or are knocked out. The tournaments themselves do not have any leaderboards, but each match within a ranked tournament will still count towards their overall ranking. The tournament feature does not allow play to be suspended and resumed at a later date, once a tournament has started it must be played until the end.

Will be able to download some new mini-games or other content?
We have no plans for this right now.

Talking about Virtua Tennis 3 mini-games, what's your favourite one and why?
My personal favouite is Drum Topple as you get an immense amount of satisfaction from knocking down piles of barrels.

Does the 360 version play any different to the "Sega coded" PS3 version? Did you tweak the gameplay a little to stamp your mark on the 360 version?
Our aim with this conversion is to bring the PS3's VT experience onto the Xbox 360. Taking account of the technical requirements, we are using a different physics engine, which does affect the gameplay slightly in a few of the mini-games. However, we've been told that this really feels right and plays nicely.

Is it possible to bring your created player to Xbox Live matches and tournaments?
Custom players can be used online for all Xbox Live features.

Tell us more about the VT:TV feature. Will it be a simple case of drop-in drop-out, will there be a maximum spectator limit and can anyone host a VT:TV enabled game?
There is 9 slots online, which can be filled between players and spectators. There is no restriction as to who can host VT:TV games. If you see your friends online or having played a recent game, click on their gamercard and see the last 5 minutes highlight of their game.

How far along the development process did you make the decision to have the Xbox 360 version output at 1080p?
It was about the time when Microsoft added support to the Xbox 360, quite a way in to development.

Are there any plans for Downloadable Content such as New Courts, Players, Clothes etc.?
We have no plans right now.

Q&A with Mie Kumagai – Director AM3

How difficult has been the experience of creating one of the first two games with 1080p resolution for Xbox 360 and PS3?
To tell the truth, there it was not such a great trouble. In the sense of a multi-platform title, we started the development of VT3 by building the arcade system board. We adopted pixel shader technologies we can set up flexibly at the early stage of the development, assuming the hardware specs of PS3 and Xbox 360 to the best of our knowledge. As a result, we could secure 1080p resolution within a load range of a certain degree.

What are the biggest changes between VT2 and VT3, excluding graphics?
I suppose it would be variation of game modes. With new multiplayer mini-games added, the singleplayer “World Tour” mode was also added with more depth and a story nature.

The Dreamcast Version of Virtua Tennis was incredible! What have you learnt from that day till this?
In terms of graphics, we have learned pixel shader technologies and new animation techniques. Moreover, we re-analyzed the the sport of tennis, and we studied again what “heated match development” or “breathtaking rallys” were composed of.

To what effect does Virtua Tennis differentiate itself from the big competitor TopSpin 2?
With VT3, we had never been conscious of differentiation from other tennis titles, but always been thinking about what we should do for a new title of the VT series.

Why does the 360 version have an online modes and PS3 not?
The priority for the Virtua Tennis 3 development team on PlayStation 3 console has been to maximise the known strengths of the console. We wanted to ensure players experience the quality they have come to expect from a Virtua Tennis title.

Talking about Virtua Tennis 3 mini-games, what's your favourite one and why?
I love “Count Mania” in Training of the World Tour mode, and “Avalanche” in the Multiplayer mode in Court Games.

The franchise seems to take a more arcade approach in bringing the tennis sport to gamers instead of the deeper tennis simulation of its competitors. such as TopSpin, is this still apparent in Virtua Tennis 3?
One of the VT series’ concepts, “Super play with Simple control”, is inherited in VT3.
Experience and new ideas are necessary to strike a balance between simple controls and the depth of tennis gameplay. As a result, we could re-create the best parts unique to genuine tennis, such as putting the opponent off balance back and forth and around on the court, or flexible expansions of matches. One of the professional tennis players who cooperated with this title, said that “VT can provide image training for actual matches”, so VT3 can be described as “designed for professionals” in a sense.

What have the developers done in this game to make it different from the rest of the tennis games? Top spin 2 and Table tennis were both enjoyable for 5 minutes then the whole knocking the ball back and forth got tedious. Does this title provide anything different from those two titles that will want me coming back for more and more?
An abundance of game new modes and contents give the user pleasure. In the new “World Tour ” mode you create your own player and watch him rise throught the ranks, you can compete with your fiends and family in various mini-games, and become friends with, for instance, Federer or Nadal. You get encouragement and gifts from the stars and your coach, Training (mini-games) that offers as many as 72 variations and practice in a new mission style, you will never get bored.

How complex is your Create-A-Player mode?
The “World Tour (Raise-Your-Own-Player)” mode has communications with real players that occur in various situations. “Familiarity” is gradually achieved by playing a match against a real player or choosing him/her as your doubles partner. If Familiarity gets high, you will start to be offered practice matches, or receive encouraging mails. Moreover, the game’s attractions also lie in the player making intellectual decisions like occurrence of injuries and accidents due to radical training, or a time frame set for retirement.

Is there going to be a fully licensed selection of players, tournaments and locations featured?
A team of 20 players from all over the world including Federer, Nadal, Sharapova, or Mauresmo are featured under their own names and likenesses in VT3. Although ingame tournaments and locations are fictious, since we obtained collaborations from global brand companies we were able to decorate stadiums with their logos, the user can develop an illusion as if those stadiums were real.

A big thanks to the XCN gang, Toby and Mie for making this great interview possible!

4 images

  • Interview with Sumo Digital and AM3 - 4 images
  • Interview with Sumo Digital and AM3 - 4 images
  • Interview with Sumo Digital and AM3 - 4 images
  • Interview with Sumo Digital and AM3 - 4 images
Joergen
Joergen
Commented on 2007-03-24 21:41:39
It's sad how they have to dodge all the negatively charged PS3 questions. Instead of complaining how Sony had nothing ready for online matchmaking or services, they turn it around as a priority issue. Same story for VF5 then.

But hats off for a great looking, 60fps 1080p game! Some devs cant get the tennis ball on a black background to run at 30fps at 720p.
In reply to
RC_Master
RC_Master
Commented on 2007-03-24 22:49:40
Wow, they only started work on the 1080p support on 360 last autumn? I'm quite impressed they managed it, and at 60Hz!

But i'm quite surprised that, from teh sounds of things, there is no online play for the PS3 version. Correct me if i'm wrong, but thats a little poor. Still, the 360 version gets the full Live treatment.
In reply to
TheFuriousOne
TheFuriousOne
Commented on 2007-03-24 23:14:33
They should of asked if they knew of any work on a shenmue 3, sorry had to say :p
In reply to
Aurahead
Aurahead
Commented on 2007-03-25 04:02:49
YEa Shenmue3!!!!!!
In reply to
ashangel
ashangel
Commented on 2007-03-25 05:49:29
In reply to
JonM
JonM
Commented on 2007-03-25 07:49:14
thats an old pic yo
In reply to
Inflatable
Inflatable
Commented on 2007-03-26 01:43:02
Boring interview.. Mainly because of all the predictable avoiding PR answers (read: no answers at all) to the somewhat more interessting questions..
In reply to
koenshaku
koenshaku
Commented on 2007-03-26 17:12:27
PS3 is getting the step child treatment from developers now
In reply to
About the game
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