Toward the end of May Dave Mirra BMX Challenge is pedalling onto PSP, and it's a game that the Mirra man himself has claimed "is the closest thing to reality without the cost of the bumps and bruises". We recently caught up with John Brandwood from the title's developer Left Field Productions to find out more...
How are you tailoring Dave Mirra BMX Challenge on PSP to the platform?
John Brandwood: We're taking advantage of the PSP's incredible power to bring a full PS2-style experience to the handheld market.
However, the platform itself does pose its own challenges. For instance, the PSP's analog controller is a little harder to use precisely than the PS2 DualShock's analog controller. Because of this we've added some features to aid the player in controlling their bike and rider.
The biggest thing we did was include an auto-land feature. This allows the player to rotate the bike freely in the air with minimal risk of crashing because the bike rotation didn't complete on landing. If you look at past BMX games, the most frustrating part is not completing a rotation quick enough to land.
Is the PSP hardware actually allowing you to include anything unique to the version?
John Brandwood: Yes, the ad-hoc multiplayer modes can be quite addicting when playing with your friends. We have five ad-hoc modes ranging from Racing to Trick Attack to more unique modes that include Capture the Crown, Who's the Leader and Biggest Combo.
And what new features are being introduced in this game?
John Brandwood: We've added the concept of trick-based racing to the BMX arena. In this, we've taken a fun race mechanic and encouraged the player to perform BMX tricks to get off the regular pathway and find shortcuts to improve their position. Some of the best shortcuts are really hard to find, and reward the player that takes the time to really explore the levels.
We've also created two separate circuits within each race. This was the first time we've made levels that include two separate circuits. Players do a couple of laps around one circuit, and then the course splits into the second circuit. This makes our levels huge! As with all new features, this presented some challenges. I'm happy to report that all the challenges we encountered while doing the two circuits were overcome and the payoff is that we have some of the biggest levels for any racing game on the PSP.
What's Dave Mirra brought to the table with the PSP version?
John Brandwood: Dave Mirra is at the top of the action-sports world. From a branding standpoint he's more recognizable than many previous US Presidents. Dave is truly on a different level when compared to his competitors.
Did you look at DS for a handheld version of Dave Mirra BMX Challenge? If so, why did you opt for PSP?
John Brandwood: I'm afraid that we never seriously considered the DS as a target for this project. While we're huge Nintendo fans here at Left Field Productions, the DS just isn't a suitable platform for the kind of game that we wanted to make.
Finally, what would you say is Dave Mirra BMX Challenge on PSP's ultimate selling point?
John Brandwood: This is the first BMX game to come out in over 4 years. If you like to do crazy BMX tricks, then we've got them. If you like racing, then we've got that too. If you're the type that must find everything, then we have tons of gaps along with lots of unlockables.