Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice

Interview: Lead designer talks shop

Pursuit Force: Extreme Justice is the sequel to the all-action PSP launch game that did wonders for PSP in the handheld's infant era.

Developer bigBIG (as it's properly written) hopes to fill in the gaping holes of the first game by fleshing out the story and throwing in multplayer versus and co-op options. It's also one of the bigger games cropping up on PS2 at the back end of its lifecycle.

CVG sat down with lead designer Chris Whiteside to talk about how the game will achieve the blockbuster movie-feel that's promised, online, and the future of the defiantly live-and-kicking PS2.

One of the focuses of the sequel, it seems, is on making it play like an action movie. You said that you went to film studios for help on that. Can you tell us a little more about that?

Chris Whiteside: It was a bit of a gamble. With the first game, we knew exactly what the game mechanics were going to be before we started thinking about storyline. So there wasn't much of a storyline in the game.

So we got them [film production] over and asked them what we needed to do. And they went through from conception to production. They suggested that they write the storyline and we just make it, which we thought was quite dangerous in game development because you end up with a narrative-led game, which isn't what we wanted.

We wanted the player to feel like he's driving the story. So we made the decision that we would do a game based around a story, but we'd work with them on the story to make sure that they go off on a tangent. It worked really well.

You've also added multiplayer options in there. Does that include online options?

Whiteside: No.

Is there a specific reason why you chose not to take the game online?

Whiteside: It's something that we wanted to do but we have a certain amount of time to make the product, and we felt that because it's PSP - gaming on the go - the chances of the player being in school or around friends is much more plausible than online.

Online has proved successful not just on consoles but on portables too - Nintendo being keen to shout about the high online use rate for the DS. Is online not something you value highly?

Whiteside: It's something we definitely value quite highly, it takes a while for people to notice the upsurge before they jump on it. We were aware of it a good time ago, and because it wasn't included in the original design [of the game] we felt that perhaps it would be better included in something in the future where more time can be spent on the introduction of it into that game universe.

We understand the importance of community, and we want to make sure that when we offer an online package it's as good as anything else out there. That requires a lot of focus and a lot of work.

We felt that making the [single-player] action movie theme where you actually are a hero was more important for the brand at this time.

It's obviously also on its way to PS2 - after the original was PSP-only - and could be one of the bigger games for PS2 fans to look forward to on the superseded format.

Whiteside: I don't think it's been superseded. If you remember the longevity of use of the PSone after the PS2 came out - PSone was still huge for a long time afterwards. We'd always intended to do a PS2 version. It has such a huge install base, we have the opportunity to reach millions of gamers around the world. We want as many people to play it as possible. That's the ultimate goal of any developer - to have people play their games.

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