Wednesday 29th March 2000
Mike Montgomery: Up to Speed
Posted: Wednesday, 29 March 2000 17:22:58pm GMT
The original Bitmap Brother talks about Speedball 2100, what it's like to be a modern games developer and Britney Spears. Get with the program!
How long have you been working on SB2100?
We actually started the design in Dec '98, the programming and the art was kicked off in Jan '99"
Is it fair to say it's more of an update, or even a conversion, than a sequel?
Well it's not Speedball 3 nor is it a conversion. The aim is to faithfully reproduce the original game, in terms of playability, whilst improving the graphics (in particular) in line with the current standard of PlayStation games and the expectations from today's gamers.
What would you say to people who are expecting 2100 to be a sequel and therefore expecting heaps of new rules and features?
Once you play it you won't be disappointed!
Having played it seems almost identical to the original. What are the differences?
Obviously the graphical quality has dramatically improved and the whole game, including the menu system, is now in 3D. We consciously worked towards keeping the game as faithfully to the original in terms of the way the game plays because it was perfect in the first place. We've made a great number of modifications, for example to the way the AI works, although these were refinements and not re-writes. The games depth has also been increased to provide an even longer play-life, the player can now customise their team by changing the team / player names, team logos, the colour of the team's strip and even the skin tone and hair colour for each player.
It'll obviously appeal to fans of the original, but how do you think unfamiliar players will react to it and what do you think are its main rivals?
I think that Speedball 2100 will appeal to a broad mix of people ranging from sports fans to arcade gamers.
Have you had any input from seasoned Speedball players?
Yes, especially from the PlayStation press who grew up with the original games from their Amiga and ST days.
You've been showing the game off in various stages of development for some time now. What has the feedback been like?
Exceptionally positive. The important thing for us was getting the gameplay right as early on in the process as possible so that we could do a significant amount of fine tuning to make sure it played just right. Its first showing to a member of the press happened just 2 hours after the game was first playable and it was clear to see that the game was meeting the high expectations, not only from the press but also ourselves - we're perfectionists.
What elements are you most pleased with?
I don't think there are any elements I can single out - it's more to do with how the game works as a whole. Every aspect from the front-end menu system to the in-game sound effects play a part in the Speedball experience and it's the execution of all the elements that makes this game so special. Having said that, there's always a sense of satisfaction when one of the opposition gets carried off on a stretcher - particularly if it's their star player!
Will their be hidden stuff to find - special teams for example?
There'd be no surprise if I told you!
Have any of the original team worked on 2100?
I'm the only one as the other Bitmap Brothers who worked on the original Speedball titles are working on Z2 for release later this year.
Do you believe violence in sport is a good thing?
No, it's not the place for it. Speedball is science fiction, pure and simple and the violence is only there for effect.
How do you think the games market differs from the Bitmaps' Amiga 'heyday'?
When I started it was a very young and raw industry that didn't take itself too seriously, a hobby if you like. Now it's big business, vast teams involved on high budget productions with immense pressure to meet deadlines so it's less of a hobby and more like a proper job.
How hard is to survive as small, independent developer these days?
Very, especially if you a start-up that's new to running a development company. We're very fortunate that we've been around for nearly 15 years so we have a lot of experience, not just in making hit games but running a successful business. Consistently making great games helps a hell of a lot though.
What can we expect from Speedball 3?
Everything and then some!
Who would you most like to see in a fight?
Faye (Steps) and Britney Spears. When you say 'fight' you mean mud wrestling... don't you?
Taken from Gameplay.com
Bitmap Brothers pages
Official Speedball 2100 Site
Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe
Take 2 Interactive