Along with traditional racing games Ridge Racer, Formula One, and Gran Turismo, the futuristic WipEout and sequel WipEout XL helped establish the original PlayStation as the best system for race fans. After practically missing the PlayStation 2, the series made a triumphant return (and a weird change to its capitalization) with WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse on the PSP. Now the game is coming to the PlayStation 3 with WipEout HD, which takes the best tracks from Pulse and Pure and gives them a high-def facelift. But, according to Sony's Daimion Pinnock, the game's U.S. producer, WHD is more than just WipEout with a shiny coat of paint.
Crispy Gamer: First off, is the game actually capitalized WipEout HD, and, if so, how long has SanDeE* from "L.A. Story" been working on the game?
Daimion Pinnock: It is spelled that way, yes. It's a little different.
Crispy Gamer: Now, as I understand it, WipEout HD is kind of like a remake, in that it takes tracks from the recent PSP games WipEout Pure and WipEout Pulse and brings them to the PS3. Is this correct?
Pinnock: In that sense, yeah.
Crispy Gamer: Why not do a full WipEout game, with new tracks, instead of this remake?
Pinnock: We wanted to do a WipEout game for the PlayStation Network. There's a little quicker turnaround, and it gave the team the chance to not only redo some of their favorite tracks in HD, but to also make them playable online. It's also the team's first game on the PS3.
Crispy Gamer: There were rumors that the game was only going to be playable online, but that's not the case, right?
Pinnock: Definitely not the case, no. There's a full single-player campaign.
Crispy Gamer: Did you change anything about the basic gameplay?
Pinnock: Well, we did add a Pilot Assist option and the Photo mode. Pilot Assist basically keeps the player on the tracks, it stops them from crashing into the sides of the tracks, though the penalty for using it is that you lose a bit of speed.
Crispy Gamer: Can you use it in multiplayer?
Pinnock: You can, but it's up to the player whether they want to use it or not; it's an option you can turn on or off at will.
Crispy Gamer: And what is Photo mode?
Pinnock: Basically, you can pause a race at any point and take a picture and save it to use on your PC, or as the background on your PS3.
Crispy Gamer: How many tracks will be included at launch?
Pinnock: Eight. Five are from Pulse and three are from Pure.
Crispy Gamer: Will more be available for download later?
Pinnock: We're looking into possibly doing some downloadable content, but I don't know if will necessarily be anything from Pulse or Pure. It could be new tracks, it could be new weapons, new teams -- nothing's been decided.
Crispy Gamer: How hard was it convert the tracks from the PSP to the PS3?
Pinnock: It wasn't an easy task. They had the basic layout, of course, but it took about two or three months to redo them. We kept them the same, though. It's the same with the weapons. They do the same thing, they just look completely different.
Crispy Gamer: The game also lets people use PS3's motion-sensitive controls to steer. How hard was it to get that feature to work well?
Pinnock: Actually, that's in the game now, but whether it makes the final version, we're not too sure. It depends on whether we can get the balancing right. We want to make sure it's as much fun to play that way as it is with the thumbsticks.
Crispy Gamer: Besides remaking tracks from Pulse and Pure, will there be any other connections between those games and this one? For instance, can you link your PSP to your PS3 and, if you have a saved file from Pulse or Pure, you get an exclusive ship?
Pinnock: No, we have no plans for that right now.
Crispy Gamer: Given, that the game has reworked tracks from previous games, will the music also be songs from Pulse and Pure? Or, more appropriately, remixes of songs from those games?
Pinnock: It's the soundtrack we had on Pulse, but all the songs are now in 5.1 surround sound. Though we also have custom playlists, so you can also play your own music, as well.
Crispy Gamer: Speaking of which, have you guys, in a moment of weakness, ever put in some totally inappropriate music to see what this game would be like to play with, say, Lynryd Skynyrd's "Freebird" wailing?
Pinnock: Well, I play it with different music, but nothing like that. Some people on the team like to play it with Bob Marley, which is a little different. I listen to things like The Prodigy, and a bit of hip-hop, like Eminem. Which kind of makes me play a bit angrier.
Crispy Gamer: So then if someone has already played WipEout Pulse and WipEout Pure, why do you think they should play WipEout HD?
Pinnock: Well, it looks fantastic, the controls are different, and you can now play against people on the Internet. It really does feel like a completely different game.