Music producer, Senior Remixer and featured artist D-Code chats to PlayStation.com about bringing a whole new musical and social experience to PlayStation 3.
How did you, as a producer and DJ, become involved in the production of DJ Hero?
The game has been in development for three years and went into full scale production about two years ago. At that point FreeStyleGames started recruiting remixers and DJs, and through a mutual friend I was asked to come on board. At first I explained to them that I wasn't a big gamer, but that didn't matter. They wanted people that fitted my description to develop the concept of DJ Hero.
How many DJs worked in-house with FreeStyleGames to develop the game?
We've got a dedicated mix team based in London, which is made up of DJs, producers and mash-up artists. As well as that, we've been fortunate enough to work with some of the biggest DJs in the world on new mixes, plus they've also acted as consultants on the game too.
Did the turntable go through many design variations over the course of development?
It went through loads of iterations when I first came on board. It was still a big, clunky grey box with a strange platter that moved only up and down about ten degrees. It wasn't 360 degrees like it is now. The thing is, as the mixes evolved so did the deck. By using new formulas to develop the tracks in the game we had to then go back to the deck and evolve it to fit those.
There are a huge number of superstar DJs involved in the game such as DJ Shadow, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Yoda and Jazzy Jeff. How were they recruited into the development of DJ Hero?
A lot of them were approached early on. When we first started crafting the mixes DJ Yoda used to come into the studio and give his opinion on the track choices, mix execution and the approach to the gameplay. Everyone was very excited about DJ Hero very early on and understood what we trying to do with the game. Eventually what happened was, the more we approached, the more DJs came on board, and all of them have been so enthusiastic and wanted to get their distinct sound featured in the game.
There are a huge number of tracks and remixes in the game, was it a long process creating each one?
It was a case of us collecting tracks that we were allowed to use first. After that it was just trial and error, putting songs together to see if they work sonically. There were a number of goals in development. First they needed to sound right and they needed to be mixes that you would hear an actual DJ play at a club. And more importantly, they needed to translate well into gameplay.
Guitar Hero has turned people on to picking up real instruments since it burst on to the scene on PlayStation 2; do you think DJ Hero has the potential to do just that?
We think that DJ Hero has the potential to give people a taste of what it's like to be a DJ by introducing them to the basic principles of DJing and allow them to get inside the mind of a DJ in terms of how they perform certain techniques and actions while on the turntables. One thing we wanted to avoid was to make a DJ simulation game, because our main mission statement was to create a new way to experience and control music. It's a social experience more than anything else.
Downloadable mixes are going to play a big part in DJ Hero's future, what sort of musical genres do you hope to offer as packs on PlayStation Store?
Right now we're doing loads of research and development into downloadable content because that's our next step. We've just announced David Guetta as our European ambassador for the game and he's just finishing up three tracks for downloadable content. We're also looking at different genres too such as jungle, dub step and minimal.
And multiplayer plays such a huge role in the game, because it's a social experience and brings gamers together either in the same room or across PlayStation Network....
Absolutely! The single player experience is great fun but the energy between two players battling over points is fantastic. It's also hugely competitive in that you have mini-competitions within the game as players fight for control of the effects knob on the deck, because only one player can control things like that at any time during a track. And because you can play online too, we hope that there will be one international DJ Hero online network with people from all over DJing against each other.