Find out how the destructive Red Faction: Battlegrounds was created, with the game's project lead, Stephen Powell, and studio director, Don Whiteford.
Where did the idea for Red Faction: Battlegrounds originate from?
Stephen Powell: It was about two years ago. We initially started looking at putting something on PlayStation Store via PlayStation Network. We took a look at PSN and asked ourselves what sort of game would really make use of the service. It's a great medium.
Don Whiteford: The inspiration was putting out something with a retro style, with all the fantastic visuals of PlayStation 3. We looked at twin stick shooters and stereoscopic 3D on PlayStation 3, which we thought would work really well in this sort of game.
Was PlayStation Move something you considered as well?
DW: When we were doing the research, one thing we noticed was that peripherals are really important. With peripherals such as PlayStation Move you can be more creative and more experimental. So we were really keen. We actually built a peripheral based on the Richard Marks EyeToy USB Camera demonstration before PS Move was announced. We used two LEDs which allowed you to draw on the screen via the PlayStation Eye camera.
Then we found out about PS Move [laughs]. So at least we got an early look at it in the process! PS Move is very interesting for us, so it's in the frame for the future.
What were the challenges in developing the game and how did PlayStation Network help you overcome them?
DW: I think the first thing was getting the confidence in exploring the opportunities of PSN. With digital channels like PSN you can put stuff out there, be more experimental and creative, see if people like it, and if something doesn't work, it's not a big problem.
Looking at the kind of gameplay styles that exist on PlayStation Store, with PlayStation 3 titles such as echochrome and Flower, the service is taking possibilities in a new direction. And that's really interesting from a creative perspective. So it's a big inspiration for us.
There were surprisingly few hurdles in the end. The key thing was getting THQ along with us, so we looked at the idea of supporting a big name title and making its universe bigger. The price point we can push on PlayStation Store is good value and we can connect new consumers to Red Faction.
SP: Digital games are essentially a different platform, so you have to think about things differently, such as working out what sort of scenarios people play them in. We felt that local multiplayer was quite a strong thing to focus on, because it's one of the things you imagine people wanting when they download a game with their friends around. So stuff like that was important to our decisions from a very early point.
DW: These games have to be immediate and good fun. So it's about learning how to make them more accessible - but it still has to have some depth. It's all a nice design challenge.
Do you think you'll create a few more games like Red Faction: Battlegrounds?
DW: This is our mission. We have a stack of other stuff in the pipeline. We're definitely looking to create something using PlayStation Move at some point. Stereoscopic 3D is also very interesting. And for us it's also learning what people like about our games and then building on that.
PAIN on PlayStation Store was a great model for us in this respect. The developer, Idol Minds, was still supporting that game three years after launch with all sorts of downloadable content. So it's about keeping people engaged.
There's so much to learn about putting content on PlayStation Store, and it's good fun - as a developer it's very liberating. These games are a huge investment in terms of time so it's really about getting back to the roots and ideas of gameplay. Some of the concepts we've seen on PlayStation Store using PlayStation Network are phenomenal: echochrome is one of my favourites!
Is there anything else you want to add about Red Faction: Battlegrounds?
SP: We're really pleased with that we've achieved.
DW: It's a great game to play with friends around. It's accessible and quick to play, so I hope people like it. It's a really fun game and of a high quality - have a go!
Ready for battle? Then download Red Faction: Battlegrounds from PlayStation Store now.
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