Virtua Tennis 3 Q&A with Toby Allen Assistant Producer SUMO DigitalInterviewed via Xbox Community Network.
How difficult has been the experience of creating one of the first two games with 1080p resolution for Xbox 360 and PS3?
From a 360 perspective we didn’t have any real issues and it was all quite straight forward.
What are the primary differences between the Xbox 360 and the arcade versions of the game?
The arcade version of the game has been improved on the PS3 by AM3, we took this latter version and added a few extra features. You can expect a new world tour mode, character customisation, mini-games and 1080p quality graphics. Specifically on the 360 version we have taken the Virtua Tennis 3 experience to a new high with the addition of Xbox Live support; this include tournaments, game highlights, VT.TV and spectator mode. You can play up to 8 players online with doubles in a tournament – all playing at 60fps and in superb 1080p quality.
Will a demo be released before the full game goes on sale?
The demo has just been released – check it out on Xbox live marketplace and enjoy the latest Virtua Tennis 3!
Did it take long to implement the 1080p support? Why do you think other developers skip it?
Getting the game into 1080p resolution was pretty easy, where the guys had to put in some extra work was tweaking the quality and fullscreen effects. You will be able to see the game really shines at this resolution.
Did you think about including features for the Xbox Live Vision Cam, like face mapping?
These are all brilliant features but would have required a significant amount of work and elements such as face mapping would be tricky with VT3’s custom characters. However it is something we may look at in the future.
What game modes will be playable via Xbox Live? Will there be online doubles settings or just single multiplayer features?
The online side of VT3 will be powered by 4 different features; tournaments, friendly, VT.TV and game highlights – you will be able to play doubles.
Do you feel you maximized the potential of the 360 with VT3?
We certainly tried, and the addition of VT online simply allows all the VT fans to finally play against each other in a true tennis environment!
Will there be secret Players to unlock?
Now that would be telling! I’m sure VT fans will soon figure this out!
Will there be some totally crazy Tennis Rackets?
Coming from a Japanese developer, you can expect a high level of crazy content in the game – a lot of tongue and cheek.
Is it possible to create more than one Player Profile?
You will have the ability to create up to 4 different profiles for World tour.
Is it possible to play with two Xbox Live Gold accounts on one console against other players?
Yes, it is possible to play with two Xbox Live Gold accounts on one console. They can participate in player (unranked) matches, ranked matches and tournaments. However, they must be on the same doubles team for tournaments and ranked matches.
In addition VT3 also supports doubles teams where the players are on different consoles. This feature behaves very similarly to when two players are on the same console and was mainly added to enable players on two different consoles to play ranked doubles matches together. We also have ranked leaderboards for when two players play together, including: Mixed Doubles TrueSkill, Men’s Doubles TrueSkill, Women’s Doubles TrueSkill.
Can Xbox 360 gamers expect some exclusive stuff with their version?
You’ll just have to wait and see, we might have some suprises!
We know that Virtua Tennis 3 will give us the possibility to organize online tournaments over Xbox Live. Can you explain us how this feature exactly works?
The online tournament feature works by first grouping together the players in a lobby and once the required number of players have joined and/or everyone is ready the tournament can begin. For player (unranked) tournaments COM players are added to make up the numbers but for ranked tournaments a player will automatically get through to the next round if they are short of an opponent. Whenever someone is waiting for their next opponent who is still playing their last match they will be able to spectate the remainder of that match, also players that have been knocked out can remain to spectate the remainder of the tournament.
The tournaments only have 2-3 rounds of play and you will play through your matches one by one until you are either the winner or are knocked out. The tournaments themselves do not have any leaderboards, but each match within a ranked tournament will still count towards their overall ranking. The tournament feature does not allow play to be suspended and resumed at a later date, once a tournament has started it must be played until the end.
Will be able to download some new mini-games or other content?
We have no plans for this right now.
Talking about Virtua Tennis 3 mini-games, what’s your favourite one and why?
My personal favourite is Drum Topple as you get an immense amount of satisfaction from knocking down piles of barrels.
Does the 360 version play any different to the ”Sega coded” PS3 version? Did you tweak the gameplay a little to stamp your mark on the 360 version?
Our aim with this conversion is to bring the PS3’s VT experience onto the Xbox 360. Taking account of the technical requirements, we are using a different physics engine, which does affect the gameplay slightly in a few of the mini-games. However, we’ve been told that this really feels right and plays nicely.
Is it possible to bring your created player to Xbox Live matches and tournaments?
Custom players can be used online for all Xbox Live features.
Tell us more about the VT:TV feature. Will it be a simple case of drop-in drop-out, will there be a maximum spectator limit and can anyone host a VT:TV enabled game?
There is 9 slots online, which can be filled between players and spectators. There is no restriction as to who can host VT:TV games. If you see your friends online or having played a recent game, click on their gamercard and see the last 5 minutes highlight of their game.
How far along the development process did you make the decision to have the Xbox 360 version output at 1080p?
It was about the time when Microsoft added support to the Xbox 360, quite a way in to development.
Are there any plans for Downloadable Content such as New Courts, Players, Clothes etc.?
We have no plans right now.