The way you challenge your friends online will never be the same again – Studio Liverpool's senior designer Karl Jones explains why.
Cross-platform gaming is one of the key features of PlayStation Vita that's got everyone talking. This allows PS Vita users and PlayStation 3 users to connect, play games and share content.
Here, we speak to Karl Jones about how this will enhance your gaming experience in WipEout 2048 and how he believes it could affect the future of gaming.
"The cross-platform features in WipEout 2048 allows any combination of up to eight PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 3 players to play together, racing at the same time, on the same track, in the same race," says Jones. "Accessing a Cross-Play game is simple. PlayStation Network handles everything and it's a seamless experience for both PS Vita and PS3 players. PS Vita players simply choose to play a Cross-Play race, and they will appear in the game lobbies of online PS3 players and of course the lobbies of any other PS Vita players using Cross-Play."
When WipEout 2048 launches, anyone who buys the game will immediately have access to four tracks from WipEout HD. They can then connect to PS3 users who also own this title and compete in Cross-Play races.
Later this year, all of the remaining tracks from WipEout HD and WipEout HD Fury will be available to download on PS Vita for Cross-Play races, and PS3 users who have previously downloaded these titles and now own WipEout 2048 will get them for free for PS Vita.
WipEout 2048 makes use of many of the PS Vita system's unique features, and is the first title on the system to fully embrace simultaneous Cross-Play. "We like to be pioneers at Studio Liverpool. Whenever we develop a new game, we always want to do something cool and new with our technology that either hasn't been seen, or hasn't been seen in a title like ours," explains Jones. "Whatever technology we choose to develop can't just be technically impressive, it also has to be fun and make sense for our game.
"When we saw how powerful PS Vita was, we decided to see how it coped with running our PS3 game, and it coped really well. It then dawned on us that if we could get these two systems talking to each other, we could create a true, Cross-Play gaming experience between a home console and a handheld device. We did, and it's great."
Players will be able to take on up to seven of their PSN friends in WipEout 2048, and the team at Studio Liverpool is hoping that the Cross-Play features will encourage new fans to get on board and start racing online. "We expect the changes we've made to general gameplay in WipEout 2048 to give us a large influx of new fans. This means that the community of online players that already exists on PS3 will benefit from the new blood joining their games from their PS Vita systems" says Jones.
"The flip side is that PS Vita players will be able to experience the awesome PS3 game that they may have otherwise missed out on. I think the best thing about our Cross-Play is that it will keep our communities playing together. It'll no longer be split between home console players and handheld players; they'll be one big happy family."
Following the launch of PS Vita on 22 February 2012, there will be a lot of new, innovative features for users to experiment with, and Jones believes that Cross-Play could be something we'll be seeing a lot more of. "I suspect cross-platform features will start to become a more common feature in games that it's suited to. This means that we might start to see gamers playing on their home console or TV and then leaving their house and continuing a game on the train to work."
You can get your hands of WipEout 2048 when PS Vita launches in late February. Until then, keep up to date with all the latest PS Vita news by signing up to Inside PS Vita at eu.playstation.com/psvita.