WipEout HD is speeding into view on PlayStation 3. Get a glimpse of why Studio Liverpool is going to take you for a ride that's simply too fast to forget.
It's a perfect combination: pure speed and refined gameplay mixed with a pulse pounding soundtrack and High Definition visuals. A fantastic fusion of audio and visual delights; the world of WipEout HD laid bare on your PlayStation 3. Soon it'll be yours to download from PlayStation Network, and looking so good that it's almost like Studio Liverpool got into a time machine and transported it fresh from the future.
Faster than a speeding bullet
Pristine aesthetics are typically expected for this sci-fi anti-gravity racer series which has been wowing fans since its conception back in 1995 when it hit PlayStation to critical and commercial acclaim. So with WipEout screeching into the 21st century in 1080p resolution, the onus has been to create a game that amazes on that important first glimpse. Something developer Studio Liverpool is more than aware of - and able to provide.
"The visual side of WipEout has always been one of its most alluring features," says Clemens Wangerin, Development Director of Sony Computer Entertainment, Studio Liverpool. "The worlds around the WipEout racetracks are renowned for their visual splendour and their believability. In 1080p resolution, the graphic teams were able to reach a new level of detail that's clearly evident when you first see the game. Everywhere you look there are little details that really enrich the experience and combine to create one of the most immersive racing experiences available today."
Highly polished, 60 frames per second visuals are merely WipEout HD's opening gambit. Naturally there's also a pedigree regarding music to live up to as well, and fans will be happy to know the game doesn't let up the pace there either with fully licensed tracks from artists such as Kraftwerk, Booka Shade and Stanton Warriors - all played in Dolby 5.1 for crisp and high quality sound.
Should you fancy racing to the sounds of your own collection, there's also the option of slotting your own custom playlist into the mix by accessing the audio content of your PlayStation 3's Hard Disc Drive. Better yet, all of this music is laced with the game's original effects to complete the experience.
"WipEout HD makes use of some clever audio programming, which applies a range of filters to the music in real time, triggered by what's happening in the game" says Wangerin. "For example, the audio is slightly muffled while the Shield pick-up is active, or the bass gets dropped out when a ship goes over a big jump only to kick in again when the ship lands. All of these effects ensure that music is really deeply woven into the game experience - whether players are listening to the soundtrack that ships with the game or are using their own."
The power is in your hands
The customisation doesn't stop at your aural selection either. WipEout HD's controls are fully customisable by the player, meaning every button on the Wireless Controller can be mapped to your preference - including whether you like to steer with the directional buttons or the analogue sticks. Studio Liverpool has even put in options to take advantage of the Wireless Controller's motion-sensing abilities.
"The development team has implemented a two-stage system for motion control," Wangerin explains. The first stage is pitch only, which means players control the angle of the ship relative to the track by tilting the controller forward or backward.
"The second stage is full motion control, which means players control not only the pitch but also the steering using motion functionality. The full motion control option does take a little while to get used to; however the fact that WipEout ships have no wheels and are floating above the track really plays to the strength of the Wireless Controller and with a bit of practice, players will eventually float through the game with ease and experience a sensation that's quite different from playing the traditional way. "
Back to the future
With cultured combat racing, deep customisation, five game modes (including Tournament and the speed increasing Zone Mode), and the ability to have eight players competing against each other online, speeding across eight High Definition tracks taken from a selection of the series' previous iterations, future downloadable content, WipEout HD looks to have it all... all, that is, except you.
Expect more on the lavishly attractive WipEout HD closer to its release. Sit tight - it's going to come faster than you realise...