Velocity 2X Has More Than Meets The Eye (Dev Q/A)
Earlier this month FuturLab let me in on a little secret, they were working on a fully-fledged sequel to Velocity. Velocity 2X will be coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in 2014 and won’t just be about zipping around in a space ship. The team at FuturLab has added a whole 2d platforming aspect to the game. I had the chance to pick James Marsden’s mind about the game and what it is like building on a fan favorite.
How long have you guys been kicking around the idea for Velocity 2X?
We wrote the game design document over a year ago, with pre-production and engine development beginning in March this year. We started full production immediately after Velocity Ultra was released in May.
Has fan feedback/interest from the first two velocity games made you think about doing anything differently this go around?
Yes, we’ve tried to listen and act upon as many voices as possible – things like the tweaks to the controls, a lack of bosses, limited graphics etc. We’ve put a lot more time and effort into Velocity 2X’ presentation. Whilst Ultra was a visual improvement over Velocity on Minis, Velocity 2X is an epic leap forward, featuring lots more environment art, improved animations and visual effects that are usually only seen in AAA titles.
I guess the biggest change to the game is you are now on foot, what is the split between being in the Quarp Jet and outside of it?
It’s a 50/50 split. We’re using the platforming sections to add depth and variety to the experience, whilst maintaining the three types of gameplay: Speed, Action and Exploration.
Is the on foot stuff very linear or can you do some exploring?
There’s plenty of exploring to be done. The platforming sections use the strengths of the format, so whereas in the top down areas the screen is constantly scrolling, and pretty intense as a result, a player can take the platforming gameplay at their own pace. We’re also able to build a stronger story as you’ve actually got a playable character who can visit and interact with other characters.
Is this running on the same engine as Velocity Ultra?
No, Velocity 2X is a significant step up in technology. We hired a programmer with over 20 years experience working on AAA games to develop the engine. It means we can include things like physics, real time lighting shaders, a particle system and post-processing effects such as bloom whilst running at a solid 60fps.
We recorded the gameplay footage you see in the video a while ago as Sony needed it early, but the game already looks a lot better now as we’ve got the post processing effects running. It looks spectacular on the PS Vita, so the PS4 version is going to be ridiculously pretty.
What made you pick PS4 over PS3 for the game (other than Vita)?
Shiny new console is shiny 🙂
What has it been like working with Sony on yet another project?
Great, they’ve supported every decision we’ve made with our games, and continue to put their faith in us. We couldn’t ask for any more really.
For people that say, “Oh it is just Velocity again” what can you say to make them get excited?
It’s two beloved genres combined into one adventure. Many people asked for a sequel, and whereas we could have just upped the graphics fidelity, created a bunch of new levels and called it a sequel, we wanted to take a player on another journey of discovery. We want players to feel the same level of wonder and excitement they felt playing Velocity for the first time. Being able to jump out on foot and explore the world using teleportation on a human scale is a whole new experience.
Also, shooting enemies in space, docking your ship to explore space stations on foot, then getting back in your ship to shoot more enemies is such a thrill, and it provides a far more sophisticated backbone for the story and action to take place.
We’re really excited about it, so hopefully fans will be too!
Look for more news about Velocity 2X in the coming months.