Wipeout HD Preview and Interview

By Nick Breckon, Sep 12, 2008 8:09am PDT Wipeout HD is essentially a "best of" version of the futuristic racing series, containing sixteen of the best tracks from past games remastered in 1080p, all running at a rapid 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 3. And in person, it does look stunning.

For those unaccustomed to Wipeout gameplay, picture a combination of Mario Kart weapons and F-Zero speed, with floaty racing physics. You pick up limited-use weapons, you hit boosts, and you jockey for position with other racers--hopefully keeping your ship intact in the process.

Graphically speaking, Wipeout HD is absolutely gorgeous in motion, with a strikingly rich color palette and sharp, high-resolution backgrounds. Over the course of several races, the frame rate never dipped, and the controls felt similarly smooth. Eight-racer online play was nearly lag-free, and as fun as any other Wipeout title.

After playing the game extensively at a recent event and confirming that it was as advertised, I spoke with producer Daimion Pinnock for an overview of where the project stands, and when we can expect a release.

Shack: For people who haven't played a Wipeout game, could you describe what makes the series different from other racers?

Daimion Pinnock: It's an adrenaline rush. Wipeout is just--the adrenaline you get from it, and the enjoyment you get from bragging, beating people.

Blowing things up, and just the excitement you get from the vehicles, the way they kind of glide around the track and the physics that we've got in there--it's something that you don't really get if you're racing in a car or a bike. It really does feel like you're gliding. It's just the physics, the speed, and the adrenaline rush.

Shack: The gliding physics really are unique to the series.

Daimion Pinnock: They are. I can't really off the top of my head think of any other racing title that has that same type of feel to it. So that in itself is just great, and one of the reasons Wipeout has the following that it does.

Shack: Can you explain some of the mechanical changes to Wipeout HD?

Daimion Pinnock: So obviously we've got it running in 1080p now, 60 frames per second. We've added more ships. We've got headset support in there, so you can talk smack if you want to. I'm not sure if you're aware that we've added the Zone mode.

Shack: Can you explain what Zone mode is?

Daimion Pinnock: Zone mode is basically a mode where it will automatically increase in acceleration for each zone that you go through. It just keeps going faster and faster--

Shack: Until you blow up?

Daimion Pinnock: Until you blow up. And also you've got global rankings on there, you get to have bragging rights not only in the US, but also with people in Europe, Japan, all over the world. A few of the fans said they really enjoyed [Zone mode] and they wanted to see it again, so we put it in Wipeout Pulse, the PSP version. And now we've got it running in 1080p in Wipeout HD, and it looks fantastic.

In addition to that, we've got 12 ships now. 16 tracks--these tracks were fan favorite tracks, so we kind of pulled that all together, got it running in HD. And that's Wipeout HD basically. In addition to that, you've got eight players online. 12 ships, 16 tracks, all the weapons--everything's in there.

Shack: Online matchmaking or server based?

Daimion Pinnock: Server based, but you can have private games. We've also got the two player split-screen in there. And in addition to that, we've got customized soundtracks. And the big thing that people are really into, which honestly delayed the release of it, we've go the trophy mode in there.

Shack: Trophies were behind the delay?

Daimion Pinnock: Well, there are a number of reasons. [laughs] Obviously we don't want to release it if we're not happy with it. We know there's a following out there, and everybody's been looking for the next Wipeout--we've done the PSP version, the PS2 version. So we wanted to make sure that this one kind of made a statement, and was something that we could be really proud of, and we absolutely are. And having eight players in there, and make sure they're running at 60 frames with no lag, is really important.

Shack: Was a lot of work done on the networking side of things?

Daimion Pinnock: Yeah, yeah. But you know, it's running great now. We're really proud of it.

Shack: When can we expect the release?

Daimion Pinnock: Launch date will be before the end of the year. Can't really discuss exactly when yet, but it's going to be before the end of the year.

Shack: Do you have a price point yet?

Daimion Pinnock: Yeah, it's going to be $19.99.

Shack: Just online, or in retail as well?

Daimion Pinnock: PlayStation Network exclusive.

Shack: Thanks Daimion.

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Comments

  • I don't know if I will have the willpower to resist buying a PS3 when this game comes out. Why can't anyone create a GOOD Wipeout clone on the 360? Even Nintendo has the F-Zero franchise.

    And game developers, when you do try to make a game to compete with Wipeout, to start off with, DON'T try to be innovative. Just copy the Wipeout style of physics, controls, weapons, AI, track design, art, and music. Once you have got the FEEL of the highly refined and delicately balanced Wipeout gameplay down pat, only then are you qualified to attempt to innovate with a sequel.

    So many games have tried to knock-off Wipeout and failed miserably.