Interview: Parking Driver 76 on PSP
We chat with Reflections Interactive about the challenges of bringing Ubisoft's first Driver game to the portable.
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In July 2006 Ubisoft bought Driver and its creator, Reflections Interactive, from Atari. Six months later the publisher is readying its first stab at the series.
Despite the apparently speedy development process, Driver 76 is not just a quick-'n'-dirty port to the PSP, according to Graeme Jennings, producer of the game at Ubisoft Reflections. Rather, what Reflections and co-developer Sumo Digital have done is mould a game around the limitations of the PSP.
"In the initial stages of development we specifically looked to make the game playable in small segments so the game is completely tailored to bite size gaming," Jennings told Kikizo in an e-mail interview.
One of the immediately obvious results of this approach is a mission system that allows you to jump to any mission straight away from a menu rather than having to drive through the world to where it begins. It's up to you, though.
"Driver 76 can be sat and played through in a traditional manner or played through in small 2-minute segments; it fulfils both styles perfectly," he said.
Working with the PSP introduces new technological problems. In fact, Jennings described the PSP as "a challenge to work on, and especially trying to fit the massive worlds and variety of vehicles on the platform".
"The worst part," he said, "is figuring out the controls, as there is no second analogue stick, so it's taken us quite some time to tune."
Enter Sumo Digital. Based in Sheffield, Sumo is no stranger to the PSP. The developer has previously worked with Sega on portable versions of OutRun and Virtua Tennis and with Codemasters on the TOCA Race Driver series.