Friday, February 7, 2014

Velocity 2X looks amazaaang (redux).

There's a big post over on the PlayStation Blog today about how Velocity 2X (for PS4 and Vita) is coming along.  It includes a new trailer (!), with a much deeper look at the sidescrolling Metroid-esque platforming sequences that see Kai Tana stepping out of the Quarp Jet to kick some on-foot ass.

"It’s starting to look the part, but there’s still a lot to do. The major thing left to do is improve the animation on the player character Lt. Kai Tana. We’re working on that right now."
-FuturLab Manging Director James Marsden-

Watching the trailer gets me terribly excited, but part of me remembers what it was like, in the long-long ago, before I'd played Velocity Ultra.  Games like this didn't interest me in the least - and if someone had shown me the above trailer, I wouldn't have cared - because it's a genre I've taste-tested repeatedly between now and the arcade cabinet for 1942 in the late eighties, and nothing ever got its hooks in me.  Until Velocity.

Now I'm hyped.

Marsden cites classic 2D rotoscoped (action platformers) Flashback and Another World as the inspiration for 2X's art style,

Flashback (1992)

but he's being a bit humble.  Flashback never looked this good.

In order to reach the level of the benchmarks Art Director Chris Goff was layin' down, they turned to Technical Director Hussain Sheikh, who ran the special effects for racer Split/Second.  The art that Goff was turning out is miles beyond what FuturLab has ever produced before, but when it was decided that the game would come to PS4, (indie guru) Shahid Ahmad asked if they could raise the bar even higher and Goff went back to work.  Here's the part I love:
"Most of the team got very excited about what we were aiming for on PS4, but Hussain shrugged and smiled a quiet smile to himself.

When we showed the game at Eurogamer Expo, it had none of the effects that Hussain had been working on, and the artists had yet to make use of the dynamic environment lights. We also didn’t have a PS4 build underway yet.

However, as time went on it became clear that the game was actually going to visually exceed our original benchmarks, and it was even starting to look as good as the PS4 benchmarks on PS Vita.

It was then that Hussain told me he knew all along we could achieve the PS4 benchmark on PS Vita, but didn’t want to make any promises in case something came up.
But we have achieved and surpassed what we hoped to achieve, and now have the following high-end effects in the game:
  • Particle explosions
  • Dynamic environment lighting
  • Vignetting
  • Environment effects such as leaves in the wind, twinkling stars etc
  • Bloom
  • Light refraction
  • Anamorphic lens flare
  • Colour correction
  • Smooth 3D camera zoom
  • Screen shake & camera turbulence."
-FuturLab Manging Director James Marsden-

It's weird, for me.  It's like looking forward to Professor Layton or Madden - but Velocity 2X is a day-one purchase. 

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