WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank and occupation!
I'm Ryan Eames, and I'm an associate producer at Sony Computer Entertainment America.
WP: SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 has a few new features. There are two more playable characters, so you're up to four. You're running around on PSP, shooting bad guys. Aside from the basics of death and destruction, what will Fireteam Bravo 3 offer over the prior SOCOM games to get PSP gamers fired up?
RE: That's the right question to ask! As a return of the franchise that sold really well for us on the PSP, we obviously wanted to make it bigger, better and cooler than ever. In doing so, as you mentioned, we added two more characters into the mix, so we have a full, four-person fireteam for the first time in the Fireteam Bravo franchise. This is in our effort to make it as close to the console experience as we can for the PSP. We've updated the visuals, we've updated the gameplay, and we've updated your fireteam and all of your weaponry. You're able to add more attachments, and you have more guns to choose from. The really big thing that we're excited about for the PSP is that now you have a four-person team, why not play four characters through the campaign with your friends?
WP: So the co-op option on the main menu is not just for two-person co-op? You can play it with four players?
RE: You can play with four players. Two to four players online, infrastructure and ad-hoc, through the entire campaign.
WP: So you don't have to be local.
RE: You don't have to be local. You can play your buddies in Japan and you can play your buddies in Europe, all in the same game.
WP: When you're trying to coordinate a four-person team, is it just via text message, or do you support voice chat?
RE: Keeping in line with the rest of the SOCOM franchise, we have full headset support for the PSP in the cooperate and competitive multiplayers.
RE: Many of the game modes return from the previous franchise. We have your usual team deathmatch — or suppression, as we like to call it — and we have demolition. A number of the popular ones are returning, but we also have a new game mode for everybody to test out. Hopefully it'll be fun, but we'll get into that at a later time.
WP: Let's talk a little bit about hardware. Being internal at Sony, you've had access to the PSPgo hardware for a while. What, if anything, is different about developing for the PSPgo? Since you're running off flash memory instead of a UMD, do you have to optimize differently? Does it affect the loading times? Is the experience different at all if you play the game on the standard PSP versus the PSPgo?
RE: The obvious difference is in how you hold your hands because of the smaller form factor, but outside of that, there's not a huge difference. There's definitely a difference in the load times; you will absolutely notice that. Playing off of either a memory card or the internal memory gets you about the same load times, but if you're playing versus UMD, there's an obvious difference. We're not talking minutes here or anything like that, but it's definitely advantageous to play on a downloaded version.
WP: You mentioned playing off a memory card. Does the UMD version allow you to cache it to a memory card like Gran Turismo does?
RE: No, no caching, but for the PSP 3000 and such, you can still download it from the PSN Store to your memory stick and play it that way.
WP: Is there anything about the game that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?
RE: Yeah, there are a bunch of new features, such as having a dynamic hide system, which is brand-new to the series. If you're in the crouch mode, which is the most popular mode to play in for the SOCOM franchise, we've added a hide system that doesn't lock you into anything. You can dynamically walk up to a low-height object in the crouch mode and be able to target enemies on the other side of it just by holding the right trigger and firing at that point. That's something that we're using to try and make it easier for newcomers to the series as well as fans without adding some now-popular locking into hiding mechanism. We wanted to keep it fast-paced, easy-to-go and user-friendly. Being user-friendly, we've also added for the first time into the series a health regeneration system. As you're getting shot up, you can just back away and regenerate your health. This is something that is popular in a lot of games right now, so people are used to it and they understand it. It's new for the series, but for a portable experience, it's almost necessary because you don't want to have to spend an egregious amount of time stealthing your way through anything. You just want to play through and have fun with it. Of course, you can still stealth through and have all the same experiences, but we're just trying to get the new players in.
WP: Last but not least, obviously it looks great on the PSP screen, but how does it look when you have it plugged into a component output and play it on a big-screen TV?
RE: I think it looks great! I'm actually really enjoying that.
WP: Let's compare SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 on the PSP with SOCOM 2 on the PS2. Is it about the same? Is it better?
RE: I think it's pretty comparable. It's a little bit crunchy around the edges because it's blowing it up a bit and lower resolution overall, but honestly, this is the best-looking PSP game that we've developed so far. I couldn't rave about the graphics enough.
One of the cool things too is that if you're using the PSPgo and you're connected to your television, you can also use your DualShock 3 to connect wirelessly over Bluetooth to your PSPgo and play it on the TV with your DualShock 3.
WP: Is Fireteam Bravo 3 the first PSP game to have DualShock support?RE: You can't use the right analog stick, but it's a natively supported feature on the PSPgo to support over Bluetooth the DualShock as a peripheral. Obviously, if we're going to have controller functionality like the two extra buttons, that's not something that's in our game, but just being able to play it like you would on the PSP using a DualShock, yeah, you can do that.
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