Releasing last week on the Playstation Store, No Gravity: The Plague of Mind is a stellar PSP shooter, in which you traverse deep space, doing everything from retrieving cargo, destroying mine fields and shooting enemy ships. Here is my exclusive interview with Sebastien Rubens of Anozor.
EDPS: For someone who has never heard of your game, how would you describe it to them?
Seb: No Gravity, a science-fiction space journey that goes beyond a simple space shooter.
In the game, you will fully control, at the 1st of 3rd person, up to 5 spaceships (paired with pilots) that you will use to your advantage depending on the level you are playing at.
You will have 31 missions, in deep space, in an asteroid world, in tunnels, on planets, etc, and a wide variety of gameplay.
Some missions are defensive, offensive, time limited, solo, with a team of AI controlled friends, etc. You will have to do a wide set of missions such as infiltrating enemy areas, retrieving cargos, destroying mine fields, etc.
You will have to select your targets in the most appropriate order to succeed in your missions.
For example, you will have to destroy defense towers on planets before attacking the objectives (radars). Eventually, if there is any enemy spacecraft around, you might want to take care of them if they have a superior fire power.
Some missions are more subtle, for example retrieving cargos using only the sound of your sonar (of course, you will be interrupted by enemies) or infiltrating the enemy using a radio commanded robot.
Basically, it is a mix of fast-paced shooting and tactical thinking to achieve your goals without so much pain.
EDPS: What qualities of No Gravity do you think separates it from other games?
Seb:No Gravity tried to take the best from some legendary games and create an affordable and intensive game.
With some games you might be limited to following a predetermined path, and we wanted to give players more freedom by giving them full control of their ships.
We created a really nice visual space environment, and tons of special effects, so players feel “in the action” at 60 images per second, – which was for us, the main requirement without sacrificing any models, textures, etc.
The game has been made from the ground up exclusively for the PSP and the PlayStation®Store and we believe it shows compared to some adaptations.
If you like numbers, we provide 31 levels, lasting between 10-15 hours (5 hours for our extremely skilled testers who know all the tricks in the game), fitting in 51MB of data: that’s less than 2MB per level, so, no need of UMD, downloadable in a few seconds.
EDPS: What is it like developing a game for the PSP? Is there any different developmental procedures when you put it on the Playstation Network Store? Rather than stores shelves?
Seb: From a developer’s perspective, developing a title for the PSP store is mostly the same as developing a game for UMD. Actually, we are sending the same UMD image to Sony’s Quality Assurance as we would for a normal UMD title. The only difference is that we must add some images for the PS3 (because people can download PSP games from their PS3).
The main difference would be with the rest of the PlayStation Network (I mean PS3 here). On PSP, submissions are not unified, so, we had to submit in Europe, North America. For Asia (Korea, Honk Kong, etc), we are licensing the game to SCE-Asia which does most of the work for us. We’d love the same system for Japan because for Japan things are more complex for us in this case.
From a publisher’s perspective, the main difference is that you don’t have to pre-sell your game to (physical) stores, and pay for manufacturing UMDs since there is no stock here! It is saving money for the distributors (no game unsold) and for consumers (not charged for the physical support).
The main difference here is that there will be many consumers who are only buying UMD.
EDPS: Where exactly does No Gravity take place?
Seb: Somewhere in the universe, in a galaxy where the Krosso Empire reigns. The story takes place in a distant future, so you are free to imagine the possibilities of where the human race might be given thousands of years ahead.
In the game, you will go to different sectors of the galaxy. Some of them are in deep space; some are in asteroid fields, sometimes in tunnels within some planets, sometimes over planets. The environment is diverse, so is the action.
EDPS: No Gravity reminds me of a 3-D Super StarDust HD, would you agree?
Seb:We are flattered by the comparison because Super Stardust HD is a really good game and also that you are comparing our PSP game with a PS3 game [btw, No Gravity is absolutely awesome graphically on the HD screen!].
We think we are different on many levels.
We have a plot that is part of the game (ok, you can see No Gravity strictly as a shooter if you want to, but you will loose most of the experience).
We have a much wider variety of gameplay, much more diverse environments, and we believe we have a longer duration.
If you are talking about the PSP platform only, we also believe we have better controls (it’s kind of hard to use the L-PAD button in Super Stardust Portable).
EDPS: Would fans of the classic, original PSP game find similarities between that one and this one?
Seb:I guess you are referring to the homebrew game (or eventually the PC game).
We have been official PSP developers for a considerable amount of time now (more than a year I’d say), so, as you could expect, the game will be really different.
The homebrew version was a nice short demo, but since then, we rewrote the entire game engine, and took onboard a lot of constructive criticism from fans and then from Sony.
When we submitted the game for the first time (concept approval), it came back with a “pass” (meaning we could have released the game middle of last year), but with a long list or remarks or wishes to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. All the comments made perfectly sense and we are really grateful for such feedback.
We decided to do all the requested changes which improved the game to the final product.
So, if you loved the “classic original PSP game”, you won’t be disappointed by this one and you can expect much more, higher quality, more content, and all for a very reasonable price.