January 16th, 2007, 22:14 Posted By: wraggster
Having already dominated US skies on Xbox 360 and PlayStation, Ubisoft has announced that Blazing Angels, its WWII plane-based shooter, is flying on Sony's next-gen console in time for its March launch (whenever that is, obviously). What's more, the game will hit our shores boasting brand new content and improved graphics compared to the Xbox 360 version.
As one of the world's finest fighter pilots, your stiffest upper lip is required to get through some of the most famous and action-packed sky battles from 1939 onwards, including the Battle of Britain and Pearl Harbour. To make the experience as realistic as possible players can use the SIXAXIS's motion-sensing capabilities to pilot their aircraft, tilting the pad to fly. It'll be just like being in the cockpit of a Spitfire.
To celebrate the imminent arrival of Blazing Angels in UK skies, IGN went behind enemy lines at Ubisoft Romania to interrogate the game's lead designer, Bogdan Bridinel, about prepping the PS3's hottest historical fighter for take off.
IGN: How has the introduction of the SIXAXIS's motion sensing added to the gameplay, and how sensitive and accurate is it compared to the analogue controls?
Bogdan Bridinel: Initially, we didn't know what to expect from the SIXAXIS controls but they turned out surprisingly well. While they do not offer the same level of accuracy as the analogue controls, the accuracy is still quite good and the freshness of the experience easily makes up for the somewhat higher difficulty. We certainly see players using the motion sensing controls and having fun with them, although we can't say for how many players they will actually become the standard playing method.
IGN: Why did you decide to rewrite and re-record the dialogues from the Xbox 360 version?
Bogdan Bridinel: Before starting on the PS3 port we did a review of the criticisms aimed at the 360 game and tried to see which of the problems could be fixed in the time that we had. Rewriting and re-recording the dialogues was not exactly a small enterprise, but we felt it was absolutely necessary, seeing that the dialogues of the original version had been almost universally criticised.
IGN: Although the game was released last year in America on PS3, can we expect to see any improvements for Europe, bearing in mind the additional development time you've had?
Bogdan Bridinel: The PAL version will be identical to the US one.
IGN: Some of the gameplay elements have been improved for this PS3 version - can you explain what these refinements are and why you chose to include them?
Bogdan Bridinel: Most of the changes are refinements based on our post mortem of the game and on the feedback that we received from players and the press. There are many tweaks to the missions and the game mechanics aimed at making the game less linear and more challenging, but also a number of more significant changes. More playing styles are now catered for, as the game offers a cockpit view and the option to switch to a simulator-style control method. Some new HUD elements like a radar were added to give the player more awareness and therefore more options. Plus a new multiplayer mode, called Assault, has been included, along with two new single player missions. The dialogues were completely reworked.
IGN: When you're including new content, at what point do you have to stop yourself and consider that maybe you should make a follow-up instead? Would it have been easier to start from scratch with this version rather than tweaking the 360 game?
Bogdan Bridinel: Tweaking an old game is definitely easier than making one from scratch, but it's true that the scope of the changes we made in the PS3 version is bigger than what you normally see in a port. We simply felt that it would be a pity if we released the game unchanged, when there were issues with it that could be easily, or reasonably easy to change. The only difficulty was in drawing the line between reasonable and unreasonable, as at times we did find ourselves getting carried away and thinking about changes that would be more suited in a sequel.
IGN: How well are World War II games received across Europe? Do you have to tweak content for different countries or is the same game released across the whole continent?
Bogdan Bridinel: Sensitivity is definitely required, but our approach was to make just one version for all territories, making sure that the content that would not prove problematic in any of the European countries.
IGN: The PS3 game already features two new missions - will these ever come to Xbox 360?
Bogdan Bridinel: No, the two missions will not be released on the Xbox Live Marketplace. They are exclusive to the PS3 version and were created specifically for it.
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