As part of our exclusive look at Virtua Tennis 3 for Xbox 360, we were lucky enough to score an interview with Darren Mills, creative director for Sumo Digital, the developer making the Xbox 360 version. This is no mere port, says Mills - read on to find out more details. If you haven't yet checked out our hands-on, you can find it here. Be sure to check the Images tab above for exclusive screens and hit the Movies tab for two exclusive gameplay movies. Search hard for the flicks labeled with "02-06-07."
GamesRadar: Can you explain what VT:TV is, where the idea came from, and how you're implementing it into Virtua Tennis 3?
Darren Mills: VT:TV is a new feature that allows players to spectate on Xbox Live games. It's an idea that came from the previous Virtua Tennis: World Tour we did for the PSP. We couldn't put it into that version, so we're really pleased to have been able to use the Xbox 360's Live capabilities to bring this feature to life.
The way we've introduced this feature is through various key modes; the first being the "All Star Channels" which will allow you to watch the games from top players on Virtua Tennis 3. The second mode is the Live channel, which allows you to watch games as they unfold live, and the third channel will be the "Highlights," which will show off a dozen or so clips of the games played online. In addition to these modes, you can view clips from the leaderboard and you can view 10 minutes of a player's match from their gamertag.
GR: The challenge of bringing the fast-paced play of Virtua Tennis to Xbox Live must be significant. Can you talk about how you've handled it?
DM: We've put a tremendous amount of effort into these features and we listened to the comments that were made in the previous versions of the game. Our focus point has been to make the online experience as enjoyable as possible, without suffering from the common online-related issues such as lag and bad networks.
We have achieved this by keeping the gameplay exactly the same as if it were offline, at 60 frames per second, which will allow you to play the game smoothly and naturally. Using Xbox Live and our code, we have strengthened the networking aspects of the game to give the player the best gameplay possible.