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PSP Launch: Formula One gets on the grid

Michael Schumacher stuffed into your PSP. Don't let him out. Ever

One of the nice things about PSP is going to be all the licensed sports games. Like Formula One. It's got all the official teams, drivers, cars and tracks, and all on a little PSP. Honestly, sometimes we wonder how it all works and then we get a headache and sometimes sick up a bit.

So to keep our Pot Noodles in our bellies we'll keep it simple. Essentially you've got everything you get on the decent PS2 Formula One games, and then a little bit more too. For a start you can play wireless multiplayer with eight other racers and also transfer ghost cars and fastest laps with your mates via the magic of wi-fi.

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But here's the cool bit: When the 2005 F1 season starts its engine you'll be able to download constantly updated stats from the real competition. So if Jenson Button finally gets his finger out of his arse and nails a pole position, you'll be able to download the info to your PSP and race the, er, race. This is good and will undoubtedly make tedious Formula One obsessives dribble sump oil into their Ferrari undercrackers.

Add those cool features to going round and round a track extremely fast and you've got the potential for a brilliant bit of portable F1 fun. Confirmed release date for this one, too (yay!) - May 2005, putting it a couple of months behind the UK PSP launch, we reckon.

So start your engines for PSP Formula One, with this brand new Traveller's Tales developer Q&A, straight from its first hot lap.

We've seen F1 on PS2, can you tell us what is different about this game?

F1 PSP will faithfully recreate all of the same licensed cars, drivers and tracks stages as its PS2 counterpart. The whole feel of the game is positioned differently from the console version. The emphasis is on quick easily accessible gameplay for the user and will aim to give short and exhilarating bursts of action all in a handy sized package.

So it's not just a port?

No, F1 has been built from scratch by a different developer from the PS2 version. When it launches in May 2005, F1 will also be faithful to the 2005 season which won't begin until March next year and will also include the new Turkish circuit which the general public won't even see until August 2005.

What new elements have you introduced to the game?

All racing modes like Quick Race, Time Trial, Single Rally and Championship will feature a series of mini arcade style modes designed to take advantage of the quick pick up and play nature of PSP. This should allow the races to still be as immersive as Formula One games on PS2 but with more frantic action perfect to 'dip in and out of' whilst on the move.
We've also added a Scenario Mode to the game, where players can re-race some of Formula Ones most memorable moments.

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Is this created by the same team that worked on the previous games?

No, our chosen development team Travellers Tales haven't worked on previous versions of F1. This means that we can effectively build from the ground up and really concentrate on the unique game playing experience that the PSP offers.

Are there many major differences in the development for a software title for PSP?

Although the PSP has proven to be quite simple for developers to get their teeth into, what has been surprising is how powerful the PSP is once you get used to developing for it. This means that to be truly serious about PSP development, team sizes and costs remain comparable to PS2.

Tell us more about the WiFi elements in the game.

F1 will include the opportunity for up to 8 players to play head-to-head via WiFi on an ad hoc basis. This means that it will be easy to establish multiplayer games without the need to be linked via cables or hardware.

Are you going to include any downloadables that can be used to enhance the title at a later date?

Yes, for the first time ever with any F1 game, F1 PSP will include the ability for players to download real grid line ups and qualifying times taken directly from the 2005 season as the race events happen next year. This means that F1 PSP gamers will easily be able to race the season as it unfolds. If, for example, a team or driver got disqualified, or happened to do particularly well in a qualifying session, then you could choose to update the game with the correct stats and have the correct cars in the correct order on the starting grid.

As a developer, what is the most exciting element of working on software for PSP?

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The chance to be in at the ground floor of a new and fascinating piece of hardware.

What features has the game got that takes into consideration the fact that the PSP is portable?

We think that the way people play F1 on PSP will be rather different from the PS2, we don't think that people would want to sit on a train and play a full 65 lap race for instance, so while every mode will be there, its length and span will be set within the parameters of PSP play.

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