Madden is looking a hell of a lot more clean than the last time we saw it. The development team has managed to get the gameplay experience tuned to fluid console standards. The magic of Madden has always been the grace with which everything is executed. This handheld version of the game is shaping up to exemplify that magic touch.
We talked to Damion Banks, one of the producers on the project. He was willing to give us the skinny about what he thinks of his upcoming PSP milestone.
IGN: How long has Madden PSP been in development?
Damion Banks, Producer, EA SPORTS: Our team at Tiburon has been hard at work on this since late 2004.
IGN: Are you trying anything new with the PSP technology that you couldn't do on the PS2?
Damion Banks: PSP technology is much different than PS2, so there are many things we had to do differently and wanted to do differently. For example, we had more time and resources to create many more mini games - 18 in total with 10 PSP exclusives including passing distance, WR catching, DB coverage and KP/PR drills. We also have an exclusive assistant coach mode where you can progress your practice squad players through the new mini games, then sign them to your team when they're ready.
IGN: What are the biggest challenges when working with the PSP? Is it really easy to develop for? Is it easier than developing for PS2?
Damion Banks: The biggest challenge for Madden was infrastructure mode. This is the first EA Sports title to have it and we're extremely excited about it. We felt that it was essential to allow gamers to find challengers online via a wireless network.
IGN: What do you think are the benefits of releasing a title on PSP?
Damion Banks: The advantage of the PSP is that you can enjoy console-quality games on a handheld. For the first time a handheld has a significant "wow" factor
.when people see a game running on a PSP they feel like they have to run out and own one themselves.
IGN: How challenging was it to find a way to incorporate the Wi-fi capabilities into PSP?
Damion Banks: It was definitely a challenge to implement infrastructure mode. Luckily we have a great team here and we were able to come up with a mode that will provide great gameplay experiences for gamers.
IGN: What are you most proud of in Madden PSP thus far?
Damion Banks: Honestly, I'm not just saying this, but we are proud of the entire game. We have spent a lot of time an effort on this and we are extremely proud of the results. We now have Madden on the go. We love it and we think the gamers out there will too.
IGN: Has there been a game that has come out on PSP already that has impressed you?
Damion Banks: Mostly all of them, NFL Street especially.
IGN: Can you explain further how the cross compatibility between the console Madden and Madden PSP game works?
Damion Banks: You can transfer files (rosters, profiles and spawned franchise games) between your PSP and PS2 through the PS2 link feature with a USB to mini USB cable or through the EA Locker online. Rosters and profiles are interchangeable. Spawned games from your PS2 can be played on your PSP then merged back into your PS2 franchise so you can play your franchise on the go.
IGN: Load times have been an issue with PSP games across the board. Has the team found it especially challenging to keep the load times down for Madden PSP?
Damion Banks: This has been a challenge for all PSP game so far. We feel that we have done a great job on load times.
IGN: Do you think that Madden PSP is the killer app that the PSP needs? If so why?
Damion Banks: YES - for several reasons. First, the full version of Madden, the biggest sports game of all time, is now available via handheld. Second, it's much more than a console port - this version has cool, unique and exclusive features. In our minds, this is a new game...we even gave it a unique new look with fresh new cover art that distinguishes it from the console product and a separate launch window in late September. Third, the console compatibility provides all sorts of exciting possibilities for Madden fans. Imagine playing some franchise games on the weekend, uploading upcoming games to your PSP, playing them out during your weekday commute, then exporting back and continuing your franchise during the next weekend. Lastly, the game looks great
and to put it simply
it's a lot of fun. I take a lot of business trips and this is going to make life a lot better.
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