Very recently Sega held a Virtua Tennis 2009 preview in their London HQ called ‘Masters Monday’ and on hand at the special event was one of Xboxic’s regular readers and forum member: Diogo Miguel. Not only did he get the opportunity to play the game on all 3 current next gen consoles, but he did a smashing interview with the developers Sumo Digital Ltd.
One of the burning questions that many people may have had was why the game had a name change. Well the game producer Toby Allen, responded that although it was a new interaction of the game, it was only really more of an update. This is more than anything a modified version of Virtua Tennis 3, with some of its weak points removed for improvement. He hinted that the 2009 could bring about a yearly update based on the response given to title after release. In terms of new characters there is a handful of mostly European players such as Anna Ivanovic and Andy Murray. This new version also sees some new players like Hewitt out to reflect real life explained the producer.
Another question to do with characters was if they knew where Duke and King were inspired from. As both stated it seems that most knowledge known is that they were introduced into Virtua Tennis 3, due to being on the previous games. It is not known exactly what influenced the creation of these characters but both are comfirmed to be unlockables in 2009!
In terms of the music it was asked if it was done by Sumo Digital or sourced from AM3 itself. The answer was that all of it was taken from previous games like VT world tour and other installments. This meant that it was all produced in AM3 and so no new musical score specifically for this title. Another point brought up was if there was a digital/physical album release for the music. It was all up to SEGA according to the producer which problably means that it would take a bit of fan service to get it going.
Everyone really likes the mini games in Virtua Tennis but what was the inspiration behind them? According to designer Kenton it was all pretty much down to getting staff together and starting to get down some ideas.They would then come back to them and go through design, prototyping and other phases to see what worked.
In Virtua Tennis 3 players would work out a sweat with the more time they spent playing tennis. This was one of the realistic aproaches taken to make the game more real life like. In this game producer Toby explains that the crowd is now made up of 3D models. They will also react more actively to what is happening in the game. Another new feature includes a camera which follow the player around.
Finally it was interesting to find out what differences were there between all three version of the game. As designer Kenton said there was not even one piece of content which was on only one or more of the versions. Instead of cutting back on features it was made clear that no game related content was different on the three versions. He said that fans often commented how the Wii often lost some of the other content put on xbox 360/ PS3. The solution to implement same content throughout was not easy but will hopefully have positive results.
Virtua Tennis 2009 will be released on 29th May. Key Features Include:
Thanks to Diogo Miguel for the developers interview, and if anyone has any further questions or comments regarding this game why not ask Diogo in the comments section below?