SingStar producer Jonathan Mead talks to eu.playstation.com about SingStar Dance and SingStar Guitar.
How will SingStar Guitar and SingStar Dance expand the SingStar experience?
These titles will allow four people to be involved in the game, all at the same time. This is a very big and exciting thing for us.
SingStar has a great online community and people are always uploading videos. Often you can see people in the background who want to take part, and this gives them the opportunity to really be involved actively with the people who are singing, whether that's by dancing or playing guitar.
What advantages will SingStar Guitar and SingStar Dance bring to the game?
I think the main advantage is that this will offer our users a much deeper choice of how they interact and play our game.
Previously it's just been singing, and some people can be a bit nervous or apprehensive about getting up and singing, even though we try and get round that with the game offering things like two mics, so everyone sings together.
But now we will offer two modes where you have greater choice of how you want to perform. Users who don't want to use their vocal chords can play the guitar or can dance around. The main advantage is it's a wider choice for people to get involved in the game, and perhaps more importantly to all be involved together
Will there be a licensed SingStar guitar or any other peripherals?
We don't have any plans at the moment to release any guitar peripherals for SingStar Guitar, but it should work with any existing guitar peripherals that you have bought for the PS3. As long as you have one of those it will be compatible with the game. In terms of dancing, all you'll need is the PlayStation Move controller and the PlayStation Eye camera, and then you should be away.
Are you planning to use PlayStation Move in any other ways involving SingStar?
PlayStation Move has certainly offered us some exciting new options with regards to playing SingStar. Tracking player's movement and actions is not something we have previously been able to do in the game and we certainly intend to reward players for getting their groove on to their favourite tracks
PlayStation Move allows us to do subtle little changes to the game such as navigating menus; with a flick of the wrist you can use it as a magic wand.
Will both titles support downloadable content?
Yes, the SingStore is a massive part of SingStar, with over 2,000 tracks up there now so we're certainly looking to make sure both SingStar Guitar and SingStar Dance have a presence on the SingStore, and that will obviously evolve and develop over time.
Will SongPacks be available for them?
Again, the SingStore is so hugely important to SingStar I am sure we will see some SongPacks. We have a new variety of modes so it gives us more options in terms of what we can offer consumers. I'm sure we will be wrapping them up into SongPacks at some point.
What sort of challenges did you encounter in creating these games?
SingStar has been going for five years now and has sold over 22 million copies; it is such a well known and established game. Any additions to that in terms of gameplay had to be really carefully considered, because it's important that they really enhance the experience. Through a lot of research and development, and a lot of hard work I think we've achieved that with Guitar and Dance. There is a full user element, and everyone can get involved and enjoy their role. We want everyone to enjoy what they are doing.
The other thing is that SingStar prides itself on being very easy to use. It's very simple to navigate the menus, set up the game and start playing. Obviously now you're going to have different options in terms of if you want to sing and dance, or if you want to sing and play guitar. It has been quite a unique challenge to maintan that level of ease, but one I think we have resolved well.
What's been your favourite and coolest moment in these games?
I think with both modes, my favourite and coolest moment has been the same. It has been the first time we have had four people up and actively playing SingStar. Whether it is singing and dancing or singing and playing guitar, you've got four people who can all get together and really enjoy the game at the same time.
How do you feel SingStar has helped in pushing the music genre forward?
I think SingStar has shown people just what can be achieved in the music genre when you really get the game right and empower your users. I think it is hard to talk about his topic without again mentioning our community. Connecting and conversing with our users is something we are extremely committed to and I think the benefits of this approach are being acknowledged in other games in the genre.
What tips do you suggest to help a shy potential SingStar player get up and dance or sing?
We have a saying that inside everyone there's a SingStar and I for one really believe this. I think we all like to get involved with music we listen to, and people find it easiest to perform with friends. With these exciting new modes there could be no better time to get up and give it a go.
Why do you think SingStar has become so popular since its release?
It's a game that's so simple; everyone intuitively knows how to play it. It brings friends and families together and creates a fantastic party atmosphere. Additionally, the team remains 100% committed to developing and evolving the game, so it continues to offer something fun for everyone.
What is your favourite SingStar song?
It might be Dizzy Rascal and Calvin Harris - Dance Wiv Me. I enjoy it when you get one person singing and one person rapping; it always makes for good audio and visual playback. It's always good to have a little bit of rapping, especially perhaps when you get the older audience involved.