Get the lowdown on DJ Hero 2 with Jamie Jackson, creative director at Freestyle Games.
Jamie Jackson, creative director at Freestyle Games, gives eu.playstation.com the inside scoop on the upcoming PS3 hit.
It's been less than a year than a year since DJ Hero was first released on PlayStation 3. Have you been working on DJ Hero 2 right from the moment the first game was released?
We basically killed ourselves on DJ Hero because we were pulling 15-hour days for quite a long time to get it done. There was a mass exodus as soon as finished it, but then very quickly we had to get straight back on it. So DJ Hero 2 has been made in around seven months.
Was it easier developing the game second time around considering the engine and game mechanics were already all in place?
Yeah, we had the foundations and everything in place but at the same time we didn't want to just throw out the same game again with different music, because it's important to us to have new features such as the Battle Mixes. That was a big win for us. We actually had planned to include them in the first game and made some cool mixes I genuinely hope see the light of day.
Have you got a favourite that has yet to be released?
Absolutely! It was the A-Team theme song versus Knight Rider and it was amazing. I need to see that song come out because it is awesome. We really had to get those features in this time, so to include that and the finessed Freestyling was great.
How did you find licensing the music for the mixes for DJ Hero 2? Was it a simpler process second time around?
If I was to say it was easier, the music licensing team would kill me because it wasn't easy for them. There were elements that were easier because last time they had to go and explain a game that didn't exist. Now they have something that exists and it's successful. So in terms of explaining what's going on to an artist, it's easier and the net result of that is we have much more current music in DJ Hero 2.
You've certainly made a lot of changes in terms of how the game is presented to players. Was it always the intention to alter it so much?
We're a very self critical studio to be honest. We'll look at the product we produce and we'll be critical about what we didn't get right or what we weren't happy with. A couple of those were things like the graphics on the front end of the game which, while being great pieces of graffiti artwork, leaned too much towards a hip hop game and that's not what we were. We needed to address that.
Also, feedback on how people were doing in the game wasn't as good as we would have liked so we wanted to improve on that. We also didn't want to go down the route of it being like a pseudo piece of studio equipment; we wanted to have some nice clean graphics that simply conveyed winning and losing. That's it.
One of the big DJ superstars featured in the game is Deadmau5. He seems like a perfect fit for the game because of the mouse head he wears during his performances.
Yeah totally; he's been around a long time but now he can fill stadiums because he's just exploded on the scene, and I think a big part of it is that head he wears. There's a bit more of a theatrical edge to it than other DJs out there and he plays to that, but at the same time he laces it with very cool DJ music.
And of course you also have the biggest DJ in the world - Tiësto. Was it easy to get him involved in the game?
He was banging our door down on DJ Hero. He was at our launch party for the game at E3 2009 where we had Jay-Z and Eminem. He came over to us saying "I want to be in your game!" and we just couldn't fit him in because of timing. I think it's actually worked out better because this game is more geared towards having the likes of Tiesto and Deadmau5.
Where do you see rhythm-based games going in the future given the way games and consoles are evolving rapidly with the advent of Stereoscopic 3D and motion control?
I think there is lots of interesting stuff coming up with motion control that is pretty interesting but for me music games live or die for on the social side of things. They are about having fun with groups of people. Very rarely do you see social, dip-in, dip-out gamers sat at home playing a music game on their own.
There might be the odd one or two that would pick up the latest big release, but generally it's a social experience. It's about watching and laughing and having fun with someone playing that kind of game, so for me, music games are part of that and they've got to carry on being a part of that space.
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