Interview: Chris Miranda of Santa Monica Studio talks PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale


Interview: Chris Miranda of Santa Monica Studio talks PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale
As the long rumoured PlayStation Smash Bros. style brawler became a reality back at the end of April, we were lucky enough not only to get out hands on a very early build, but also to be given the opportunity to speak to Chris Hinojosa-Miranda of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Santa Monica Studio, the development team behind the game, for a quick chat about what gamers can expect from the latest addition to the fighting genre. While it’s definitely clear that the PlayStation brand has more than enough characters to make a title like this work, there were obviously early concerns as to just how well everything would integrate in order to build a game that was really worth playing, never mind just talking about, but Chris was there to alleviate our worries…
Click: Hi Chris, thanks very much for speaking to us. We’ll start by asking you to tell our readers a little bit about PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale…

CHM: Basically we’re trying to take everything that PlayStation and everything people love about PlayStation – 15 years worth of awesome franchises – and condensing all those characters into a single game. We’ve got characters like Fat Princess and like Kratos, who are complete opposites, all coming together and essentially beating the crap out of each other!

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
Playstation All-Stars Battle RoyaleEnlarge Enlarge

Click: How did you guys go about deciding on what characters to use? You’ve announced six so far, and obviously there are going to be lots more coming, but how did you narrow it down and decide who you wanted in the game?

CHM: It’s kinda like being a kid in a candy store [laughs]. You know, you walk in and you’re like “I want everything! And then I want some more of that!” It’s really about trying to find a good balance between the characters that we wanted to have in the game.

Click: You mentioned the control system when we played it earlier. You’ve gone for a really streamlined and intuitive interface; what was the thinking behind that? Was it a case of making it as accessible as possible?

CHM: Yeah, it comes down to accessibility really. I mean, at the end of the day it’s a party game, you know? We need to make it accessible for people who just want to sit on the couch and have a quick play. You don’t want to have a scenario where a newcomer sits down and tries to play but gets completely frustrated when trying to beat someone else. It was essential that we made this game fun. It’s a fun game, featuring loads of really great franchises and we want to make sure that everyone has a chance to experience that without getting frustrated.

Playstation All Stars Battle Royale
Playstation All Stars Battle RoyaleEnlarge Enlarge

Click: In terms of depth, for more experienced players, have you been careful to ensure that there’s enough scope there within the control system to offer depth and to keep people coming back even when they’ve mastered the basics?

CHM: Yeah definitely. You know, we do have a simplified system with square, triangle and circle being your main attacks, but at the same time the modifier (that’s the analog sticks, which also move the character around) not only creates a much wider range of attacks, as it means 24 moves per character. But we’ve also got the Supers, throws and blocks. So yeah, we wanted to make sure that everyone can have fun, but wanted to implement a system so that people who are really into this game will be able to sit down with their friends and play competitively have the chance to do that. With these kinds of games you have guys who are friends sitting down and playing for things, you know, like “if I win you have to wash my car” and stuff like that, so it’s important that everyone is well catered for.

Click: You’ve mentioned the local side of things, with people gathered around a console, but there’s obviously going to be a hefty online element to the game as well we assume?

CHM: Of course. The PlayStation 3 is online ready and has some great functionality. We’re working on plenty of online modes for the game at the moment, which we’ll be announcing in the near future.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
Playstation All-Stars Battle RoyaleEnlarge Enlarge

Click: You mentioned about how it was a case of wanting everything when you were choosing which characters to include, was it a similar story when it came to the game’s stages?

CHM: Oh yeah absolutely. What we’re trying to go for is a lighthearted fighter, so we wanted to go for really diverse stages. We’ve got things like Jak and Daxter themed level, where all of a sudden you see the Hot Shots Golf characters teeing off in the background. We wanted to go for those “what the hell…” moments, and we’re definitely accomplishing that as we move forward with the game’s development.

Click: Obviously there are going to be comparisons drawn to certain other titles…

CHM: I don’t know what you’re talking about! [laughs]

Click: What would you say really differentiates this game from the other similar games available out there in the space right now?

CHM: It’s really our franchises that make the difference. PlayStation has such a long history in gaming that we were able to pick and choose from some really excellent franchises that feature characters people have grown up with. Obviously there’s that comparison that everyone talks about, but our development team are all huge fans of the fighting genre in general. We’re not looking at one title in specific, we want to create a really fun game. We want to take the very best from all the major fighting games, not just the party style titles, and use it as a base to build a really great experience for our players.

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
Playstation All-Stars Battle RoyaleEnlarge Enlarge

Click: Have you guys got any idea when we might be seeing the game released?

CHM: We haven’t announced a release date yet I’m afraid, so I’ve got no news on that side of things right now.

If we’re being completely honest, PlayStation All Stars Battle Royale isn’t really a game that you can fully comprehend just by reading about it. Until you have the chance to sit down and play it, it’s all too easy to think “oh that’s just another Smash Bros. clone”, but it’s a genuinely different beast, and it’s one that we’re going to be keeping a close eye on as we move towards the end of the year. Although there’s no word on an official release date from Sony or Santa Monica Studio, we’re going to hazard a guess that we’re likely to see it around October or November, so keep your ear to the ground for updates on!

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