What is Smash ‘n’ Survive? [Interview]

2 Feb 2012  by   Paul Younger
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India is not yet known for being a fertile breeding ground for new game development. For many years now the country has been the home to a number of successful companies that have made good money handling outsourced projects and a developing licensed projects for bigger companies; particularly browser-based and mobile games.
Version 2 Games are looking to break out of that mould, having announced Smash ‘n’ Survive a vehicle based destruction racer in the style of Carmageddon that’s releasing on PlayStation Network on 22 February.
We sat down with Rajat Ojha, president of Version 2 Games, to talk about the company’s plans for Smash ‘n’ Survive and the future of the Indian gaming scene.
IncGamers: Where did your idea for Smash ‘n’ Survive come from? Which games have inspired you?
Rajat Ojha: We actually come from  a simulation background. We had been doing lot of defence simulators including vehicle simulators so when we decided to do a game prototype, a vehicle game was first on the list. Carmageddon was a huge inspiration for us and we always appreciated Flatout too.
IG: Why did you choose to release the game through PSN?
RO: The digital market gives developers like us  more aptitude to control our destiny. We truly believe that the digital downloadable market is here to stay and will keep growing. The retail market is primarily controlled by big guys and big franchises and has become highly competitive and one requires a huge budget to compete in that segment so we decided to stick to PSN.

IG: How large is the development team, and what have they worked on before now?
RO: There  are 35 people in the studio and primarily we all have worked on mission critical simulators. Simulation development is a niche and highly precise domain. Many of us worked on various games on various platforms but for the entire team, this is our first Playstation 3 experience.
IG: What has been the most difficult element of production and how long have you been working on this game?
RO: We kept facing problems on various levels as Playstation itself was new to us. We started with a pretty low frame rate then physics which was totally unstable and our engine’s native sound library was not apt for vehicles.  We kept on solving one problem after the other and finally after 18 months of effort the world will be able to play this game.
IG: How does progression work in single player – career, individual, tournaments, etc?
RO: There’s a campaign mode which has 19 missions and as you progress in campaign mode, specific game modes and vehicles keep getting unlocked so after successfully completing a mission which deals with a team derby kind of scenario, Team Derby (We call it Gang War) mode gets unlocked in Game Modes section.
IG: What can you do to attack/destroy your opponents – are there weapons in the game?
RO: The easiest thing you can do is to smash your car into opponents’ cars but there is a good variety of weapons like saw, blades, plunger, flame thrower, pulsar, sonic boom and electric shock which can be used to attack your opponents.
You can see that we are not using conventional guns and rocket launchers because we want gamers to experience something different. The game also features Quick Time Event Killer Blow which asks the gamer to use R1 button when the nearest enemy’s health is very low and if you press R1 in time, you get extra bounty and the enemy is killed in one shot.

IG: What level of destruction does the game have and how does it affect the gameplay?
RO: There’s a good amount of destruction and you can use various environmental weapons for your advantage like tornado which you can use to kick your enemies inside only to see them get juiced by tornado.
IG: Which match types do you have in multiplayer?
RO: We are currently providing two player native multiplayer and it has Mosh Pit (Destruction Derby), Checkpoint and Plant The Bomb. We have planned DLCs for adding various modes. Six player online multiplayer will be provided for free in April 2012.
IG: Which engine are you using to build the game?
RO: We are using Infernal Engine which was used in Ghostbusters.
IG: Twisted Metal is also coming out in February, are you worried about the competition?
RO: No, we are not worried because our game is totally different from Twisted Metal and is at a totally different price point. We are providing 10 hours of single player experience and I’m sure that people will appreciate the honest attempt from us.
Our missions, weapons and cars are totally unique and will keep our unique position intact. If we would have been worried, we could push the release date but we are fine.
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IG: Is the game coming to PC or any other formats? If not, why? If yes, why?
RO: Currently there are no plans for PC release but we’ll look for exclusive publishers or release it on Steam when we plan to do it. If we find a publisher then we’ll consider a PC release.
IG: How do you see game development in India growing in the future?
RO: Game Development will just get better and better in India because there are so many platforms available which Indians can use to present their ideas and creativity to the entire globe.
There’s already a huge talent pool for art and that’s evident from the outsourcing work being done in India and there are major institutes which teach game related technologies so there will be many more game programmers also available. On top of all these, I see kids who are fully aware of all new games, consoles and even technologies. I’m sure that by 2014 India will have some of the most globally popular games and studios.

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