Interview David Lunz

Interview de David Lunz

Puissance Nintendo interviewed David Luntz (Z-Axis Founder) about Z-Axis' first Gamecube game : Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2.

Puissance Nintendo : We can notice that your studio Z-Axis is specialized in the development of (extreme) sports simulations. Why this choice ?

David Luntz : "We love extreme sports. They're fast, look awesome, and focus on the individual doing creative, amazing things in different and interesting environments. We've created other games in the past that aren't based on extreme sports (and I'm sure we will in the future), but that's our focus right now. "

PN : Could you present to our visitors your first production on Gamecube : Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 ?

David Luntz : "It's an expanded and enhanced version of the PS2 release.
-There are 2 new levels (Venice, Italy and Greenville, North Carolina) for a total of 10 gigantic levels. Plus there's a very powerful Park Editor to create your own levels.
-There are major graphics enhancements over the PS2 version. For example, the textures which were in the PS2 version have been replaced with ones that are 2-4 times the resolution.
-The load times are more than twice as fast as the PS2 version.."

PN : How did you choose the different characters and the different levels ?

David Luntz : "The game features 14 real pro riders, including 10-time world champion and 11-time X-Games winner Dave Mirra. We wanted a really wide selection of pro riders with different abilities in vert, dirt, and street riding. As for the levels, we created places that we thought would be incredibly fun to ride. We also recreated Woodward Camp, which is the largest extreme sports facility in the world where the top BMX riders, skateboarders, and Inline skaters all go to practice and learn."

PN :The soundtrack, which fits well with the style of the game, is magnificient. Why is it so important ?

David Luntz : "Great music really enhances the gameplay experience. Acclaim spent a lot of money investing in a fantastic soundtrack that really complements the game and the feeling of speed and excitment you get while playing."

PN : Why have you created a few, but colossal levels ?

David Luntz : "There are actually 10 levels in the game, which is more than other extreme games right now. The fact that they are massive (over twice the size of the levels in other games) was made possible by the fantastic work our engineers did in writing a really fast rendering engine. It freed up the artists and designers to create huge, immersive envrionments to ride and explore."

PN : Why is Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 for 2 players only, although you developed 13 multiplayer games ?

David Luntz : "We focused on 2-player games mostly because that is the most typical situation for gamers. We'll be looking into it more for our future games, and as the network for online console gaming grows."

PN : Did you take your inspiration from Tony Hawk Pro Skater (one of the first and the best extreme sports simulations) ?

David Luntz : "THPS is an excellent game, but ours is quite different from it. The fact that both are extreme sports makes for obvious comparisons. However, there are some key differences. We created the Trick Modifier which allows player to create their own tricks on the fly. This means you can do about 10 times the number of tricks in Mirra 2 as THPS 3. Our levels are also much larger, which changes the way the game plays because you spend a lot more time exploring and trying new things. Fortunately the fact that they are different sports makes it easy for both to be successful in the market. The original Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX sold over a million copies."

PN : Are the X-box, PS2 et NGC versions of Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX 2 the same? Why ?

David Luntz : "The Xbox and NGC versions have 2 extra levels (10 total) and major graphics enhancements. The Xbox version also lets people rip their own songs to the Xbox hard drive and play the game to their own custom soundtrack."

Z-Axis just finished its first GameCube title, and the second one is forthcoming ! We can't wait trying... both !

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