VideoGamer.com: Will courses still be split into different zones like in Pacific Rift?
RO: It's certainly not the case that all the tracks are white, so what we've done is divided it into zones, but we don't explicitly reference that within the game as Pacific Rift did. In Pacific you had the four zones. We don't sort of select the zone and then select the track. It's kind of corresponding broadly to altitudes of the mountain. There are twelve tracks, four in each zone. So the low zone has more of the kind of mud, gravel, kind of feel to it. The area's kind of more slushy than snowy. We sent guys out to Alaska to take loads of reference footage. They went to all these different areas, all the way from the foot of the mountain to the top. It sort of reflects the setting quite well. In a way it kind of harks back to the first MotorStorm. Going up the high zone, it's pretty much pure snow, ice, glaciers - we have different types of snow and different types of ice, but a lot of that is very much your whites and Rocky Mountains. The middle zone is kind of a mix of the two, so you've still got some of the gravel and rock, but there's a bit more of a covering of snow coming in.
VideoGamer.com: For me the series has always looked fairly arcadey, but in actual fact is really quite tough. Is Arctic Edge going to cater for the same audience or are you toning down the difficulty for handheld gamers?
RO: In terms of difficulty, I think it kind of ramped up half way through Pacific Rift. I think we'll be looking to temper that a little more, especially as it's on the PSP and that there's a younger audience there. When it comes to replaying races in the free play mode you'll be able to set difficulty, so if you want to race harder races you can. I'm not saying it's going to be a breeze, but we were kind of bitten before by the Pursuit Force difficulty a few years ago.
VideoGamer.com: Can you tell us anything about the game's multiplayer functionality?
RO: We've got standard racing game modes as you'd expect. We've also got something new called Time Ticker mode. It's essentially a replacement to Eliminator. We felt that if you were the last guy and got destroyed, then you were out of the game. Then you've got to wait until everyone is finished. Our time ticker mode is kind of based on eliminator, but you accumulate points based on how long you're in a certain position, so if you're in first your points tick up at a higher rate - if you're in last place your points don't tick up at all. So in theory you could win without being in first at all.
VideoGamer.com: How many players are you going to support online?
RO: We're aiming to support eight players online, and we look good for that at the moment.
VideoGamer.com: Any Game sharing?
RO: No, there's no game share mode.
VideoGamer.com: One or two PSP games have received demos prior to launch. Are you planning to get something on the PlayStation Store ahead of the game's release?
RO: I'm not sure about the date, but I'd have thought there will be a demo. It may well just coincide with the launch.
VideoGamer.com: You guys have supported the PSP from the beginning, so presumably you're confident that Arctic Edge will be a cut above the competition on its release?
RO: I'm pretty confident (laughs). Obviously I've not seen a lot else that's coming out this year, but I do think from revamping and revising our engine we're definitely squeezing more out of it. It's the same engine we used on Pursuit Force One and Two, so we've taken our knowledge and moved forward from there. It's kind of honed in if you like. I'm hoping people will look at it as one of the best looking PSP games, if not the best looking PSP game, ever, maybe this year. Different people have different opinions on graphical looks and what not. A lot of people that have seen it are saying it looks really good, but others are saying it looks samey because it's all Arctic. You kind of would expect that, but different people are entitled to different opinions. When you sit down and play, and you play it on a PSP, as opposed to playing it on a big demo pod, then you will realise how good it looks.