Interviews: Sanzaru Games - The Sly Collection
Posted by Christopher Ingram
The Sly Collection is a compendium of three of the best-loved PlayStation 2 adventure platform games, with some additional PlayStation Move minigames too. To find out more about how the three titles made their journey to PS3, we sat down with Glen Egan, President of Sanzaru Games, to talk Move, minigames and shiny, shiny trophies.
Movemodo: For gamers unfamiliar with the Sly series, could you please describe what can be expected when purchasing The Sly Collection?
Glen Egan: The Sly Cooper Collection is huge, there is so much gameplay packed on this disk - it is absolutely the best PS3 game value on the market today; there are 3 complete action packed adventures! The games feature Sly Cooper the debonair Raccoon and master thief and follow the exploits of him and his gang as they elude the law and rob the corrupt. At its core are action adventure mechanics with a healthy dose of platforming, a little stealth and dozens and dozens of minigame challenges.
MM: The Sly series hasn’t seen a release in over 5 years until this updated release of the collection. Were there any worries that the games might be too outdated for today’s audience?
GE: I think the Sly Cooper games were so well ahead of their time that other action adventures are only now starting to catch up!
MM: The Sly collection has made the transition to HD wonderfully – how challenging was it to update the graphics to HD? Did the cel-shaded graphics make a difference in the transition?
GE: Graphically the transition to HD was not particularly challenging, the assets have an art style that is scalable and translates easily. The more challenging aspects were in carefully unravelling the extremely intricate code Sucker Punch had created and redirecting it to the new hardware. Sucker Punch has very strong kung fu in this regard and they did an amazing job with the original PS2 hardware.
MM: Sly 3 for the PlayStation 2 released with 3D capabilities 5 years ago, where in The Sly Collection the game features an advanced Stereoscopic 3D utilizing newer technology. What problems had to be overcome to make this transition?
GE: Again I don’t think the transition aspect was particularly difficult as it was just a matter of tuning the 3D depth to a range which worked for the players and the environments. The more challenging part of creating the experience in 3D was maintaining the high frame rate with HD stereoscopic rendering.
MM: Were the mini-games specifically designed for PlayStation Move or was that a nice bonus?
GE: The mini-games were all designed around multi-player motion gaming, I think the Move lends itself to the on and off the couch multi-player and we wanted to create something that plays into that.
MM: What were the reasons behind the games themselves not being fitted for PlayStation Move support?
GE: The original games are masterpieces and we really didn’t want to change the gameplay mechanics and behaviour to support the newer peripherals. I think motion gaming should be created from the ground up, there are some titles where retro-fitting will work straight out of the box but I think it would not have done the franchise justice.
MM: What is it like to develop for the PlayStation Move? How difficult a peripheral is it to develop for?
GE: It’s not particularly difficult to develop for the Move I think it is important to understand the device first and make the gameplay second. If you come into it with assumptions about behaviour and visual feedback and build around those things the designs will often fail. So as long as the designer and gameplay engineer have a clear understanding of the device you can quickly start to make fun mechanics.
MM: As a developer who has worked with PlayStation Move, what do you see the future holding for the device?
GE: I think the Move will broaden the PlayStation 3 as a mass market brand, I think there is a lot of potential for quick and fun downloadable games that take advantage of the device, I look forward to seeing these pop up on PSN.
MM: The Sly series is known not only for being a great series of platforming games, but its comical cast of characters as well. Which character in the series do you find to be the "favourite"?
GE: Dmitri – he is so greasy sweet!
MM: The Sly Collection boasted a total of 116 trophies, including 3 Platinum trophies on one disc. Was it difficult to get approval for this amount of trophies to be allowed for the collection? Could the individual games have received the full 50+ trophy treatment?
GE: We wanted to treat each title as its own entity since each game delivers so much fantastic content. There are more than 10 hours of gameplay for the individual titles so we felt each game deserved its own platinum. If a consumer is going to more than 10 hours to play our games they deserve a platinum trophy for their efforts.
MM: This is the second “Collections” title to hit the PlayStation 3 behind God of War Collection. Are there any other PlayStation series you would like to see updated into HD?
GE: Hmmmm, well everyone talks about Ico and Shadows so I don’t think I need to hit that one again, personally I want to see Dave Mirra BMX on the PS3 (but that’s just me!)