For some players, Gran Turismo is the signature PlayStation game series. For others it may be Ratchet and Clank, or even Uncharted, but for this writer, one game and one game alone deserves the title: WipEout. From the demo level on the sampler disc packed in with the original PlayStation right on through to WipEout HD on PS3, WipEout's fusion of incredible speed, futuristic weaponry, electronic music, and cutting-edge aesthetic design has never been matched.
When the PlayStation Vita launches in just a few short weeks, WipEout 2048 will be right there with it. Today, Sony has released two versions of the game's opening cinematic -- one with a commentary track, one without. Additionally, new screenshots give players a chance to view some of WipEout 2048's ships at a much more leisurely pace than the game would ever allow.
WipEout's Vita debut is crammed with new features that exploit the hardware's strengths. The system's rear touch screen handles acceleration, while weapons can be triggered on the front. Six-axis control has been carried over from WipEout HD, and Vita's camera can broadcast your smiling face to anyone you beat online. For the record, WipEout 2048 supports traditional controls, as well.
Looking for a game that shows off the Vita's gorgeous OLED screen? Look no further. Check out the evolution of anti-gravity racing in the opening cinematic for WipEout 2048 below, straight from the game.
As the opening cinematic makes clear, WipEout 2048 is set at the dawn of anti-gravity racing -- it's a racing game prequel! For a more detailed take on what the game's developers had in mind when they crafted the cinematic, watch the opening again, this time with commentary from Game Director Graeme Ankers and Art Director Lee Carus.
Control innovations aside, what is really going to set WipEout 2048 apart at launch is cross-platform online play. Up to eight players can battle it out on WipEout's twisting, turning tracks using either Vita or PlayStation 3. It's a fantastic feature that unfortunately isn't shared by fellow Vita launch title ModNation Racers: Road Trip, which has no online multiplayer at all.
The only problem is that WipEout 2048 on PS3 won't be ready by Vita's launch, but not to worry -- the developers at Sony Liverpool have come through with a short term solution. Studio Liverpool’s Stuart Tilley and Graeme Ankers address the issue in an interview with thesixthaxis.
“The idea behind cross-platform play is that it allows players to compete head-to-head online across more than one hardware platform, in this case players on Vita and PS3. The thing is, WipEout 2048 isn’t available on PS3, so WipEout 2048 will ship with WipEout HD content allowing players to access online games of WipEout HD.”
Presumably, an announcement about WipEout 2048 on PS3 will be made at a later date, though support for WipEout HD cross-play is a most welcome (temporary, we hope) substitution. With any luck, the WipEout HD Fury expansion content will make the cut, as well, particularly given that the whole package was available to gamers as part of Sony's Welcome Back Program after last year's PSN attack.
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Ranters, are you excited for the return of anti-gravity racing? Is WipEout 2048 a must-buy Vita launch title? Let us know in the comments below.
WipEout 2048 releases February 15, 2012, for the PlayStation Vita.
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