Top Spin 4 is shaping up to be a great addition for the sports genre, with its new fatigue system and its very precise gameplay. So while we also checked out the game, we had a chance to speak to Stephane Dupas, the president of 2K Czech - the development studio which have poured their heart and soul into the game.
He talks about what we should expect from the fatigue system, how support for PlayStation Move came about and why they decided to choose the roster they did.
GamingUnion.net: Can you tell us a bit more about the career modes?
Stephane Dupas: I can't say much about this, but what I will say is that in all Top Spin games, there are always things offline and online. It works if you're playing alone or with friends and in Top Spin 4 you should expect to find the same. The career mode will be new, the online competitions will be new as well.
GamingUnion.net: You've got the fatigue system in there, which is great for the genre. Does it decrease throughout matches or is it just on a point-by-point basis?
Stephane Dupas: Yes. So the way the fatigue works is, you have sort of your reserve for the match. And then, in each of the rallies, you consume it a little bit. So, the lower you are at the end of each rally, the lower it is at the beginning of the next point. So you have fatigue for each rally and fatigue for each match.
GamingUnion.net: So does the fatigue system lower your stats or does it just make you less accurate?
Stephane Dupas: Well firstly, it makes you run and change direction more slowly. So, your player is much less responsive. It also affects the control you have, so if you're trying to slam the ball really hard and the context is quite bad, you have more chance to miss your shot and lose the rally. So it does those two things.
GamingUnion.net: Does the surface you're playing on affect fatigue too?
Stephane Dupas: No, we haven't implemented that in this game.
GamingUnion.net: Do you feel that putting Move functionality in this game makes it a bit gimmicky?
Stephane Dupas: No, I would disagree. We are quite picky about our gameplay so we spent a lot of time setting up the quick-tap shots and the timing. So when the motion controller came we were unsure if it was going to be precise enough to actually deliver the level of control we expect and we decided it was. I recommend you try playing a normal controller against a Move controller and you'll see it will be a fair match.
GamingUnion.net: Top Spin is a rather technical game, so how does it translate over to Move?
Stephane Dupas: Well, you move your controller around with the navigation controller and it'll then use small or large gestures of the main Move controller. You will have exactly the same shot palette.
GamingUnion.net: So you definitely don't think there will be an advantage either way?
Stephane Dupas: There shouldn't be. We spent a lot of timing making sure of this.
GamingUnion.net: Do you feel using PlayStation Move makes the game more accessible?
Stephane Dupas: Well, we've had mixed feedback. When we went to the hardcore audience, they were very worried about the motion controller. They almost didn't want us to implement it because they said "I want to have buttons, I want something more reliable". So, they were a bit worried. But then, we also have newcomers and they find it a lot easier. When you say "do a quick-tap", they look at you rather confused, but if you say "do a small gesture" they understand perfectly. So yes, it makes the game more accessible, which we like.
GamingUnion.net: Why did you decide to add legends to the game instead of licensing more current players?
Stephane Dupas: When we sat down a discussed what direction we should go, I didn't really see us saying "we can have Agassi and Sampras, but we shouldn't". So, for me, to have Agassi, Sampras, Borg and Lendl, and be able to put them against players like Nadal, this is something we found much more cool.
GamingUnion.net: Do you feel this opens it up to different generations?
Stephane Dupas: Not really. I think most of the people who play the game will probably discover Sampras through playing it.