Interview with Chris Mahnken, Producer of Tribes: Aerial Assault
Arnold Katayev: For starters, what goal is the Tribes team hoping to achieve with the release of Tribes Aerial Assault.
Chris Mahnken: Our goal with Aerial Assault is to introduce console players to the fast and fun world of Tribes. We want to deliver the pure essence of Tribes - speed, action, and excitement.
AK: Since the game's announcement last May at E3, how far along has Tribes: AA come along? How consistent is the game engine with the frame rate.
CM: The game is coming along well. Complex situations with a lot of AI and player models on the screen at the same time can cause some slow-downs, but our goal is to get as close to a rock-solid 60fps as possible.
AK: How long has Tribes been in development for the Playstation 2?
CM: Tribes: Aerial Assault has over a year of development behind it now.
AK: How complex is the game's graphics engine. How much additional detail, in contrast to the PC version, has Inevitable implemented?
CM: There have been improvements in nearly every aspect of the graphics, such as better effects, better textures, and improved visibility.
AK: How many players can we expect to duel against in the PS2 version of Tribes?
CM: We're shooting for team sizes of between four and eight, so you'll probably see 10-16-player games online. All the maps have been re-tooled for faster, tighter game-play to support the smaller teams. With appropriate bandwidth you can host games with up to 32 players.
AK: Is the team currently looking forward or planning on a PC or Xbox version, so that PS2 owners have more opponents to face?
CM: Right now we're focused on the PlayStation 2 version. It's too early to talk about other consoles, though both are certainly a possibility.
AK: With Bungie's Halo touted as one of the finest console FPS titles, how well do you think Tribes: AA will hold up?
CM: Well, they're definitely completely different games. HALO is primarily a single-player game with some basic multiplayer functionality. Tribes Aerial Assault is primarily a multi-player game with some single-player content. We're not trying to compete with HALO's single-player story with Tribes Aerial Assault.
AK: Has the Tribes: AA team gotten to know the ins and outs of the PS2 hardware? How long did it take to get adjusted?
CM: Inevitable are very experienced console developers, so it didn't take them long at all to come to grips with the intricacies of the PS2.
AK: Can you discuss the features that Tribes: AA will include?
CM: The most notable addition is the single player campaign. While Aerial Assault is still primarily a multi-player game it does have a nice campaign to bring the player into the universe. It's a great way to get your feet wet before going online and taking on your friends. From an in-game equipment standpoint we've added 4 exclusive vehicles, which are all single player controllable. We've also put a lot of work into tuning the game specifically for the PS2 controller, and as a result we've added some things - like aiming hints and assistance - which you wouldn't see on a PC product.
AK: With the massive 40GB HDD, will PS2 owners be able to download character skins, new maps, new weapons, modifiers, among other extras, like a typical PC FPS title?
CM: Tribes: Aerial Assault does not support the PS2 HDD.
3/7/2002 Arnold Katayev