Hello again, everyone! Team RamRod here, the developers of High Velocity Bowling for PS3 and NBA 09: The Inside for the PSP. Now that our HVB update is available and our basketball game is on the shelves, we finally have some time to provide another long post!
Our PSP NBA series is the only sports series that we know of that has been created from the ground up specifically for the PSP (as in, it’s not a port). Since it is not a port it can be optimized year-after-year to be tailor-crafted for the PSP. This has resulted in silky-smooth 60 frames per second gameplay and an absolutely feature-packed UMD.
Being on a portable system has been a huge influence on the design of NBA 09: The Inside on PSP. We have always tried to have a fast-paced game that could be played in short bursts. The on court action is quick and fun, plus there are a ton of mini-games to try. But of course, if you have loads of time, you can play multiple seasons in our new Franchise mode.
What we’d really like to talk about today is one of our favorite mini-games for this year’s version. It’s called ElimiQuest and it’s a little unorthodox. So we’ll start by explaining the development process and how it came to be.
In NBA 07 for PSP we had the idea to do a turn-based game called Conquest. Our team is small and we try to get together about once a month to socialize, eat, drink and play a bunch of boardgames. We like to play a large variety from party games to strategy games. We’re all very interested in the game mechanics and where the strategy and fun of the game is.
All of this led us to create Conquest. When you begin the game, you choose a team and a city. That city connects to other cities that you can challenge or be challenged by. Whenever a city is challenged, the outcome is determined by playing a game of basketball with some minor rules changes. If the challenging city wins, then they gain control of the defending city and it’s team. If the defending city wins, then they get to swap one of their players for one from the challenging team. After each city has had a chance to make a challenge, then the players can be moved from one city to another.
The fun in Conquest comes from stealing another city’s players and building the ultimate team as you march your way across North America! This means that you get teams in Conquest that wouldn’t occur in the real NBA. The boardgame-styled map gives you more to think about as you plan your strategy. You can also upgrade your players and even earn retired players by controlling a whole division.
When we started making NBA 08: Featuring Block Party for PSP, we knew that we wanted another basketball minigame that we could be as proud of as Conquest. We really wanted to change how you play basketball with this one. So instead of constantly using your best players to score, we wanted you to try to score with even the less skilled players.
To accomplish this, we decided that when a player had scored 6 or more points, they should be eliminated from the game. This meant that there would be situations with off-balance teams. You might have a team with only 3 players left going against a team with all 5 players. Naturally, this is an advantage to the player who was able to get a lot of his team to score before any single player got eliminated. The winner is the first team to eliminate 4 of his 5 players. This means that the points earned by the last remaining player are a waste. So you wanna be sure that you know which player shouldn’t score when you begin the game!
To help with the advantage in numbers, we decided to give a power-up to the team that eliminates a player. To help even out the playing field a bit, we took the best power-ups and assigned them to the lower rated players. The best players get the worst power-ups or, in some case, don’t even award a power-up when they are eliminated! This really helped to balance out the playing field of the various NBA teams in Elimination. Teams without big star players generally get better power-ups than the stronger teams.
So you have some decisions to make in Elimination. Do you try to spread out your points so that you maintain an advantage in numbers or do you try to eliminate one of your worst players to get a great power-up? Similarly, do you go the easy route and eliminate your best player and get a weak power-up?
Elimination turned out to be really fun in 08, so for 09 we came up with the idea to combine it with Conquest. The resulting un-imaginative name is ElimiQuest! It plays just like Conquest mode with the strategic map and capturing other teams, cities and players. However, instead of playground basketball, the cities face off in a match of Elimination.
As in Conquest, the players on the winning team that get the most points, rebounds or assists earn you medals to upgrade them. This means that if you really wanna upgrade someone, you’re gonna have to keep them on the court making assists and getting rebounds or have that player score 8 points (the most a player can earn in Elimination/ElimiQuest). Upgrading players in ElimiQuest is a little bit more important than it is in Conquest. If you have a poorly rated player who gets you a great power-up whenever he is eliminated, you should try to upgrade him so that he can be eliminated more easily.
If you’ve made it this far, then thanks for reading! We hope that you all get to try ElimiQuest and let us know what you think in your posts. If there is enough interest, we would love to discuss some of the other minigames that we have like Shootin’ Bricks, Pinball, Block-A-Shot, Own The Court, etc. Unfortunately, ElimiQuest couldn’t fit in our PSP demo, but be sure to check it out for our regular basketball gameplay along with a few minigames. The whole game is only 30 dollars, and we think that it represents a ton of gaming value at a low price.
P.S. Check out High Velocity Bowling from the PlayStation Store for the PS3!!