We talk directly to Smilebit about its upcoming Xbox sequel.
Smilebit's Jet Set Radio--published by Sega for the Dreamcast console last year and titled Jet Grind Radio in the US--was a game that impressed us on many levels. The game was superbly playable, and its artistic vision brought a breath of fresh (albeit aerosol-tinged) air to the look of gaming and innovated a technique that has become ubiquitous since its inception. Needless to say, we've been eagerly awaiting word of the inevitable sequel.
And word indeed came at this year's Spring Tokyo Game Show. Titled Jet Set Radio Future and currently under development for Microsoft's Xbox console, the follow-up to Smilebit's visual stampede is set to bring a host of gameplay tweaks to the game's system, as well as delve deeper into the surreal mythology of Tokyo-to.
Masayoshi Kikuchi and Ryuuta Ueda--Project Director and Art Director for Jet Set Radio Future, respectively--were kind enough to share some words on the game with us after our initial meeting at E3. While there is still much about the game that remains in the dark, we're hoping that this short dialogue will help everyone endure the seemingly long wait for further information.
GameSpot: The original Jet Set Radio is probably the most unique game around in terms of visual design. What influenced its unique look? How does the team feel about the current proliferation of the cel-shading technique that it pioneered?
Smilebit: The unique look of the title probably came from '70s Japanese animation, comic magazines from the US, and everything from pop art to package designs of junk food and detergent...you name it. Also, stylish music or movies inspired us for the title.
About cel shading, we realize now that the effect is used in many games nowadays. We think it is a good way to achieve originality, since many games are now focused on looking as realistic as possible. We also like the fact that many developers are using the effect--that will help us all to eventually use the effect at a higher level.
GS: What sorts of graphical innovations will the team bring to Jet Set Radio Future? We've seen motion blurs and line distortions--will there be any more?
SB: We are currently working on that.
GS: What is the most drastic change that the team has made to Jet Set Radio Future?
SB: The content of Jet Set Radio Future is totally new and different from that of Jet Grind Radio. In regard to JSRF's gameplay, we are trying to maximize on the "extreme" feel.
GS: What types of changes to the game's trick system will Jet Set Radio Future see? We've heard a lot about combos and gravity-defying grinds. Can you tell us more about the trick system?
SB: Basic action, such as air trick and wall grind, will be the same as that of Jet Grind Radio. In JSRF, players can enjoy doing consecutive air/grind tricks. Other exciting cool action tricks are coming up. Stay tuned for more updates on that.