Crazy Taxi: Fare Wars First Look Q&A

Associate producer Stephen Frost spills the beans on the new Crazy Taxi game coming soon to the PSP.

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You could call Crazy Taxi a precursor to the wildly popular open-world style of gameplay that's currently prevalent in games from Grand Theft Auto to Saints Row. Rather than presenting you with discrete courses, Crazy Taxi gave you a wide-open city to burn rubber through, as you attempted to get one passenger after another to his or her destination within a set time limit. The series hasn't been seen for quite some time, but now Sega is revisiting Crazy Taxi on the PSP with the newly announced Fare Wars, and we hit up associate producer Stephen Frost to fill us in on the nitty-gritty.

GameSpot: Why did you decide to bring Crazy Taxi to the PSP?

Fare Wars will give you the same high-flying Crazy Taxi action you know and love.
Fare Wars will give you the same high-flying Crazy Taxi action you know and love.

Stephen Frost: There are a lot of reasons why we decided to bring the Crazy Taxi series to the PSP, but the main one is probably the fact that it is still one of the most popular and well-known Sega franchises. The series has a great history and fan base as it has appeared on quite a few game consoles and the PC, so resurrecting the series on the popular handheld will provide us an opportunity to offer up this game to an even larger audience who may not have had a chance to take Crazy Taxi for a spin. The simple pick-up-and-play design of the series lends itself well to handheld gaming, which is why the PSP made so much sense.

GS: Why did you choose to include both Crazy Taxi games instead of make an original one?

SF: That's a good question. We thought long and hard about it and decided that there were still a lot of gamers out there who either haven't had a chance to play the original two titles in the series or would enjoy playing these games on the handheld. Both of those titles are great in their own right and are especially suited to short playing sessions, which is obviously great for gaming on the go. They still hold up against the test of time, so we felt that an enhanced version of these classics would be the ideal way to not only introduce Crazy Taxi to a new generation of gamers but also bring back longtime fans of the series who have been asking for a portable version.

GS: Why did you choose Sniper Studios to develop the game? Can you give us some background on it and why it's a good fit?

SF: Sniper Studios is a relatively new development studio that is based in Redwood City, California, but the individuals that make up the studio are seasoned vets who have worked on some of the biggest and most successful franchises, including Madden, Star Wars, NASCAR, to name a few. The track record and cumulative experience of its team, namely its management, is what drew us to them. They have worked on numerous platforms, including PSP, and genres, licensed and original, so we're confident in their ability to deliver a quality title that fans will enjoy.

GS: Is the gameplay changing at all?

SF: The main fundamentals of the two games, namely the challenge of picking up and dropping off of customers under a time limit, will remain the same because it's a formula that works well. But that's not to say that we won't be introducing some new features to freshen things up a bit. Obviously, the biggest addition will be a multiplayer component that will allow gamers to hook up via ad hoc and then collaborate with or compete against each other in a variety of modes. For the first time in the series, you'll actually be able to challenge your friends to see who really the best cabbie is around.

GS: How much content is original and how much is taken directly from the old games?

SF: The new additions include the previously mentioned multiplayer component, as well as the passenger-stealing feature, new music, and voice-overs. The core games themselves will remain pretty much the same as their original Dreamcast iterations but will include certain visual enhancements, as well as a shift to a 16:9 aspect ratio in order to conform to the PSP's wide screen. There might be additional changes by the time the game hits store shelves, but details about that will be released at a later time.

Look for a slew of enhancements, such as a new multiplayer mode, new music, and new voices.
Look for a slew of enhancements, such as a new multiplayer mode, new music, and new voices.

GS: Can you walk us through the multiplayer games and how they will work?

SF: As the multiplayer modes are still relatively early in development, we want to keep the specifics under wraps, at least for the time being. The good news is that we are confirming that the game will support multiplayer via ad hoc! Also, I will tell you that some of the modes are classic and to be expected, while others will definitely surprise a lot of the series fans out there. Also, just to be sure we don't leave anybody out, we'll be including a mode that allows for players to challenge each other on a single PSP as well.

GS: How does the movie feature work, and is there an option to share movies with friends?

SF: Players will be able to record up to approximately 80 seconds of gameplay and then view it through the game's replay option. You'll also be able to save the recording to a memory stick and show off your crazy driving skills to your friends whenever you want.

GS: Thanks for your time.

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