E3 2002: Dave Mirra BMX XXX preshow report

Acclaim takes the wraps off the third installment in the Dave Mirra series.

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Acclaim has released some details about the upcoming installment in the Dave Mirra BMX series just prior to the commencement of E3. From the sounds of it, a great many additions and alterations have been made to the game's formula, several of which have yet to be seen in a sports-action game.

According to Acclaim, the level of interaction you will have with the other characters in the environment will be greater than ever. You will get to interact with "hot chicks, shady characters, and other players," according to the publisher, and their characteristics will be scripted by some of Hollywood's top comedians. Acclaim hasn't yet revealed exactly who makes up this talent. These interactions, though, can reportedly have an effect on the layout of the actual gameworld, in a manner much like what we saw in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. These layout-altering events won't necessarily be triggered by talking to other characters, however, because any number of events could lead to the geometry being altered. The earthquake that you could trigger in Tony Hawk 3's Los Angeles environment is a good context for this sort of thing.

Powering all this will be the third-generation incarnation of the engine that Z-Axis has used to develop the Mirra games, which, Acclaim is promising, will permit two times the overall poly count of its predecessor and will allow everything to run at a constant 60 frames per second. The trick system will also see some additions. There will be 2000 tricks in the game, and the trick-modifying feature has reportedly been upgraded a bit so as to allow more freedom when you choose to alter tricks on the fly. Flatland tricks will also be added, and to capture them in the most pleasing manner possible, Z-Axis has enlisted Chad Degroot, the arguable master of the discipline, for motion-capture duties.

In terms of riders, Dave Mirra will of course reprise his role as cover boy, and he'll ride among 15 of his peers, including Ryan Nyquist, Dave Osato, Troy McMurray, and Mike Laird. Z-Axis has also included female riders in its game for the first time, and Acclaim has made it quite clear that their hair, clothes, and "anatomy" will obey the laws of physics. You will also be able to create your own custom riders--male and female. And when any of these characters crash, the game's skeletal dynamics system will reportedly help make the bail routines quite gnarly.

The bikes themselves will be able to undergo tweaks for the purposes of more meaningful interactions with other characters, and, hopefully, the environments as well. Things like bottle-rocket launchers, leaf blowers, and fire extinguishers will reportedly be able to be mounted on players' bikes, which makes any number of slapstick sequences immediately evident.

The game will feature eight levels, all of which will encompass all the essential elements of freestyle BMX riding: vert, dirt, flatland, park, and street riding. Exact locations remain unrevealed. The create-a-park mode will return, too, and Acclaim has stated that this time around you will be able to trade parks over the Internet. You will also be able to rank your progress online against that of other players. A host of multiplayer modes are also promised, though no word has been released on them as of yet. Whether any of these are online remains to be announced.

We'll have more information on Dave Mirra BMX XXX from the E3 show floor once the show commences. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions.

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