MI6 caught up with the production team of the forthcoming Sony PSP edition of the latest James Bond videogame "From Russia With Love" for an exclusive interview...

FRWL - Sony PSP Producer Interview
3rd February 2006

How easy is it for someone who has never played a PSP before to pick the game up and start to play "From Russia With Love"? What features have you included to help first timers?

The target lock system makes From Russia With Love PSP accessible to less experienced gamers. It’s something that anyone can pick up and get the hang of within a few minutes. The more advanced features such as the finishing moves and Bond Focus have a steeper learning curve, but they’re still reasonably intuitive and not overly difficult to become comfortable with.

We also have the “Operative” difficulty level, which is tuned to so that novice gamers can enjoy the entire mission based story mode. We’ve placed hints and tips on the loading screens, which gamers of all experience levels will find useful.

Above: The cut scenes have been faithfully converted to the PSP.

How did you decide which technologies to integrate for the game? With a new range of features available to consumers what will set this game apart past handheld Bond titles?

Our main goal was to have the PSP version of From Russia With Love be a thoroughly engrossing PSP game, so we put a lot of thought and effort into making it just that. The desire to create quick and easily accessible gameplay experiences also motivated many design decisions, from creating shorter campaigns to a new focus on mini-games. I think that gamers will find that this title takes the handheld Bond video game experience to a whole new level.

Visually, what improvements will we see over previous handheld games in "From Russia With Love"?

For starters, From Russia With Love is completely 3D and takes full advantage of the PSP hardware. The game looks great on the PSP and retains much of the visual quality of the console versions.

What were the most difficult aspects and technical challenges developing the game for the new PSP platform? How have you adapted the control system to work on the PSP?

The tricky part of adapting a console game to the PSP is that the PSP system lacks a second analog control input. It also has fewer buttons than any of the console controllers. We spent considerable effort thinking the controls through. We didn’t want to remove any functionality, yet we had fewer options available to us.

Because of the lack of a second analog control input, we wanted to make sure that gamers had solid camera control and the ability to move the player while manually aiming the target reticle. The player can enter a free look mode by holding the L button down and moving the analog stick and also rotate the camera on the X-axis while running through the environments by pressing the Circle and Square buttons.

Additionally, we’ve given players the ability to set their control preferences such as manual aim sensitivity, manual aim input (analog stick or face buttons) and invert the Y-axis in the control options menu.


Sony PSP - USA
14th March 2006
Pre-Order $49.99
  Sony PSP - UK
17th March 2006
Pre-Order £29.99

How has the game engine been tweaked to suit the PSP? If so what differences will we notice compared to the console platforms?

We’ve added ragdoll physics, which makes Bond Focus very cool on the PSP. We’ve overhauled the UI to cater the in-game inventory system to the pick-up-and play aspect of the PSP. Players will be able to upgrade their inventory items on-the-fly instead of having to navigate complicated menus.

There are new Bond Moments in the PSP version of the game. Finding Bond moments unlock new classic Bond villain multiplayer characters. And of course, there is online multiplayer with bots, which makes the multiplayer experience entirely different than on the consoles.

The PSP features wireless, allowing for multiplayer action, will we be seeing any new environments?

Yes, there are 3 new multiplayer maps available on the PSP: Factory, Sniper Alley and Train.

Will the five new multiplayer characters be original EA creations, or from the Bond universe? Will we see Bots in the multiplayer environments?

The new unlockable multiplayer characters are 100% classic Bond villains. Bots play a big part in the multiplayer experience.

Above: An example of the new rag doll physics in the PSP version.

Can you tell us a little more about the 16 mini games? What will they be made up of 3rd person and jetpack?

There are 2 Bond Challenges for each of the 8 missions in the game. The first challenge is unlocked when you disable the target number of enemies in a mission. The second challenge is unlocked when you complete a mission within the target time. There is a good deal of variety to be had in the Bond Challenges. There are races, shooting galleries, objective based challenges and survival challenges in which your goal is to stay alive as long as possible.

The game will feature a new gadget called the ‘Q Dart’ - can you tell us a little about it and how it works?

The Q-Dart is a new gadget that the player gains a few missions into the game. It’s a small disc that Bond throws (using manual aim) that hovers and targets and dispatches enemies. The Q-Dart is most useful when it is deployed strategically (thrown around corners, in doorways, etc.). It has limited ammo, so it is not something to be used wantonly.

Above: Red Grant in action.

How long has the title been in development? Did you spend much time trying to match the established console version?

We started developing the PSP version towards late in the development cycle of the console versions and are we are just putting the finishing touches on it now.

We wanted to keep the story elements and the basic gameplay mechanics from the console versions intact. But, the PSP is an entirely different animal than the consoles. We wanted this version of the game to hold its own as a PSP title, so that was how we approached developing it.

Finally, what are you most proud of with the game? What do you think Bond fans will enjoy the most?

I really dig the Bond Challenge mini games. They’re perfect for the pickup-and-play style gameplay that PSP owners want. Multiplayer is also a lot of fun, especially now that we have bots. I think that Bond fans who have PSPs will really eat this game up. Multiplayer is awesome, the Bond Challenges are super cool and of course, we have none other than the original James Bond (as portrayed by the legendary Sir Sean Connery) as the centrepiece of the entire game.

Many thanks to EA Games.

"From Russia With Love" was developed by EA Redwood studios (USA) and shipped in November 2005 on Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube. The Sony PSP will ship March 2006.

Stay tuned to MI6 for the latest unrivalled coverage of "From Russia With Love" (VG) starring Sean Connery as James Bond 007.

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