Crazy Taxi 3 Interview
XBA chats with Senior Product Manager Richard Biggs about Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller
Q: What sets Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller apart from pervious versions?
A: High Roller is the fastest Crazy Taxi game ever, maintaining a solid 60 frames per second (FPS). High Roller sports a massive graphics upgrade. High Roller also features 12 unique drivers, including 4 Xbox exclusive drivers. You can drive all of the drivers on any course once you open up the game. Levels have been completely overhauled to take advantage of the Crazy Jump. You can jump over buildings and onto rooftops. High Roller also has neon signs which come alive at night, new shortcuts such as the ability to drive through subway tracks.
Q: What incentives do people have to buy High Roller if they have other Crazy Taxi games, such as the PlayStation 2 version of Crazy Taxi?
A: They won’t get the huge and Xbox exclusive level, Glitter Oasis. High Roller also has 4 new exclusive Xbox drivers, as well as new passengers. For someone that owns previous versions, they should buy High Roller to get the best of Crazy Taxi 1 and 2. They will also get new minigames in Crazy X, like Crazy Ring of Fire and Crazy Tornado. We also want to tell people that if you haven’t played the series, here is everything you missed. Glitter Oasis is a lot larger that previous levels and locations are more spread out. There is also a new level of interaction, and a very random mix of people. Tourists, showgirls, football players, magicians, mimes etc will all interact with your driver. For example, a wrestler might bodyslam others out of the cab. Your driver will talk to volleyball players about volleyball.
Q: You mentioned a little about Crazy X, could you expand on this?
A: Sure. Crazy X allows you to perfect your driving techniques with some all new minigames. You could be on a football field with tractors chasing after you, smashing into UFOS, or drive across the Grand Canyon. This is a good way if you just want to have some quick fun to get a crazy experience without going into the game mode.
Q: How important was it for the demo of Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller to be released in the August issue of the Official Xbox Magazine, before the full version of High Roller was even released?
A: Well, our research shows three ways customers make a decision to buy a game. The first is usually word of mouth about the game from a friend. The second might be from a review they see from a website they visit or a magazine. The third, or it could even be the second, is by sampling a game for themselves. We want to make a good game for people to talk about it, because usually people don't walk into browse, they walk in to buy. We are also a part of the Xbox Odyssey and in Xbox retail kiosks. People can play right at the point of purchase, and this is really important to us. The Official Xbox Magazine let us put out a demo where the gamers could play for themselves, and the addicting gameplay will drive them into stores. Demos are a great tool for us, and you should expect to see it with the majority of our Xbox games. Every game we put out we try to get a demo of it out too.
Q: What is your favorite part of High Roller?
A: I guess my favorite part is driving with mimes, because I like to scare them. I drive as crazy as possible.
Q: What are some of the new buildings and landscapes the player expects to see in High Roller that have not been seen in previous Crazy Taxi games?
A: Glitter Oasis is filled with neon. The Small Apple course is now at night so it really looks different. We didn't acquire any new licenses, but we didn’t lose any either so you will still see the Kentucky Fried Chicken and the Tower Records on the West Coast course.
Q: What influence does the power of the Xbox have with the game and the graphics ability of High Roller never before seen on other consoles?
A: We can do amazing lighting effects, such neon signs. Now we have made the Small Apple level at night. Glitter Oasis really huge and comes alive at night with the flair of hotel signs and nice effects like reflections on cars. The Crazy Drift will actually blur the cars. There are flame effects around your tires. My favorite is if you drive into oncoming traffic, the other cars headlights will almost blind you. With the Xbox, we can afford to make level huge with all of the memory. With the Xbox’s memory and processing speed we can do a lot more than in previous versions. In fact, on the West Coast course, there previously was no Crazy Jump so we didn't have to render the top and the back of certain buildings because they could never be seen. Now that you can jump onto buildings and drive on the rooftops, the tops and sides of buildings are fully 3D rendered.
Q: What's the story on the new Crazy Jump?
A: I’m glad you asked me that, the team looked on how to make gameplay better. They thought about jumping if you were stuck behind traffic, except it wouldn’t really work if you were staying still and didn’t have any momentum. We tried to combine the Crazy Hop and Crazy Dash, and we made it so you could actually dash in the air. We found out this helps people out, especially in levels like Small Apple so people weren’t stuck or frustrated easily.
Q: When it comes to games, the soundtrack is usually the last thing to be thrown on. With High Roller, this game is about glitz and glamour. How important for High Roller was it to keep the player entertained with an immersive soundtrack?
A: Well, although there is no custom soundtrack, we do have 16 licensed songs from groups like the Brian Setzer ’68 Comeback Special, Methods of Mayhem, Bad Religion, The Offspring and Citizen Bird. that have variety and the spirit of driving a taxi around the different cities.
Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller does have a teen rating, but it is the soundtrack that pushes the teen rating. For concerned parents that actually know how to operate the Xbox, you can set it so only certain songs play. Click the product profile link to learn more about Crazy Taxi 3: High Roller.