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Why WipEout looks better on Vita

Submitted by on Thursday, 19 January 201211 Comments

Two things sped through my mind faster than a Pirahna while playing WipEout HD tracks on PS Vita against a PS3 player: (1) the crossplay worked perfectly, with no noticeable lag or advantage for one platform over the other; and (2) it looked much better on the portable.

The improved quality can partly be explained by it being on a smaller screen. Fewer pixels are required to fill Vita’s beautiful 960 x 544 OLED screen. But that didn’t explain the improved depth of colour and lighting.

There is, however, an explanation, which was explained to me by Karl Jones, lead designer on WipEout 2048:

“It’s funny, because on WipEout HD, there was a lot of stuff in that, [which] for some reason wasn’t switched on. It could have been, but we didn’t switch it on. We put it in Vita and it automatically switched on — It just looks so much better than the PS3 version, and when we looked into it, it was like all this stuff wasn’t even enabled on PS3, just like lighting effects and things like that.

The first time we noticed it, we went past this sign. And there was all this light cascading down into the track, and I was like: ‘Has someone just put this in?’ They said ‘No’. We went back and checked it, and when we looked into it, for whatever reason — some tech reasons — it just wasn’t switched on on the PS3.”

There you go, WipEout HD on PS3, which looks fantastic, would look even better if it had some of its features turned on.

Jones enjoyed the experience of developing for the console. “Vita ran WipEout HD off the back without hardly any optimisation”, he says. “We did optimise it to make it better, but we just put it in and stood back to see what happens and Vita ran it. You know, the framerate wasn’t there, and stuff like that, and we messed about with a few things, but we got it.”

When asked for his thoughts on the “portable gaming is dead” debate, he had this to say:

“No definitely not. I can say it’s an awesome piece of kit with no compromisation really. It’s done everything we wanted it to do and more…

And for me as a gamer, not necessarily as a developer of WipEout, but as a gamer, these things, the two sticks – I’m so glad they did that, I’m so glad they did it. If they settled for the one stick like they did first time round I would have been devastated. Two sticks: awesome.”

Interested in WipEout 2048 and want to know more. Read our in-depth interview with Karl Jones, as he discusses WipEout 2048’s singleplayer and multiplayer campaigns: