CricketGaming conducted an exclusive Interview with the producer of International Cricket 2010 Mr. John Szoke. He has answered all the queries regarding the improvements in this game along with new exciting features.
CricketGaming: Could you explain why you decided not to do a PC version this year? Is this the end of Cricket games from Codemasters for PC?
John Szoke: Ashes Cricket 09 didn’t sell the numbers we had originally hoped for on the PC and once we began design and work on IC2010 it was obvious that some new features like the power stick weren’t going to translate across to PC easily.
No, it’s not the end of Cricket on PC. Every version of Cricket, as with every game that Codemasters develops goes through a process to decide best fit, user base, market opportunities and so on.
CricketGaming: Starting from Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting and Ashes, why there is a change in the franchise again?
John Szoke: If I had my way it would be branded Viv Richards Cricket J
Obviously we want as strong a brand as possible and champion players come and go.
When the opportunity came up with the English Cricket Board and Cricket Australia it was too good to pass up. The Ashes is the biggest Test Series in the world and our main market is England and Australia so last year it made perfect sense to brand the game in this way.
This year we are excited to be branded as Codemasters International Cricket. It’s simple and players will instantly know what the game is about whether they know about current players or not.
CricketGaming: What are the major improvements made in International Cricket 2010 from Ashes Cricket 2009?
John Szoke: One of the main things is the new ‘action cam’ for batting and bowling.
As exciting as the traditional ‘TV broadcast’ cameras are, we wanted to bring a fresh approach to cricket games. We have tried to make playing a cricket game as exciting as actually playing cricket! When a fast delivery is hurtling down at you, it is a frightening experience. Running between the wickets, bowling a plumb delivery and shattering the stumps – these are all amazing moments that gamers have never been able to experience on-the-field, just like the real players. Until now Broadcast mode is still available by simply clicking the right stick in. But we believe once you experience the new action cam, you won’t want to go back!
A new ‘tournaments’ section with four new tournaments based on the big four limited overs contests – World 20 Overs (T20), 20 Overs Super League (T20), Champions Cup (ODI) and World Trophy (ODI). You can select to play in different regions around the world, and even customize your own tournament. Winning tournaments unlocks you brand new 2010 kit items, and other awards.
The ‘power stick’ is a subtle but powerful feature, which allows the user to go for less risky ones and twos, instead of always risking a full-strength shot to the boundary. On harder difficulty modes, this feature becomes an invaluable tool for players to ‘get their eye in’.
The AI will play a more realistic game of cricket against you. Batsmen will pick gaps in the field more intelligently; bowlers will be more devastating with their line, length and tactics. Teams will chase and set totals, declare and follow-on appropriately. We think you’ll find the AI is much improved over Ashes 2009.
Animation has received a lot of attention as well. Obvious improvements are the bowling actions and general on-field movement – on the whole the experience should feel a lot more polished and realistic.
Bowling game-play has had slight makeover. You no longer position the reticule, you hold it in position. Same with adjusting your spin/swing. This gives you more control, and also allows you to ‘bowl by feel’ – after experiencing this we think you’ll understand why we made the change. It also enables you to play…… in NO HUD mode! This is probably our favorite ‘hardcore’ feature. You can literally turn off every HUD in the game, so you’re just playing cricket out in the middle. Want to spot that gap as the batsmen? You have to look around and find it. Want to bowl a bouncer? Pull back on the stick. It brings a whole new level of immersion and authenticity to the experience. We know many of you have wanted to try batting without seeing where the ball will pitch until the last second just like real life – now you can.
CricketGaming: Any plans to use the power of DirectX 11 for future version if there are plans for PC version?
John Szoke: As stated above these factors are all taken into account when going through the business case for the next version of Cricket.
CricketGaming: Visually Ashes Cricket was very good but we felt the gameplay was lacking. The gameplay is described “authentic” for IC 2010. Can you explain this?
John Szoke: We believe Transmission delivered a very authentic Cricket game with Ashes 09. Previous versions of Cricket played out the same way and often felt like you were watching cut scenes rather than playing the game. We’ve built upon Ashes 09 in IC2010. No two balls are ever the same. Two strikes are never the same. The gameplay engine allows for a large variety of cricket pacing from batting out the final day of a test to blasting away at the final overs of a 20 over match. All of the improvements we made this year with the changed gameplay cameras, AI and so on have been to create the most authentic Cricket game possible.
CricketGaming: Ashes Cricket 2009 was a chart topper in 2009, won “Best Cricket Game” in Cricket Gaming Awards 2010 by 51% votes. Do you think IC 2010 will also be a hit since there doesn’t seem to be much difference between the titles?
John Szoke: Well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see because the proof is in the playing. I am no doubts you will be hit for six!
CricketGaming: Is there any feature implemented to tackle the quitters in online mode?
John Szoke: Yes, we have a sportsmanship rating that let’s you help decide which players to play against.
CricketGaming: Codemasters have also released Brian Lara for mobile phones in the past. Any plans with IC 2010 for the same?
John Szoke: At the moment our sole focus is getting IC2010 done for PS3 and 360.
CricketGaming: What other platforms are you targeting in future for next cricket game?
John Szoke: Our first goal is to finish IC2010 and see how it is received. Then we’ll begin discussing where we need to take the game and what platform best meets that need.
CricketGaming: The field editor of Ashes Cricket 2009 was very limited which was one of the negative factors about the gameplay. Is there any improvement in the field editor?
John Szoke: The field editor is the same in IC2010. It is on the list of features to be overhauled in the future.
CricketGaming: Mr Firth told last year that there may be more licenses in the next game. Why only English and Australian licenses?
John Szoke: Well we do have many more licenses in the game this year with regard to kit items like bats, gloves, pads etc. This year we are sticking with just England and Australia but that does not rule out new licenses being explored in the future. However this is a process that takes time.
CricketGaming: What you would like to say to the cricket gamers as a final message?
John Szoke: We hope you enjoy IC2010 and get a real kick out of the new action cam modes and greatly improved gameplay.
We all from CricketGaming wish you Good Luck and we hope it will be another hit like Ashes Cricket 2009. Thank you for taking out some time and answering the questions.