November 3, 2001


Criterion Talk About Their Latest Game, Airblade

Airblade is yet another Criterion based video game, but so impressed were Sony with it that they are going to publish the game themselves in PAL markets. Airblade is very similar to Criterion's stunning Trickstyle on Dreamcast, but looks much better, plays much better and well, is much better. This is one hot title and Criterion have answered a tonne of questions related to the game. Here's the interview with Craig Sullivan, one of the development team at Criterion;

Craig Sullivan. One cool dude.
Within the game you have created a unique 'boarding' experience for gamers - can you describe this?
We've really tried to make every element of Airblade feel like a 'Next Generation' boarding game. It's got a storyline, it's got fully interactive beautiful environments and most importantly of all it lets players get their hands on the craziest piece of sports equipment ever - The Airblade itself. You basic mission goal in the game is to play through the levels pulling off insane moves, smashing stuff up and rescuing your friends along the way.

Click To Enlarge Image
Airblade lets you get massive air.
What gave you the idea to develop a game that was based on a futuristic street sport?
As a team we had all played and enjoyed a lot of skateboarding and snowboarding games but felt that sometimes the constrictions of reality meant that in those games we couldn't really let rip and go mad. Everyone knows that skateboards can't ride up steps, or fly hundreds of feet through the air. Snowboarders can't drive round city streets or spin round poles and posts. We wanted to play a game where you could do these kinds of things and a lot more, so we decided to make our own.

As a street sport fanatic, does the experience of riding an Airblade appeal to you?
Definitely, I've ridden on skateboards and snowboards before and they are lots of fun, but if someone offered me a real Airblade to ride on I'd jump at the chance. Wouldn't you? Imagine people faces as you zipped past them in the street!

Click To Enlarge Image
The game has very slick graphics.
Give us a guide to using an Airblade - the top 10 moves you'd like to pull on an Airblade?
I don't want to spoil the fun for those people who have not seen the game yet, so I'll just give you five of my favourites. You'll have to play the game and find the rest for yourself!
1. Spinning around poles. Players can use horizontal and vertical poles to get to places they couldn't normally reach, or continue their combo of tricks round the worlds. They're pretty cool and you can only perform these moves in Airblade.
2. Using the boost. When players perform tricks their boost bar is filled up, this can then be used to jump really high and get up some serious speed. Using both at the same time can result in some HUGE jumps that are unlike anything people will have seen in other games of this type.
3. Grabbing cars. Need a quick tow across to the next mission objective? Ride up behind a car and press the grab button for a free ride.
Click To Enlarge Image
Grinding on some rails earns points.
4. Spinning grinds. The grinds in Airblade aren't just the same as in other games - If you're feeling brave you can get the rider to spin round faster and faster. It's a good way to get lots of points and chase after things, but harder to balance than normal grinds. Only for the skilled players!
5. Tricking through stuff. The tricks in Airblade aren't just there for show. When the board is being shaken it gets 'excited' and can help the player smash through solid objects and even blow up machinery and vehicles.

Do you think an Airblade would fit in with our current lifestyles?
I think if people saw someone riding down the street on one they would be pretty freaked out, but they would either want to have a try at riding it or want to watch the rider pull off some crazy moves. I pretty sure kids would love them but their parents wouldn't because they're so fast and probably quite dangerous!

Click To Enlarge Image
Handspring = 450 points.
If the technology was adopted, how do you think we would see it used today?
I suppose if the technology was real anything could be made to float on a cushion of air. Chairs, bikes, cars, maybe even beds? They could take you to work in the morning then wake you up when you get there!

Is this the future of street sports?
Maybe. We'll have to wait and see everyone thinks. I certainly think Airblades could be as popular as skateboards and BMX's have been.

Can you see the development of dedicated Airblade parks?
I don't think we'd need them. It would be much more fun zipping about in the city centres and skateboard parks that already exist.

Click To Enlarge Image
The levels are quite detailed.
Can you imagine this would be welcomed by the current street-sport community?
I think they would be all for it as most of them would go out and buy Airblades themselves.

If an Airblade was invented who do you think would ride it?
Anyone who is interested in extreme sports or anyone who has seen the film 'Back to the Future 2'!

If you had an Airblade what would be your top ten complexes, settings, sites around the world in which you'd like to ride one?
It's way too hard to choose a few places to ride around if I was given a real Airblade. You've got to remember that it's floating on a cushion of air so it would be fun riding around on everything from a flat piece of concrete to a bunch of sand dunes and even the local river or the sea. I'd want to try them all out.

Click To Enlarge Image
Tricks are the key to success.
Do you think Airblades could also become a future mode of transport?
As I mentioned earlier, I think if the technology existed there's no reason why it couldn't be attached to anything. I'm sure there would be hover cars and buses that could drive anywhere.

In terms of enjoyment, skill-test and richness of experience in what ways is riding an Airblade superior to skate boarding and snow boarding?
Put simply it's everything that I've covered in this interview. It's all about being given this piece of technology that's so cool it doesn't even exist yet. When you play Airblade you're not using a skateboard or a snowboard or anything else that's real so you can only be limited by your own imagination. Now get out there and get going!

Criterion can be found at :
Sony can be found at :

I hope you enjoyed reading this interview. If you have any comments or questions E-mail me at :