Project Gotham Racing is one of the most respected racing series' around and just as PGR 1 & 2 became flagship titles for the original Xbox, PGR 3 is spearheading Microsoft's push into the next generation and the launch of the Xbox 360.
To be honest Project Gotham's racing style has always appealed to the boy racer in us. We're not hardcore enough for Forza and although we certainly enjoy the more lightweight thrills of Burnout, PGR's amazing visuals, great feel and enhanced kudos system has always offered a happy medium between the two ends of the racing spectrum.
High time then we caught up with Bizarre Creations, the high revving team behind the PGR 3 project and so we managed to pull Gareth Wilson, Design Manager, and Roger Perkins, Lead Coder, out of the PGR garage and onto the grid to answer our latest enquires.
However while we were waiting, we also managed to grab a first sneak peak at the game in action during last week's Leipzig Game Show and will be bringing you a full in-depth report soonest. Initial Impressions are highly favourable though, with some gob smacking city environments, fully animated fully 3D crowds and some of the hottest motors on the planet. More is imminent, but now on with the interview...
We're expecting PGR3 to be one of the 360's launch titles - do you feel any additional pressure in development being one of the 360's flagship titles?
Bizarre:: Of course - the pressure to be a launch title is immense, as you're not just competing with time pressures (eg. to meet a particular Holiday period) but also with hardware pressures. I think we'd under more pressure given that we're being released by MS and exclusive to Xbox 360, rather than a third party publisher. MS and the fans of the series want us to deliver a spectacular product. Can we go and change our trousers now, please?
Informed opinion and the odd PR leak says that there'll be over 80 cars in PGR 3 - what are your favourites to race and why? What the hottest new car on the track this time around?
Bizarre:: We're going for 80 cars - it's a figure we thought a lot about. We didn't want too many that you'd never get to own them all, or too few that everyone's tastes weren't being met. We concluded that 80 of the hottest cars in the world is a suitable number that should satisfy the vast majority of players car lust, and provide enough variety within the game.
Also, when we looked at what cars people played on the PGR games, almost all of them were super cars. With 360's increased graphical bar, each car takes months to make, so we wanted to make sure we made each one count. But obviously you need variety too, so there are still five classes within the game's structure. Some of our cars are pretty much road-legal go-karts, whereas others are big and heavy muscle cars - we've tried them together and there's a very big difference, even within the supercar class!
Favourites? It's impossible to single any particular cars out, as everyone here seems to have their own list! We think that's what makes the selection of cars work - it looks like pretty much everyone will find a bunch of cars they want to own!
Which tracks and circuits will you be offering in PGR 3? What kind of driving and design challenges have they presented?
Bizarre:: We have five areas modelled within the game, and they have a huge variety within them. From short laps to the very long haul - there's something to test every driving style. Even though there's fewer actual cities than in PGR2, fans can expect that PGR3 will have more pre-defined circuits than its predecessor. What is more impressive though, and what pushes the number of tracks you can drive sky high, is the route creator. With this powerful tool you can create your own routes through any city and make tracks that defy the imagination. It's one of the coolest things about the game.