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Split/Second Velocity

Disney gives CVG the low-down on its new explosive racer...

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We've got a producer whose job is just to do this - to prepare all the data and figure out where it's fun and what's not fun and we can change things accordingly. I think for us that's the biggest thing, because when it comes to talking about blowing things up that's great, but we don't want to restrict other stuff.

So we've made a number of changes. We can change the size of the car, we can change the size of the explosion impact area and it goes from being annoying to "wow I've just escaped that - that's brilliant". That's the biggest thing we gained from the testing.

It would be ignorant of me not to mention Activision's Blur, which is coming out this year as well. Do you see that game as natural competition and what really differentiates Split/Second from it?
It's a tough one. Blur is obviously competition - it's racing and it's doing things slightly different as well. When we first heard of it, we obviously took notice. We think there's enough difference. We almost feel we're closer to Call of Duty or Uncharted in what we do. Even though I think we're doing things differently in an arcade racing style we're separate enough to have two different arcade racing styles if that makes sense.

Zoom

Blur's always going to be competition, but we've always seen Burnout as our major competition. But yeah it's another one, I don't know too much about it myself.

Burnout is probably as close as PS3 and 360 come to a definitive arcade racer. Do you think Split/Second can snatch that title?
Yeah, I think so, I really do. We've never looked at each console separately. I mean, in the final version you're going to notice that the frame rates are identical the levels are identical. We wanted to prove that we could do that - it was a big thing for us.

We played a lot of it on the 360 but then I'll swap next week and I'll play it on PS3. But yeah, in terms of being the definitive arcade racer, I think so. I think it's going to be huge.

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You say Split/Second compares to the Burnout games as more natural competition. Does it sort of evolve on that model? Is it a completely different game?
I obviously love playing Burnout. We kind see this as the next evolution, it's kind of like standing on the shoulders of giants. They've done something brilliant and we just want to do something that takes it to the next level. And hopefully we can make Split/Second as successful as Burnout.

One thing that's very noticeable from the start is the massive interruptions - huge boats and cranes and planes...
Animation-wise it's the biggest thing that's ever been done in a racing game, in terms of what you can blow up. So that is where we come down to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Uncharted 2 comparisons because it's these set pieces. You have to got to script all these things and create all these things.

Zoom

The difficulty for us is ensuring that you can see everything as you race. That's what we like the TV show element. You don't stop the game, but you get to pause to see what's happening.

The highlights camera allows you to just tap a button, and instantly it will show you what you've just done. The artists and the animators put a lot of effort into this and you'll notice the amount of detail instantly - so we hope people use it.

On an animation scale it's not something we've ever done as a company. We're very excited about getting it into gamers' hands.

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