The latest installment in Sony's 'play, create, share' saga hits the UK this week: United Front Game's excellent ModNation Racers.
We rather enjoyed taking the customisation-heavy racer for an extended spin as you can see in our ModNation Racers review and on top of that Sony also gave us a chance to chat to the game's director, William Ho, which we did gladly.
How does it feel to finally get ModNation Racers out the door?
I think it's a huge relief because as you may know United Front Games is a new studio and for two and a half years we've been working in relative obscurity. It's our first game out and we don't have a track record as UFG yet. A lot of these people have invested a lot in the game, it's been their opportunity after years of working on other more established franchises to work on something that's unique, original and born out of this particular team.
So for them to work so hard to build everything from the ground up from day one - the company, the studio, the team, the game, the engine, the IP, the art... - we're all very proud and for people to receive it positively is the greatest feeling in the world.
Community's obviously a huge focus for ModNation. Can you give us some examples of how you plan to support the game post-release?
Freedom and expression was pretty important to us when we made the game. Our goal was really to make a sandbox for people to race online, create new stuff and share it in multiple ways, but we didn't want to dictate the work flow or how people would integrate ModNation Racers into what they wanted to do.
So really job one for us after the game is released is really monitoring all the feedback and comments and seeing how people are using the various studios. Are they having a good time? What sorts of creations are they making? What angles are they taking that we could never possibly imagine? A lot of the creations in the public beta actually surprised our in-house artists. They were like, 'oh my god, how did they do that?' which was kind of fantastic.
There are so many creations that are as good or better than the professionally made ones and that's not a threat, it's something that we fully want people to do - to actually make stuff that's better than ours.
So back to your question, we're going to monitor it and we're going to see how we can best support that community based on its needs and feedback.
Do you plan to add more tools to help the community build their own creations?
We envisioned just about every kind of creative possibility to put in the game but we set kind of a high standard for ourselves. So we weren't going to ship anything that wasn't super, wicked, awesome and easy to use.
We actually prototyped many, many features in the early days, but if it didn't get to a point where we felt we could polish it and make it fun and easy to use then we weren't going to finish it, we were going to focus solely on the things that had our absolute confidence. That's how we ended up with the final feature set.
One of the things the reviews have criticised is the small number of actual weapons in the game. Is that something you could expand post-release?
We actually made many more weapons than we shipped in the game and we included only the ones that were balanced, fun and accessible. One of the mantras for our game development was that everyone should have a chance to win every race and so with the balance that we struck with the weapons that we shipped... we're quite happy with that.