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Interviews

Motorstorm Apocalypse

Evolution on urban off-road racing

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Sony is putting out a few really good racers at the moment. At the one end you've got ModNation Racers that's made a big impact, and GT5 is coming out. Where do you see Motorstorm fitting in? Is being a part of that group of racers a benefit or does it make things more difficult?

Oh it's a massive benefit because Sony as a company look at what games we need to develop for the platform. We're a first party developer, we are a hardware platform holder, we've got to develop games that show off the hardware so we've got to have things that are unique propositions.

Motorstorm for me has always been a unique game, even in the racing genre. Interestingly enough we're actually in the Guiness Book of Records for having the most number of vehicle classes racing simultaneously, it's a fascinating fact. That's what set us apart initially, that was our first impact. It was, "Can we do multiple vehicles all racing together?" Because no racing game had done that before.

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Even to this day nobody's hit upon it or been able to combine that because it's a balancing nightmare let's be honest. We've got some techniques from over the years that let us do this.

So for me Motorstorm has had that unique feel; the multiple vehicles, the multiple routes, the kind of festival atmosphere and the irreverent attitude to it and stuff. So that's always set us apart I think and that absolutely fits into Sony's kind of brand.

There is something for every group of racing fans I think. Nigel the game director on the previous two titles was once quoted as saying that Motorstorm is not so much a motor sport as it is a Hollywood recreation of a motor sport event. And that's what we've always been about, the game is there to entertain the player.

Yes it's a racing game, yes you've got to get first and beat your time and stuff and there's a real deep handling model there, which people have seen with the previous two Motorstorm games. But it's accessible and it's entertaining and it's instantly gratifying and rewarding.

Even now Motorstorm and Motorstorm 2 are standing on their own as unique pillar titles, this is just to the Nth degree. It's a reinvention of the franchise almost. It's what makes Motorstorm, Motorstorm with so much more content and so much more action and just building on those kind of pillars really.

On the Hollywood front there are obviously going to be parallels drawn with Disney's Split/Second. How do you think the two compare and what does Motorstorm do differently?

As I said before we've been working on this for a long time now and the game design and the game components have evolved. The earthquake was our key focus but everything else has been built on top of that.

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We've been inspired by lots of different sources. I think it's fairly clear that the obvious source of inspiration is disaster movies but if you look at things like 2012 in recent years, even going back to things like Independence Day, Hollywood has a great way of doing these event movies, these real spectacles and we just thought we've got to do that for a racing game or just a video game. We've got to present that visceral same thrill in a game format.

The action genre does it and the first person shooter genre does it, they're really good at telling these really interesting entertaining stories with huge set pieces and loads of things going on, we were like, "Surely you can do that in a racing game." So that's where our thought process went.

We looked at what was central to Motorstorm and looked at this kind of Hollywood interpretation of a race - How do we build on that, how do we increase that, how do we improve on it? And one of the core tech we've got is this thing called the gag system, that's been in since the first Motorstorm. It's a system for controlling the behaviour of the AI. We set out to say "look, the AI are out there to win, absolutely it is a racing game, but they're also out there to entertain the player and actually primarily they're out there to entertain the player"

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