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Motorstorm Apocalypse

Evolution on urban off-road racing

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So they've got a series of behaviours and a series of triggers and things they can do, and reactions. They know what the players doing and they can react accordingly and they can each do different things.

We thought, "Right now we've got this earthquake, what would happen if we applied that same system to the city and can we control the city in the same way?" That was a revelation for us because we want these events to be really emotive, really impressive but we wanted to do things like... I mean you're seeing a point-to-point race today and it's very late on in the game and it's almost like an escape from the city as it's collapsing around you. We will of course still have circuits but given the Apocalypse treatment.

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So things like looped circuits and our multiple routes will all be affected by the earthquake so things can occur that may close off routes, open up other ones and there may be an event that opens up the ground and...

And they'll be real-time and different?

All real time yeah. And the interesting thing about the main festival campaign, there are three characters, three playthroughs. Each of those three playthroughs is completely unique, you'll never see the same race twice. We've not so much got racing tacks anymore there's not like a pot of tracks that we reuse, each race is totally unique. It's set in different areas of the city and it's been inspired by the west coast of America, taken inspiration from the LA sprawl, places up and down the pacific coast highway, giving that kind of California sort of feel.

So the city's got these unique districts and you'll see, you may play a race as the Rookie in the first play through and it may be prior to the earthquake and as you get to the finish line and you may see some tremors. And as you cross the finish line maybe the Survivor's coming the other way and then in the Survivor's play through you'll switch, playing from that driver's perspective coming back into the city as the earthquake hits.

So it's a completely different experience but there's a chronology there and they reference each other. When we were trying to describe the story to somebody internally Matt said "Well it's a bit like Pulp Fiction" and I was like, "Yeah that's a pretty good analogy". So you're telling the story in chunks but they all cross each other. It's really really fun and we can play around with that.

A big topic at the moment is the issue of the pre-owned market. Is there anything that's going to be implemented in Motorstorm that's going to deal with that?

I don't think it's a question we can answer as developers to be honest. I think all a development studio can do is deliver the best game experience they can and that comes from being passionate about what it is that you're crafting, believing in what it is you're crafting and giving something that the players want or even something the players never knew they wanted, something new and unique to get their teeth into.

If there are problems there I don't think there's a silver bullet to any of this sort of stuff. All that we can do is provide the most compelling game experience that we can and the market will respond to that. We're trying to do something unique to racing and something unique for the Motorstorm franchise.

The racing genre has had a disappointing few years. You can look up any sales figures and even really really extremely high rated racing titles have sold as perhaps they should have done or as perhaps they deserve and so it's in a bit of a rut.

I think genres are cyclical and I'm not sure why that is, I'm not sure why people have moved away from racing games. Perhaps the emergence of the first person shooter on consoles, a lot of people have graduated towards action games and that sort of thing.

But I think what you're seeing is a resurgence in the desire to entertain people, to compete and surpass the very best that Hollywood has to offer. We are now seeing pretty much as a legitimate past-time so let's do more with it, let's do something special with it.

And you know Motorstorm Apocalypse comes from that desire to do something people will look at even if they've never played a racing game, that is just a pure thrill for them. It's the kind of thing that we want people to pause and phone their mates and go, "Christ guys, you've got to see this stuff, this is incredible." That's what we really want.

I want to be clear it's not a cynical move for, "Oh we want some mass market sales!" We are all gamers, we're all passionate about this, this is a real labour of love and we just want to do something that's right. That is a compelling experience, that we want to play, that you guys want to play, that the public want to play.

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