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Motorstorm Apocalypse: 'This could be the pinnacle of off-road racing'

Assistant game director talks pushing the PS3 to its limit...

Motorstorm's a pretty crazy combination of off-road racing, engine-burning boosts, reckless ramming and collisions that consortia crumble-zones like an accordion.

To say that the latest iteration, Motrostorm Apocalypse, looks like it's going to be the most ridiculously insane of the series so far is something that shouldn't be taken lightly.

With the only terrain left untouched being the urban environment, Evolutions Studios has taken to racing on the city streets. But the whole point of Motorstorm is that it's a bumpy ride, one that somehow gives players just as rough a ride as it does the vehicles on the tracks.

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That's why Evolution has thrown an earthquake into the mix to rupture the city before bringing it down around players as they're racing. It's an extreme concept to say the least and one that demands a lot from Sony's console.

We sat down with assistant game director, Simon Barlow to talk about just how the PS3 is coping and where Motrostorm goes from here.

So what's happened since we last spoke? You're coming up to release...

We're coming up to release, yeah, a lot's happened since then really. We built the rest of the game! Okay so lots has happened in between; obviously more content has been added, we've refined the existing content. But I think if you go back to that initial reveal and you look at the track that we showed. That core experience is still there, and that's over a year ago now, right?

We've stayed true to what this game was all about to begin with, we set our stall out early on, we said, "Motorstorm Apocalypse is going to be X, Y and Z. It's going to be about chaotic, brutal, urban off-road racing in this apocalyptic environment," and that never went away, we stayed with that.

All we did was we refined it and we added to it, so the content you saw initially was the tip of the ice-berg really. And as we got better at developing this stuff we just got more and more cool s**t to show people.

You said you're pushing the PS3 to its limit with this game. Developers say that all the time... what does it actually mean for Motorstorm in terms of content?

When people say that, there's always room for improvement - you can always get more out of the hardware. Look at people who are programming demos for the Spectrum and the C64 still, they're doing things that 20 years ago were never possible on that hardware - no one thought you could do it but people have found a way to do it.

So when you say you're maximising the hardware, you're not really, you'll always find a cleverer way of doing what it is you need to do. What we mean is at the moment the code that powers this game has been so refined for us for what we're doing.

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I mean, just to do this in single player - 2D single player... This level, Ways Of Mutilation is six minutes of epic chaos and devastation, it is as big and as bold as the best summer blockbuster, it's absolutely full-on. To deliver that in 2D is a challenge, to deliver it in 3D is even more of a challenge, to deliver that in four-player split-screen is a f****** nightmare, to do that with 16 players online - you're having a laugh.

But we've done it and I don't what it is... coders are funny, the vast majority of coders will sit there and go, "It can't be done," and you're like, "Dude it's code anything's possible, you'll find a way." And then they find a way and they're really excited.

You think you're pushing it but you keep refining it. And it's not just the code, you refine the artwork, you're constantly looking at ways to optimise, you're looking at being clever, you're being smart with your budgets all the time.

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