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ModNation Racers PS3: Bringing The BOOM with Weapons!

Nick Letizia's Avatar Posted by Nick Letizia on Mar 26, 2010 // United Front Games, Game Designer

Hi PS.Blog dwellers,

Because Mat has already gone in to how racing skill and split-screen are key in ModNation Racers, I’m here to chat about a key part of the title — weapons. Specifically, it’s what we like to call the “Boom Box” weapon system.

Take a peek at our new trailer for a taste and read more below on how ModNation Racers will bring the BOOM on May 25.

Designing the Boom Box

When making ModNation Racers, we realized the need to advance the kart racing genre to the next level with a more physical driving model, but we also wanted to change how players use weapons. Nothing feels better than taking an opponent down, but that feeling of euphoria is soon forgotten when you are on the receiving end of an attack. Weapons can change the course of a race — it’s one of the defining characteristics in this genre, but we wanted to reduce the frustration of unskilled randomness. We wanted to give players more options.

Strategy – Using the Ladder

In ModNation Racers you can choose to upgrade your weapons to make them more powerful, but that doesn’t always come easy. When you get hammered with a lightning bolt from the sky, at the very least, you know your opponent had to work for it. In addition to having the choice between upgrading and firing, we also wanted players to plan out their attacks and try to utilize weapons in different ways. With that in mind, we designed each to have three distinct levels – so when you upgrade, you change the properties of the weapon, which then gives you a different style of attack.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 16 ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 13

Level 2 Bolt attack will hit multiple karts / If the driver a head of you is bringing the HEAT, these puppies will SEEK it.

Using the Bolt ladder as an example, players can decide to fire off a level-1 Bolt attack for a quick, but risky electrical takedown. They can save up to a level-2 Chain Bolt for a homing attack capable of electrocuting multiple opponents, or they can wait until they have a level-3 Bolt Storm (the most powerful) and try to shock entire pack. Finally, any level of weapon can be dropped behind the kart as a mine. The higher the level of weapon dropped, the more potent the mine.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 23A

Drop it like it’s Hot

This is a great way to leave traps for your opponents, and incidentally, gives the player in the lead the ability to still be able to use the weapons they have collected. Now you’re probably asking, “Why would I not just save up and always fire a powerful level-3?” Well, a number of reasons actually, but first and foremost is that your weapons can be knocked out by an opponent’s attack, so holding a weapon for too long might cause you to eventually lose it.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 31A

This is going to hurt.

Also, level-3 weapons take time to work their way through the pack, so your opponents might finish the race before they are hit, or they may have built up enough boost to shield your attack.


One of our core mantras when balancing the weapons was to ensure that there aren’t any “silver bullets.” No matter how powerful a weapon is, there is still a chance to evade it. We also wanted to ensure a tight race, so the power of each stun is scaled based on your position in the race and distance from the player attacking. What that does is allow anyone in the pack to always have a chance. This isn’t so much a “punish the leader” situation, but a way to prevent stalemates. If players in positions 7th to 1st are hit by the player in 8th and stunned for an equal length of time, nothing will change. By having the weapons stun time (slightly) increase as it passes through the race pack, it helps to create a more dynamic race. This then opens up more opportunities for everyone to have a chance at changing their position.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 172 ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 22A

Sonic Bombs will give the kart in front of you an earful / The Sonic Rift blasts all the racers between you and first place

Let’s be clear though, there isn’t going to be a significant difference between the weapons power on the last racer as compared to the leader, but enough to make the leader worry that there are always racers on their tail. We have raced thousands millions of times in the office, and a skilled driver utilizing all of the tools at their disposal can maintain a lead, and that was an important factor for us. Skilled drivers should be rewarded for skilled play, which in turn causes other players to have to think and play differently.

We have a particular useful strategy we sometimes employ here at the office to take down a skilled driver. Two players will “team up” to swap positions and then each fire at the player in front in quick succession, the first to hopefully drain their shield, and the second to take them out. Very effective, although normally those alliances last about as long as the distance it takes to get to the next set of item pods, at which point all bets are off.

ModNation Racers PS3 Screenshot 18A

That’s weapons in a nutshell. I’m sure everyone is going to find all sorts of fun ways to take out opponents online when the game is released, so until then I will leave you all to your plotting.

//Add Your Own

76 Comments   13 Replies

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+ M7261998 on March 26th, 2010 at 1:56 pm said:

what are your expectations for the online community do you think it will be anything like in littlebigplanet

can’t wait MAY 25 i’m so nathan drake


+ M7261998 on March 26th, 2010 at 2:06 pm said:

Will you be able to use your preordered mod and tke his mod parts to make your own mod?


+ meeksparda24 on March 26th, 2010 at 2:16 pm said:

Will there be a demo? I want to try this out.


+ flamemist on March 26th, 2010 at 2:29 pm said:

kratos all the way here XD


+ ADR143 on March 26th, 2010 at 2:47 pm said:

looks great


+ TapDatApp on March 26th, 2010 at 3:16 pm said:

I got into the private beta for this game and going into it knowing little to nothing at all about it, the game BLEW.MY.MIND! Seriously, everyone HAS to get ModNation Racers when it comes out. I’m pre-ordering this weekend and then counting down the days til May 25th, which is luckily only a few days after my birthday. :O


+ Capt-Fury- on March 26th, 2010 at 3:41 pm said:

Would like the shield as an actual weapon too (just like the boost which you can also get from the weapon boxes) I notice that a lot of people in the beta didnt use the shield since they were scare of wasting boost.

While I like that the shield is more of a strategic thing (you have to take in consideration to use the boost for shield or for speed) a lot of the younger audience will not grab that mechanic so easily.


+ sfgdfds on March 26th, 2010 at 4:00 pm said:

so… any news on a Kevin Butler character? as we’re using his BOOM ™ ?


+ wolfzero1 on March 26th, 2010 at 4:04 pm said:

can’t wait for this game, the Hydra & Sonic Boom look really cool


+ SPOOKULA209 on March 26th, 2010 at 4:10 pm said:

I was already going to buy both games day one but they can’t get here soon enough. This game is going to be a surprise hit sales wise imo. Looking forward to it


+ Armstrong on March 26th, 2010 at 4:18 pm said:

This game looks like a ton of fun!


+ Lolsa1 on March 26th, 2010 at 4:27 pm said:

I’m going to preorder it as soon as I get the money. I want the Nathan drake costume but gamestop is closer too me.


+ cfountain on March 26th, 2010 at 5:09 pm said:

this is the next game on my list to get. gonna pre-order it this the coming tuesday.

also any word on a potential demo. im gonna buy it for sure but i didnt get a chance to play in the beta.

keep up the god work guys.


+ Biggy0623 on March 26th, 2010 at 5:13 pm said:

Great game. Day 1 buy for me. Any word whether we will be able to play our own music while playing? Hope this game has a good soundtrack.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Nick Letizia on March 29th, 2010 at 11:23 am said:

    ModNation Racers will support custom soundtracks. So you can play music out of your XMB and it will replace the music in the game. That being said, the music in the game is really solid, so don’t be too quick to play your own.


+ Woollymonster73 on March 26th, 2010 at 5:34 pm said:

I was wondering if the user created tracks will be for ranked games,or just or just the tracks premade when the game ships?
and could you call sony and tell them to put more PS3 out… haha.. before launch i cant find one. and im not going to buy a over priced Ebay ps3, well maybe, this game is the reason i want a ps3


+ jvasq on March 26th, 2010 at 5:45 pm said:

I have a question, if I wanted all 3 of the pre-order skins, will they be availible for download later? how about a killzone skin like a helgast troop or something? sounds like that would be awesome.


+ RynoDaxter on March 26th, 2010 at 6:25 pm said:

hey uh can you make ur own weapons? and can u pre-order the ratchet and clank skins somewhere else than amazon?


+ Seahawk313 on March 26th, 2010 at 7:01 pm said:

Will voice chat also be available on the psp version?


+ Kreamz28 on March 26th, 2010 at 7:10 pm said:

Quick question, will the current Modnation website be updated into a community site where you can check out your stats and see the top creations and stuff, because I really want to see a community site for this game with the same quality as the LBP community site.

Any answers will be much appreciated, thanks.


+ the_jimster on March 26th, 2010 at 7:18 pm said:

Hey anyone mind to answer these 4 questions,I pre-ordered maybe a few weeks ago or more at GameStop and they said any pre-order content would be given out when I come on May 25 and I live in the US so are they right??Also how will you be able to unlock things for your Mod,Kart,and Track??Another do any one of ya’ll know of a demo coming to US PSN Store before and the exact date because I didn’t get to play the Beta and can ya’ll please post it on here right the day ya’ll fing out??Lastly do ya’ll have a PSN Account because I would like to play MNR with Dan Sochan,Chuck Lacson, and a few others??Thanks if ya’ll answer and thanks anyways for a GREAT game!! :)


+ WhiteF8ng on March 26th, 2010 at 7:21 pm said:

The weapon names are great. What’s that coming? eh…that’s just the Hydra hunting me down… I love it.


+ R-O-Ofaliss on March 26th, 2010 at 8:36 pm said:

Will the PSP version be released on PSN the day of the UMD release? If so, is there any way I can still get the Kratos, R&C, and Drake mods for my PSP go since I cant preorder the download and are they available for the PSP version?

Also will there be any kind of connectivity between the two versions, and will the PSP version be a watered down version or just as grand as the PS3 version?


+ JumpMan33 on March 26th, 2010 at 9:35 pm said:

Sounds Awesome!! One thing I hated about the new Mario Kart was that there was too much randomness and you could drop to last place in a few seconds. I also hope the team at UFG removes any “snaking” the game might have. I know people say that its “part of the game” so its fair, but it can be really unfair for all the casual players and people new to the game.


+ SHINSPIKES on March 26th, 2010 at 11:44 pm said:

Every time someone attacks you, you drop your weapon? That’s stupid. I get a level 3 just for so it can be taken away. I’m sure when others are on the other side they will feel the same. Basically, if a player can keep attaining weapons to hit people in front, they could achieve a very high chance of gettin into first place because everyone he passed was hit and lost their weapon, so no retaliation. I don’t like it. If I have the weapon, let me keep the weapon. What else are shields for?

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Nick Letizia on March 29th, 2010 at 12:30 pm said:

    Don’t be too quick to judge. Attacks from other players will cause you to drop weapons, but let me clarify:

    • If you are hit with a level 1 weapon, you will not drop anything.
    • A level 2 weapon will cause you to drop 1 level (so for example if you were holding a level 3 weapon and were hit with a level 2, you would drop down to level 2).
    • Finally a level 3 weapon will cause you to lose everything.

    We did this for many reasons, most importantly, trying to prevent every player in the race from hoarding level 3 weapons until the last lap. Imagine driving towards the finish and then suddenly being hit with 11 giant weapons…all in a row…every race. Not very much fun. Also, keep in mind that you will always have your shield, so not every attack is a guaranteed hit. Plus, shields also have the ability to protect you from various track related hazards, so it can come in very handy in multiple situations.


+ h4l0fw1nt3r on March 27th, 2010 at 9:20 am said:



+ RedPheonix99 on March 27th, 2010 at 10:21 am said:

Will you have any sackboy racer add ons or any add ons for customizing tracks and stuff?


+ RedPheonix99 on March 27th, 2010 at 10:22 am said:

If not it is still my favorite game even if its not out yet!LOLZ


+ RedPheonix99 on March 27th, 2010 at 10:24 am said:

Shin Spikes trhats part of the challenge and fun!What if your on the other side?I’d be happy I knocked it out!


+ batmanslegacy on March 27th, 2010 at 2:18 pm said:

I’m pretty sure you guys will be ignoring my question because you’ve been ignoring everyone else’s regarding a battle mode on ModNation Racers. HAHA! OK then, simple question. Is their going to be a battle mode like on the Mario Kart game series on ModNation Racers? Please answer my question.


+ desiladka on March 27th, 2010 at 6:11 pm said:

Will the online splitscreen allow multiPSN logon? i know resistacnce did it and so can you! Other wise this is a perfect game to move my cousins off of mario kart.


+ PPFabian on March 27th, 2010 at 6:43 pm said:

I love all the responses they are giving us, I didn’t even have to ask the same thing like in the many past blogs from other blogs posted here.
Will buy the PS3 and PSP Version :D and fully support the DLC :p
as long as its not 4 kb lol


+ play17boy_Al on March 27th, 2010 at 11:49 pm said:

Cool game, I hope they have more weapons though.


+ Chazberry on March 28th, 2010 at 7:47 pm said:

I’m really looking forward to this game, especially with all the recent media released about it in the last month or two. I hope that you have a long list of DLC planned for it as I’ll get it all!


+ SeventhAxes on March 29th, 2010 at 6:17 am said:

I had this game on my radar, was *probably* gonna get it, but it just keeps getting better and better…it’s even motivating me to beat all the other games I haven’t beaten yet before the end of May!


+ vegasbosko on March 30th, 2010 at 2:51 pm said:

You guys need to make a game called Modnation Golfers.
Where we can create our own golfers.
create any kind/type of golf course.
set our own wind speeds.
create funny golf clubs.


+ Modboy96 on April 2nd, 2010 at 9:21 am said:

will there be modspot on psp



+ Modboy96 on April 2nd, 2010 at 9:28 am said:

to #72 I like it wut about modnation skate borders
where you can make your own skate park and skater


+ angels_do_sin on April 8th, 2010 at 12:46 am said:

cant wait til it comes out.. i know its a full game.. but will it be available for download on psn too? or is it just available through retail stores? im getting tired of swaping discs lol..


+ S-T0TS on April 10th, 2010 at 1:37 pm said:

hey guys i think u guys are doing an amazing job!!


i do have one concern.

i love games that u can compete online in multiplayer against eachother! i also like showing off my stats and trophies and accomplishments. so what im asking is if this game is going to have any sort of ranking system at all? i get kind of upset when amazing online games come out like James Camerons Avatar but they dont have any ranking system. :(

so are u guys going to have any ranking system in this?


+ yostane on March 26th, 2010 at 9:03 am said:



+ dotCody on March 26th, 2010 at 9:03 am said:



+ Maguss on March 26th, 2010 at 9:08 am said:

SO AWESOME, Day 1 for sure I can’t wait for this!!!


+ Shadow-Man_4 on March 26th, 2010 at 9:09 am said:

Great :) I changed my mind, definately buying this game day 1! Keep up the great work guys ;)


+ Azure_Flame_Kite on March 26th, 2010 at 9:10 am said:

I hope those aren’t the only weapons/defenses in the game.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Nick Letizia on March 26th, 2010 at 12:23 pm said:

    The video showcases some of the more potent weapons in the game, but they are not the only ones. The Hydra for example is the third upgrade of the Missile ladder, but we also have the Bolt, Sonic and Supercharger. All of which have 3 unique levels, which brings us to 12 in total. You also have the ability to drop any weapon as a mine, which can also be upgraded. So fear not, you will have plenty of firepower at your disposal.

    Then if you happen to be on the receiving end of any of these weapons, you can use your shield to block them. Obviously the more powerful weapons will require more shield, so always be sure to keep some boost in the tank when you’re out in front.


+ Chat0076 on March 26th, 2010 at 9:11 am said:

There better be more weapons


+ Plankfan on March 26th, 2010 at 9:13 am said:

Boom Boom!


+ Craftiii4 on March 26th, 2010 at 9:15 am said:

where is the best place to pre-order in the UK?


+ luciFOUR on March 26th, 2010 at 9:21 am said:

Will the cars have performance upgrades? Like nothing extreme, but can you unlock some special upgrades as you progress through the Campaign? Or at least tweak the performance to make your car a little faster. Besides Boost, of course :) It’s not a deciding factor for buying this game, but I was just curious.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Nick Letizia on March 26th, 2010 at 12:32 pm said:

    Chuck is correct, you can change your karts performance settings, which is what we call Driver Style. This isn’t actually attached to any specific kart, but is a universal setting that applies to any kart you select. That way you can drive any creation you have made, any way you want. Driver Style will allow you to change the karts top speed, acceleration, handling and drift settings. We wanted players to be able to tune their karts to their liking, but still keep the game balanced, so these values are actually tethered. Increasing top speed for example will lower acceleration, handling and drifting are tethered in the same way. Your driver style can be changed at anytime in the Mod Spot, and in any game room. This way you can alter your settings for each specific race as you see fit.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Nick Letizia on March 26th, 2010 at 12:33 pm said:

    We worked very hard to ensure that no one setting is superior overall, but tuning your kart right might give you an edge in certain situations. When going for the best Hot Lap time you will probably want to increase your max speed, but when in a frantic 12 player action race, acceleration might help you stay close to the pack after getting hit with a weapon. I’m a big drifter so I always crank my drift settings, but on the flip side some of the guys in the office swear by handling, so in the end it’s all about finding what Driver Style you prefer.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Chuck Lacson on March 26th, 2010 at 11:21 am said:

    All Kart performance can be tweaked (Handling, Acceleration, etc) right out the gate. You don’t need any special items.


+ Aspherex on March 26th, 2010 at 9:32 am said:

What game modes will be available in MNR? I was hoping for a battle mode, or maybe some way we can design our own battle arenas? You’d only have to keep track of the scores ;)

Anyway major props for putting in the 4-player split-screen, really appreciate it :)


+ jvunlur on March 26th, 2010 at 9:34 am said:

within one week, this game moved up to my most anticipated. its perfect. character/car customization – weapons – track creation/sharing – OFFLINE 4 player splitcreen (thank you!) – single or 2player splitscreen onlie….

what is there not to love, unless kart racing just isn’t your thing.

i look forward to what way ModNation will come to HOME. I just know there has to be a space in the works. there are hardly any games i love that have HOME content *sad face* lol.

but i know i’m going to love this. :-D

first day MUST buy.

    Nick Letizia's Avatar


    + Chuck Lacson on March 26th, 2010 at 12:00 pm said:

    ModNation in HOME. LOVE that idea.

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