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Developing at Gelid Games is a personal process for people who genuinely love games. We set out to make Wheels of Destruction a hardcore old school arena shooter in the same vein Quake and Doom, something we were successful in. We knew we wanted to expand upon Wheels of Destruction and let it evolve with its players, and what better way to do that than release some awesome downloadable content, improve the game greatly, and ultimately create something substantial and worthy. Best of all, we made it free.
Wheels of Destruction originally had five different maps. It was enough for the start, as each map had a very distinct configuration and size, but we expected our players to want more. Hence, our first DLC, “Moscovian Mayhem,” contains a new map of post-apocalyptic Moscow, where the players show their skills among the ruins of the Kremlin.
The weapon system in Wheels of Destruction is beautifully familiar yet dynamic and designed to keep the game balanced. Players who know class-based shooters like Unreal Tournament and Team Fortress 2 will instantly feel at home. The game has four weapon types, each with primary and alternate fire conveniently selectable on the d-pad. This simple and intuitive system actually provides 11 unique ways to decimate opponents.
The Gatling gun is the initial weapon that everyone has from the start of a match. Available to the player throughout, it never runs out of ammo but is relatively weak and imprecise. However, its alternate fire is tremendously powerful – it’s a very short-ranged spread shot shotgun with massive force. Players with great skill and a bit of luck can land an instant kill shot but, most of the time, you’re better off hunting for new weapons.
That perfect balance of smooth vehicle control and weapon mastery was always our most difficult and most important task. It’s so easy to do them separately: Here’s your car control – drive wherever you want; here’s your weapon control – fire at will. However, putting them together is a bit of a puzzle.
At the beginning, our weapons were at a fixed crux to always shoot forward as the car moves. As a result, you could either shoot while at a standstill, or shoot in every direction, when rotating the car or chasing someone. Everything became a merry-go-round where ‘A’ chased ‘B’ and shot at him, while ‘B’ was chasing ‘C’ who in turn was chasing ‘A’.
Team warfare has been an element of great multiplayer games for a long time. But as soon as we introduced team multiplayer combat to Wheels of Destruction, we realized that players want to feel like an individual, a dynamic asset on the battlefield, which led us to creating a tried-and-true class-based system. With Wheels of Destruction, our five distinct vehicle classes cater to different multiplayer strategies. You can see the Heavy class in action in our new video below.
Earlier in the development cycle, considered expanding this concept further still with unique characters. However, that idea ended up on the cutting-room floor for several reasons. When presented with too many choices, players tend to fall into an “analysis paralysis” worse than prom night. Too much time spent “mini-maxing” skill trees can take the player out of what we want to be a fast-paced experience.
Few things are as universal as the lust to drive fast and destroy expensive machinery. Everyone likes driving and crushing things, so when given the green light, Gelid Games leaped at the creation of Wheels of Destruction. A lot of inspiring games came to mind, and we wanted to make our mark on the industry with an interpretation that is near and dear to us.
Before we got anywhere, we had to pick a platform, and going PSN exclusive was an obvious choice for us. Sony’s platform has become much easier to develop on, and the fact that we’re able to self-publish goes a long way in retaining our mindshare over the game. We wanted to know that every bit of perfection and every flaw was of our own design.