There is something deeply satisfying about a vehicle designed and built to be driven off-road. Call me weird, but forget Ferraris, Porsches and such – give me an old Land Rover (not your modern shiny SUV, I mean your old series 3 boneshakers with leaf springs and bench seats, preferably covered in dirt, and a healthy dose of rust) then you’ve got me all tingly. Space frames, roll cages, fat tires, the fuel economy of a battleship and not a curve in sight are where it’s at, and hopefully you’ll see my peculiar brand of automotive perversion throughout MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.
You probably think I’m weird, and you’re probably right.
But it’s great to create a game where the brutal beauty of off-road racing machines is shown in all its diversity. A game where is not just all about how fast your motor is, or how much bling you can stick on it, it’s about driver skill, it’s about ruggedness of the vehicles and it’s about the variety of situations these machines have to deal with.
And it’s also about pitting a variety of these machines against each other. From the very start of the first MotorStorm game we knew we wanted to build something where a bike can share a race track with trucks, ATVs and big rigs. MotorStorm is like some latter day automotive cola advert, we’re a model of diversity and harmony, with all shapes, sizes, colour, ability and looks (scratch that analogy, you never see ugly folk in a cola advert). Pacific Rift has all kinds of vehicles, which ultimately boils down to eight distinct vehicle classes.
Cue obligatory shopping list –
The Bike – It’s my personal favorite. Yes you die a lot, it comes with the territory because you’re the most fragile thing on the track. But its maneuverable, hair-raising and loads of fun to drive.
The ATV – Sure footed and sturdier than the bike, the ATV is one of those marmite (A British, yeast based spread, either the food of the gods, or Satan’s toe jam, depending upon your point of view. Common British parlance for something you will either love or hate. IMHO the pinnacle of 10,000 years of human civilization) vehicles, you’ll either love it, or think it’s like a bike, but not as much fun ;)
The Buggy – I like the buggy in Pacific Rift. The handling model for the one in the first game just wasn’t quite right, but we’ve gone back to the drawing board and completely re-worked it. Agile, and rear-wheel driver, means there’s lots of oversteer to be had. Its also really stable in the air; when describing how it should behave to the designers I wanted it to be cat-like in its in air stability, and I think they’ve done a real good job.
The Racing Truck – This is the vehicle class you want to start with. Its fast enough, its tough enough and its sure footed enough. Steady and reliable, and slap -in-the-middle across all the traits.
The Rally Car – Acceleration akin to a fighter jet makes it awesome off the line, but it’s a thoroughbred and as such you’ve got to nurse the Rally Car through the technical and rough bits, as it’s basically a road car with better suspension. If you try and do anything too rugged with it, you’re going to get screwed. Always look for the flattest, smoothest line. However, if you’re a MotorStorm: Monument Valley connoisseur then don’t expect the rally car to be the all-conquering online car of choice this time around – the tracks are much more cunningly balanced this time around.
The Mudplugger – the forgotten son of MotorStorm: Monument Valley, the Mudplugger has had something of a facelift and a handling makeover ensures it not just a slower racing truck this time around. This is especially true as its major trait, the ability to cross any kind of terrain without blinking an eye, is more relevant this time around with our increased track diversity.
The Big Rig – The immovable object of MotorStorm. The Big Rig is great for bullying, and has a really good top sped, just try not to slow down as its acceleration is more supertanker than supercar.
Monster Truck – We’ve shouted a lot about the Monster Truck in the early press, and we think it’s a fantastic addition to the lineup. We wanted something to sit at the top of the MotorStorm food chain, something that the other vehicles (with the exception of the Big Rig) are afraid of. I’m pretty sure that not many of you have driven a real monster truck, so we’ve taken a few liberties with the handling model, creating something that feels like a monster truck ought to be, rather what they actually are. You see in real life these are fragile machines.
Yes, they can crush cars, prance around arenas and get rednecks all exited, but they’re not exactly robust, or maneuverable or particularly good at keeping up with the likes of a rally car. The Monster Trucks in MotorStorm are fast, angry, practically indestructible, and above all, loads of fun.
And ultimately that’s what it’s all about: fun. It’s a game. If you stop and think ‘That’s stupid, no one would ever do that on a bike/truck/etc.’ Then you’re missing the point, loosen up a little.