Driver 3 interview
Interview By: dapsycho | Posted: 08/12/2003
Atari sent us this developer interview with Martin Edmondson, Managing and Development Director of Reflections Interactive.
What is your name and position on the team? Could you give us a little background of your company?
Martin Edmondson - Managing and Development Director of Reflections Interactive - founded by myself in 1984. We started created games on the BBC micro in the 80's but our most famous games have been Shadow of the Beast series for The Commodore Amiga, Destruction Derby and Driver on the PlayStation and of course Stuntman on the PS2.
How long has Driv3r been in development for and, what stage is it at?
It really depends when you count the start of development. The physics engine which forms the basis for the dynamics side of the game started over 4 years ago but that was originally used in Stuntman. Around 3 years ago work started on Driv3r in earnest. Right now we are just scripting the missions, optimising bits of the code and working on the out of car sections. The physics and dynamics side of the cars has been pretty much finished for a while now.
Could you give us a rundown on the various cars and gameplay styles available in the game?
There are around 70 vehicles you can drive. These range from cars, vans, trucks, boats, bikes and so on - there is even a fully articulated truck in there. You can drive around in the cab and when eventually you find a trailer section you can couple up - you're then in charge of a full 18 wheel articulated rig - complete with airbrakes and airhorn ! As for the gameplay Driv3r can be played in a number of modes. Take a Ride allows you to free roam around the city and do whatever you like. There are a few little 'games' in there to find but basically it's just for designed for a 10 minute 'destructive blast' The driving games allow you to jump straight into a number of quick chases, checkpoint races and so on. This also includes the "survival" mode for Driver 1 - 4 cops against your own vehicle. Finally "undercover" is the main mission/story side of the game where tanner goes undercover with his previous partner Tobias Jones and has to infiltrate a gang of car thieves and ultimately bring them down.
How would you describe Driv3r and, how does it differ from other games in the genre?
I would describe Driv3r as the most realistic simulation possible of Hollywood and TV car chases. And I think that in itself separates it from other games which may otherwise be described as similar. It has many features such as the thrillcam and film director which don't exist but I think the main difference is in this different focus.
What did you learn and improve on from the first games?
Well the first game was around 5 years ago so quite a lot since they are not on similar hardware. The areas of improvement are pretty much any aspect of the game you care to mention, although having said that we have tried to remain true to the spirit of the original in terms of the simple pick up and play knock about, destructive fun of the original. The realism of this destructive fun is however an order of magnitude above the original Driver.
What games or movies have influenced Driv3r?
The most heavy inspiration came from the movies rather than other games. Movie car chases to be more precise. The Driver, Bullitt, French Connection and so on. I would say we were influenced more heavily by the older 70's car chases as most of the more modern chases do not stand up against the classics, with the exception perhaps of Ronin.
Could you describe your favourite part of the game?
I would say probably the realism with which the cars move and look in the environment, which in itself is also pretty realistic. I don't think the game would work half as well if we had gone for arcade style handling or a cartoon style interpretation of the cities. This has not come cheaply however, the physics system which allows us to produce the realistic dynamics and physics has been in development for over 4 years at Reflections.
What games are you looking forward to in the next year?
This one being finished.. Aside from that Halflife obviously, GT4 purely from a technical perfection point of view. Don't really get chance to actually play games much these days.
How have you found Microsoft? How do they fare with other companies from a developers point of view?
We've only worked with 2 - Sony and Microsoft and have had no problems so far. Actually we know some of the Microsoft guys from the days when they used to work for Sony...!
What is the predicted release date for Driv3r in the US and UK?
Spring 2004 is the current plan.
What are your future plans? Will we see any more Xbox titles from your team?
This is of course our first Xbox title but we will certainly continue to develop Xbox titles so long as there continues to be a strong market for them. Aside from that it's too early to talk about other specific projects for the future.