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Interview with Rage's Steve Pritchard (XB)

by Rainier on Sept. 18, 2001 @ 9:47 p.m. PDT

Due to the upcoming Crash titles for XBX and PS2 we decided to bump into Rage's Steve Pritchard (Designer/Producer) and ask him what the fuzz is all about ...

Q. Please give us a quick summary of what Crash is all about.

First and foremost Crash is definitely not just another racing game. Crash is all about the joyful sensation of ramming your classic car into other highly desirable vehicles and leaving nothing but mangled metal and broken glass behind. It is an out and out arcade game that runs on pure adrenaline. You can pick up the game and learn how to play it in minutes and once you've grasped how best to throw the various cars around then the real fun starts.

Q. Sounds a bit like the old PSone game Destruction Derby.

Since the first Destruction Derby sequel that appeared in early 1997 on PSone we haven't really seen anything that has managed to carry forward or advance the core essence of this simple yet effective concept. In most cases it seemed that more racing elements had been added to the detriment of the destruction. Destruction Derby Raw was a good example of this, as were more recent titles like EA's Rumble Racing. Games where destruction was only part of the whole process such as Reflection's excellent Driver series were also titles that we looked at for ideas, but deliberately steered ourselves away from producing just one of the many Driver clones that are popping up all over the place. We feel that with the technical advances of the Xbox and PS2 allowing us to do so much more in terms of extensive vehicle deformation and multi-player modes, now is definitely the right time for this style of game to make a long overdue reappearance.

Q. What levels of vehicle deformation do the new platforms such as Xbox and PS2 allow you to do?

We feel that the two core features of our game are the detail of cars themselves and the damage we are able to do to them. A number of new games are now including different levels of vehicle damage, including Stuntman, which we feel looks particularly impressive, plus Burnout and Gotham Racing, but we believe that our game has this as a motivational feature and not just an added extra. With 10,000 polygons to play with for each car, we believe that we can really show up the damage in real time. There are no replacement models as you see in other games, but the actual car model is deformed at the point of impact, pushing the polygons around and producing properly creased, bent and dented panels. Each car also has approximately thirty or more parts which can be detached, broken off or ripped apart, so you will see missing wings, blown tyres, shattered windscreens and bumpers dragging along behind the cars. You'll see doors and bonnets flap open and roofs being torn clean off the chassis. We feel that this will be one of the driving factors behind people's desire to play this game.

Q. Will Crash feature any real-life or licensed vehicles?

No. There are no plans to feature any real-life cars in Crash. There are certain restrictions imposed by car manufacturers on particular damage done to their vehicles in video games, and since Crash is all about taking beautiful looking cars and destroying them, we would have found difficulties as to how much damage we would have been able to do to them. However, we do not feel that this is to the detriment of the product.

Q. What game modes have you got?

We have both single and multi-player modes (for up to four players on one machine). In single player (career) mode you start a new game with three different regions to play in, and just three different cars to drive on them. You will be allowed to undertake different challenges on each of these three areas and, when you emerge as the victor, you will unlock additional areas, level and/or vehicles. You keep doing this until you've beaten every level, unlocked every vehicle and completed every challenge.

There is also an Arcade mode that allows the player to play in one-off games on any of the levels unlocked in the Career Mode. Here the player can use any of the vehicles available, and playing to whatever set of game objectives the player chooses.

We are also supporting two to four players in the multiplayer games, using a split-screen mode. Because of the power of the new machines, the resolution we can use in the four player split screen mode allows a great deal of clarity in that quarter of a screen a player will be focusing on, and doesn't hinder gameplay.

We have a number of specially constructed multiplayer levels that are only playable in multiplayer mode, including Team Modes, where players can compete head-to-head if they like, alongside others such as Deathmatch, Multitag, Time Limits, Score Limits and so forth. In essence, we know that one of the game's strengths will be its multiplayer side, and we intend to make the most of it.

Q. Let's talk tech for a moment. Can you tell us a little more about the physics and graphics engines.

One of our key aims was to ensure that every vehicle in the game came in at around 10,000 polygons each. A good looking can be built from less than this - as Gran Tourismo 3 has shown - but once you start smashing it up then you see where the detail has gone. In some of the game levels we can move up to sixteen different cars around at one time, in an environment that is well over 150,000 polygons in itself. Doing this at sixty frames a second means that we are moving some 18 million polygons a second at times, which is testament to the power of the Xbox.

Q. We understand you are also developing Crash for the PS2. Will there be any differences between the two versions?

We anticipate that both versions will have some degree of exclusive content, whether that be tracks and/or vehicles, and there may be some graphical differences, particularly in the areas of maximum polygon count for vehicles, but the current plans are to deliver a very similar game play experience on either platform.


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