Back before street racing became an official category in the racing genre, Rockstar was one of the lone publishers to test the waters with its Midnight Club series for the PlayStation 2. As other street racing franchises have cropped up and the subgenre has gained popularity, Rockstar's franchise has been a step or two ahead of the pack, thanks to its early head start. Developer Rockstar San Diego, who has been at the helm of the series since its inception, has taken a different approach for this third installment. The team has partnered with respected automotive lifestyle publication DUB Magazine. This union is resulting in more than the simple use of DUB's name, as it entails a stylish makeover that gives the new game a layer of polish that the previous entries have lacked. We talked to Mark Garone, the producer at Rockstar New York, to find out what else to expect from the game.
GameSpot: Up until Midnight Club 3, the Midnight Club series has shied away from using licensed vehicles. Why did you decide to go with licensed vehicles for this Midnight Club game? How many vehicle licenses are in the game?
Mark Garone: We wanted to have licensed vehicles in Midnight Club II, actually. But even just two years ago car manufacturers would not allow their vehicles to be damaged in the game, so we said we didn't want to compromise on that. But now manufacturers have changes their minds--so for Midnight Club 3 we have all the heavy hitters--Cadillac, Saleen, Aprilia, Hotmatch, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Ducati, Lotus, and tons more. There are 19 vehicle licenses and over 60 vehicles total. Licensed vehicles are crucial in Midnight Club 3, as we had to really represent DUB and street racing culture accurately while at the same time offering a wide variety of racing styles.
GS: How did DUB's involvement with Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition affect what vehicles and parts were chosen for the game?
MG: Early in development we knew we wanted to have a lot more vehicles in the game than tuners, and we chose a comprehensive list of vehicles that we wanted for Midnight Club 3. But as we began working more closely with DUB, they advised us on adding even more, and they used their industry connections to help make it happen. Now the list of vehicles in the game is really varied and extensive and goes beyond anything we initially expected. DUB's involvement went much deeper than that though-- they were heavily involved in the customization aspect of the game, so we knew what rim would work with what car, stuff like that. All of the parts in the game are licensed, so almost any ride you can create in real life, you can do in Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition. Our goal was for the game to reflect all aspects of modern American car and bike culture, in terms of vehicle modification and what people are really racing with. I think we succeeded in that.
GS: What type of work has gone into creating how well the vehicles will feel and look?
MG: The overall speeds of the vehicles in Midnight Club 3 are much faster, but that doesn't come at the expense of control. Considering the real-life feel and specs of each ride, we had to combine this with the spontaneous, open city arcade-style racing that defines the Midnight Club games. Add to that the performance modifications in the game and you begin to get a picture of the level of development that went into each vehicle. We are not out to make a sim--we wanted to make an insanely fast game that lets people do things they can't do in real life.
The look of vehicles is also greatly enhanced. This is the third Midnight Club game, so we have learned to maximize the power of the PS2 and Xbox to get the best visuals possible. For example, the rims on each of the rides are 3D models, not textures...detail like this is far beyond anything we did in Midnight Club II.
GS: What range of style and performance aftermarket parts should fans expect?
MG: Flip through DUB Magazine, watch any of the latest street racing videos, visit a Super Series or Hot Import Nights car show, watch Biker Build-Off on Discovery Channel--these are our influences in terms of customization. The list of custom parts is so long, I don't even know where to begin. You can modify your engine with a supercharger, drop the suspension, add air bag suspension, throw on some huge rims, add vinyls to the windshield and body, add a color shift paint job, adjust your brakes, widen your tires, add a spoiler...long story short, you can create the ride you want, down to the brake pad.
GS: Beyond the vehicles, speed, and customization, what are some of the other improvements that fans of Midnight Club and racing games in general should look forward to with Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition?
MG: The evolution of open city racing. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition is Rockstar San Diego's third exploration of the open city racing idea on the PS2, and its second on the Xbox. The idea is simple--race wherever you want, in a living, breathing city--but this team is the only one in the industry that has been able to do it fully.
The cities have been designed specifically to be a blast to race in, and the AI refinements mean the opponents are smarter and it feels more like you are racing against humans. The game also makes adjustments depending on the player's performance. As you progress through the game, the difficulty levels will adjust from race to race to challenge all levels of skills. This is very cool because there is such a wide spectrum of racing game fans--some people like to just pick up and play, while others are truly hardcore and complain loudly if they aren't challenged. Midnight Club 3 will keep both of these camps happy.
GS: Thanks for your time.
For an informative look at a bunch of the cars that will be available in Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition, continue on to the next page.
As mentioned previously, Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition will be the first game in the series to let you drive real-world licensed cars. Rockstar has released a partial list of the available rides in the game, so feast your eyes below, and stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details.
|Aprilla||Mille Factory||Sport Bike|
|Cadillac (GM)||CTS-V / 2004||Luxury Sedan|
|Cadillac (GM)||Escalade EXT||SUV/Truck|
|Chevy (GM)||1981 Camaro Z28||Classic/Muscle|
|Chevy (GM)||1968 Corvette||Classic/Muscle|
|Chevy (GM)||1969 Camaro||Classic/Muscle|
|Chevy (GM)||1964 Chevy Impala||Classic/Muscle|
|Chevy (GM)||1970 El Camino SS||Classic/Muscle|
|Chevy (GM)||Corvette Z06||High End Culture|
|Chevy (GM)||1996 Impala SS||Specialty|
|Chevy (GM)||Chevy Silverado SST||SUV/Truck|
|Dodge||1969 Charger RT-SE 440||Classic/Muscle|
|Dodge||Dodge Charger RT-SE 440||Concept|
|Dodge||Neon SRT 4||Culture|
|Dodge||Viper GTS/R||High End Culture|
|Dodge||Ram SRT 10||SUV/Truck|
|Ducati||Monster SR4||Sport Bike|
|Kawasaki||Ninja ZX 12R||Sport Bike|
|Lotus||Esprit||High End Culture|
|Mercedes||SL500||High End Culture|
|Mercedes||G55 AMG / G500||SUV/Truck|
|Pontiac (GM)||1970 GTO||Classic/Muscle|
|Pontiac (GM)||1968 GTO||Classic/Muscle|
|Saleen||S7||High End Culture|
|Saleen||SR||High End Culture|