Yesterday, Sony announced that Driveclub, the upcoming "socially connected" racing game from MotorStorm studio Evolution Studios, had been delayed to October 7. Also in that announcement was word that veteran Evolution developer Paul Rustchynsky is taking over as its game director. We caught up with Rustchynsky about the delay and what it means for Driveclub, as well as what Evolution is hoping to achieve overall with the new racing title.
Addressing the delay, Rustchynsky said it was necessary to push the game to October 2014 because the game's social functionality just wasn't ready yet.
"There's one kind of key reason why we needed to delay Driveclub. We've been working a lot on trying to build what we think is a social network for Driveclub; a way for people find other people, to challenge and get involved online in a seamless and slick way. And we weren't happy with that one particular area of the game," Rustchynsky said. "So we needed to re-look at that and re-engineer it to make sure that it matches our ambitions. Driveclub has always been a very ambitious title for us and we wanted to make sure that one key element, that central pillar of Driveclub, really met everyone's expectations."
"Obviously a delay is something no one wants to see for a game, but what you're going to see is a quality product when it comes out October 7" -- Rustchynsky
Everything else in Driveclub--the visuals, the audio, and the car models--are "best-in-class," Rustchynsky boasted. The extra development time will allow the art teams, who aren't involved in overhauling the game's code to get the social features where they should be, to add new cars and tracks to Driveclub. All of this will make "the game experience better overall," Rustchynsky said.
"Obviously a delay is something no one wants to see for a game, but what you're going to see is a quality product when it comes out October 7," he said.
Rustchynsky described Driveclub as being in "fantastic shape" right now, and he brushed aside a suggestion that another delay would ever happen. "We're in the stage where we're polishing things up and just kind of finishing the game off. We're not concerned at all about delaying anything further," he said.
Driveclub's new October 2014 date puts the racing game up against a host of other AAA games that are vying for attention during the busy holiday period. In fact, in addition to Driveclub, October 7 alone sees the release of Alien: Isolation, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. So what will set Driveclub apart from the pack?
"It's great to be surrounded by such great competition," Rustchynsky said. "I've kind of said from the start for Driveclub [that] it's something quite unique to the driving genre; something that hasn't been done before."
Not only is Driveclub breaking new ground according to Rustchynsky, but it is also targeting a different market than other, similar racing games, he says.
"We're aiming for a different market than most other driving games. We're looking at something that's super-accessible, but also deep," Rustchynsky said. "We built these cars in such a way that they're grounded in reality, but anyone can get involved."
To that end, Sony will also offer a "free" version of the game for PlayStation Plus ($50/year) subscribers. This version of the racing game is "feature-complete," Rustchynsky said, meaning you can play online multiplayer, join a club, and send challenges to other players. However, the PlayStation Plus version of Driveclub does not include all the cars and tracks. You'll need to buy the $60 version to get the full experience.
We also quizzed Rustchynsky about the possibility of Driveclub making use of Sony's new virtual reality headset Project Morpheus. We know Evolution has conducted experiments before and that virtual reality support won't be available at launch. But what about later down the road?
"It's definitely something we're keeping a very keen eye on," Rustchynsky said about potential virtual reality support for Driveclub. "At this time right now, we're obviously focused on getting Driveclub out for October, but it's something that we're keen to look at in the future. We see a big future in VR technology and hopefully we'll see lots of exciting games in the future."
For more on Driveclub, be sure to read our previous coverage.