007 Racing Q&A

We recently had a chance to sit down with 007 Racing producer Tony Parkes and toss some questions his way concerning EA's latest Bond game.

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We recently had a chance to sit down with 007 Racing producer Tony Parkes and toss some questions his way concerning EA's latest Bond game.

GameSpot: We've been told that 007 Racing will be using a modified version of the Need For Speed engine. What differences will there be between the final engine used in 007 Racing and the one used in the Need For Speed series?

Parkes: The engine we use is a custom engine specifically designed for the Bond game, although a lot of the learning we've done through developing the Need For Speed series has directly benefited this game.

GameSpot: How many cars will be in the game, and what influenced your decision to include those cars? Did you pick cars directly from the Bond movies, or did you design your own cars?

Parkes: The final number isn't set yet, but we are definitely featuring vehicles from the existing Bond universe. That said, the key to gameplay isn't the quantity of vehicles but more so the special modifications to the cars. On that end, what's fantastic is that we've been given complete creative flexibility to outfit them with gadgets that are needed to make it through the different missions.

GameSpot: Are the missions in the game completely original, or are they based on actual car sequences found in the various Bond movies?

Parkes: The overarching original story has been developed in conjunction with MGM to keep the action on the road as well as to allow us to create something that would work in gameplay's favor. That said, everything in the game has been inspired from the Bond world. For gamers that know the 007 movies, there will be a sense of familiarity within the game and some of the objectives specifically.

GameSpot: How is 007 Racing going to differentiate itself from other car-combat games like Twisted Metal or Vigilante 8?

Parkes: 007 Racing brings the player into the fiction of the Bond universe as well as the story behind this new mission. The key is there is a wide variety of sub-missions that are beyond just chasing down the bad guys and blowing them up. In addition, there are key components that require gamers to use their wits - like the strategic use of the Q branch-supplied gadgets and surveillance based-missions.

GameSpot: What are some of the challenges in bringing action-based gameplay to a driving environment?

Parkes: Keeping the action well paced is one of the challenges we initially had with the game. With such a vast number of movies to be inspired from, we were never short of reference for the action, but we've needed to work on keeping the action flowing into the next objectives to keep it interesting for the player.

GameSpot: What enemies and characters will make appearances in the game? Will you be using classic Bond villains, or will the game feature a completely new nemesis?

Parkes: We're featuring a combination of original characters, including an arch villain that is integral to the story behind Bond's new mission, as well as some classic baddies that every 007 fan will appreciate. The full cast of MI6 is there to support James, as well as some other familiar faces.

GameSpot: How large are the game's environments? Are the tracks linear, like those in Need For Speed, or are they more arena-style, like traditional car-combat games?

Parkes: Since multiple routes are key to the design - this definitely isn't traditional racing with a finish line - Eutechnyx developed the engine to allow us to have any sort of track we wanted. One of the earlier missions takes place in New York and immerses gamers in a huge city grid in which to explore. Some of the later locations have missions with linear paths that feature additional multiple routes.

GameSpot: What types of multiplayer modes will the game have?

Parkes: We've currently designed two different types of multiplayer modes focusing on fast, fun, competitive experiences (the only way to play against friends):

Battle - Similar to EA's Beetle Adventure Racing on the N64, this mode lets you choose which weapons to equip yourselves with (allowing the player to restrict weapons they find unfair) and then tough it out in arena-like locations against other players. Pass the Bomb - A simple tag style game. One of the players is picked at the start to hold a bomb which has a limited fuse (fuse length selected by players). They then try to pass the bomb to the other player until the fuse runs out. The player holding the bomb when the fuse runs out loses. This mode is best played in the city grids, which allow players to hide - it really makes the mode a lot more interesting.

GameSpot: What's your favorite aspect of the game so far?

Parkes: I personally enjoy the gameplay mechanics of the missions because of the different challenges, which are a lot of fun, but I have noticed a lot of people in the office spending far too much time playing multiplayer pass the bomb...

GameSpot: What has been the biggest hurdle in the development process?

Parkes: The biggest hurdle is the balance of gameplay while making this truly fit within the Bond universe. Our key objective from the beginning was to make sure this didn't feel like just another combat racing game. I really think we've succeeded, as the objective-based missions will make gamers feel like they are pulling the story along. It's also not just about all-out firepower. The game forces you to use your wits as 007 would.

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