FlatOut Ultimate Carnage Q&A

We check in on the PC version of the hit stunt driving series.

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FlatOut is not your ordinary racing game. A blend of demolition derbies, violent race circuits, and insane human stunts--flinging the driver several hundred yards through burning rings of fire, for one--FlatOut Ultimate Carnage turned some heads when it was released last year on the Xbox 360. And now Bugbear's flagship driving game is coming to the PC. We sat down with P.J. Snavely, director of product management for publisher Empire Interactive, to get the lowdown on what PC gamers can expect when FlatOut hits later this year. Here's what he had to say.

FlatOut finally makes its way to PC. Prediction? Pain.
FlatOut finally makes its way to PC. Prediction? Pain.

GameSpot: The FlatOut franchise is renowned for insane stunts, demolition derbies, and good old-fashioned combat racing. What was your goal in bringing Ultimate Carnage to the PC?

P.J. Snavely: Our goal was to provide the perfect mix of racing and destruction, then package it all together in a beautiful product. The game really does look great, and I don't think any other game out there provides the combination of great racing and sheer mayhem that Ultimate Carnage brings to the table.

GS: For anyone who's hasn't played FlatOut, break down the Race modes, Stunt modes, and Carnage modes.

PS: The Race modes are highlighted in the championship career section of the game. There are three different levels of racing to play through, each with a progressively tougher class of car. Players will compete in series of races to earn extra credits for expanding and upgrading their stable of vehicles. Finishing third or better in the cups is required to advance, but along the way, the user can compete in voluntary destruction derbies or time trials to help earn a little extra cash.

Carnage modes are a great mix of destruction and speed. It is a mix of four nontraditional types of racing events--carnage races, deathmatch derbies, stunts, and beat-the-bomb races. In carnage races, for example, your goal isn't necessarily to finish the race first--you'll collect points by crashing into other cars and destroying the landscape. You'll also gain more time if you can navigate the sections fast enough. Position isn't irrelevant, either--you'll gain point multipliers based on your standing in the current race.

Stunt modes are finally on a stage all to themselves in Ultimate Carnage. There are 12 great stunts to try in Carnage mode, and each one has a different score to try and obtain for medals. Using the ragdoll system, you'll launch your driver in fun events like basketball, baseball, curling, and a bunch of others.

GS: We've seen a lot of fun community and customization options in driving games recently, from custom paint jobs in NASCAR and Forza 2 to video sharing in Burnout. With such insane stunts, FlatOut seems perfect for at least some form of content sharing. Anything in the works?

PS: I definitely believe in the power of user-created content, and I totally agree that FlatOut definitely provides a great platform from which to work. I'm hoping that we can add something meaningful to the series along those lines.

GS: We've had our fair share of ridiculous stunts in FlatOut, a franchise that takes ragdoll physics to glorious new heights. What's the craziest stunt you've ever seen?

PS: I had a particularly nasty one happen earlier today on one of the midlevel Race Class tracks. The track is a figure-eight shape, so if you ever played with Hot Wheels and a Criss-Cross-Crash track as a kid, you know the anarchy that can happen there. I'd gotten behind a car and nudged him off a ramp while we were going over it, only to have a car jumping toward us on the way back. Needless to say, it was an airborne three-way collision that sent a of couple drivers flying through the air.

GS: Ultimate Carnage was really an Xbox 360 overhaul of FlatOut 2, released in 2006 on the Xbox and PlayStation 2. Is this PC game simply a port of a 360 game that was, in itself, a really good port?

PS: It is definitely more than that--this version has received a lot of love on the graphical side, so the game looks and runs better than ever.

GS: The 360 version of FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage was released way back in October 2007. So why now and why on the PC?

PS: Is there a better time to not spend money on gas than right now? Seriously, though, we wanted to make sure we could deliver the same great experience on the PC that users were getting on the Xbox 360, and I think we've definitely accomplished that.

GS: So what's new? We love flinging our driver through a windshield and into giant basketball hoops. Any new crazy games or features exclusive to the PC version?

PS: Sorry, there's nothing exclusive to the PC version--the stunts are too much fun to not have available to everybody.

GS: PC gamers love their flight sticks and force feedback wheels. What peripherals will Ultimate Carnage support? USB fire extinguisher?

PS: If only they had those! You're more likely to want a USB seat belt here. Ultimate Carnage is compatible with most force feedback wheels.

GS: What's next for the FlatOut franchise? Any plans for a full-fledged FlatOut 3 sequel?

PS: The franchise is one of the top racing series available, so I'd have to say that a sequel is definitely something we're considering.

GS: FlatOut received some unfair comparisons early on as many critics were quick to label it a Burnout clone. What do you think separates FlatOut from other racers out there?

PS: It has to be the quality of both sides of the game. You can't have a destruction racing game without having solid representations of both sides of that term. FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage does both aspects really well--the destruction is a ton of fun and the racing gives you that high-quality real driving feel.

You'll jump through hoops to play FlatOut.
You'll jump through hoops to play FlatOut.

GS: Finally, what do you want PC gamers who haven't played FlatOut to know about Ultimate Carnage on the PC?

PS: To those gamers, I would say this: You haven't really had fun with a racing game until you've crashed a car hard enough to throw the driver through football goalposts from 60 yards away.

Thanks for the time.

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