GDC '08: Pure First Look

ATV racing isn't dead, it's just moved to Brighton. We get a first glimpse of this gorgeous-looking off-road racing game.


GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

SAN FRANCISCO--Let's face it; a good chunk of the racing genre is just annual rehashes of things we've all played time and time again. These days, it seems that if you've played one ATV racing game, you've played them all. That trend looks to be broken in a big way with the upcoming Pure from Brighton, UK-based Black Rock Studio (formerly known as Climax Racing, the folks responsible for the MotoGP series) and Disney Interactive. We recently sat down with Black Rock's Jason Avent, game director on Pure, to get a feel for how his team is bringing a slightly skewed approach to the typical ATV game.

While the developers at Black Rock made their name with sim-style games like MotoGP, for their latest game, Pure, is an arcade game from stem to stern, full of huge jumps, over-the-top tricks, and extreme speed. That isn't to say, however, that the game is entirely removed from reality. The ATV bikes you control in Pure will certainly feel grounded and responsive in a way you'd expect from a simulation game, yet they're still capable of the kinds of outlandish air maneuvers that can only be found in video games. In fact, according to Avent, the decision to bring ATV bikes into the game was specifically because of their handling--with four wheels, they control similarly to a car yet, like a motorcycle, are still light enough to catch big air on a jump.

Ridiculous ATV tricks and gorgeous outdoor vistas combine in Black Rock Studio's Pure.
Ridiculous ATV tricks and gorgeous outdoor vistas combine in Black Rock Studio's Pure.

And when we talk about big air in Pure, we actually mean huge air. The other aspect of off-road racing that Avent wanted to capture was a sense of epic scale to the magnificent outdoor surroundings you're racing through. Forget turning laps in an MX stadium environment; in Pure, you'll be tackling the great outdoors in all its natural splendor. The graphical work that's gone into the environments places a huge emphasis on scale, with vast draw distances that will let you peer out across mountaintops as you hang out in midair. As Avent puts it, it's all part of the process of inducing a sense of vertigo, if not outright fear, in the player as you tackle the various jumps and bumps in the game.

Part and parcel with establishing that sense of respect for the course will be a constantly shifting camera as you're riding along the track, one that dramatically improves the racing experience depending on what you're doing in the moment. The default behind-the-back view demonstrates a nice sense of speed that's taken to the next step with blur lines and a slight shaking effect when you're using your boost. It's in midair, as you rider is pulling off the exotic tricks, that the camera comes to life, shifting in and out off the lip of the jump, or pulling to either side to give you both a great look at the trick you're currently executing as well as a wide-angle look at the environment surrounding you. If our initial reactions were any indication--holding our breath during more than one sky-high trick sequence--the camera work in Pure looks to add a lot of drama to the entire experience.

It's not just the visuals that are different in Pure. While the core of the game is a 16-vehicle racing experience (both offline and online), the trick system has taken a new approach. There are three levels of tricks you can pull off in Pure, each tied to a face button. A-button tricks are the basics; B-button tricks are the next step up; and Y-level tricks are the top-level tricks. Each of these trick button types is represented by three meters located in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. The twist here is that you can only perform B-button tricks by first filling up the A meter by doing tricks. Similarly, you can only perform Y-button tricks by first filling up both the A- and B-button meters. There are also signature tricks after all three meters are full; once you have a signature trick available, a rotating dial appears onscreen, scrolling through all of the signature tricks available to you. You can stop the dial and then "bank" that signature trick for use whenever you want.

Sixteen players will be able to battle it out online for the checkered flag.
Sixteen players will be able to battle it out online for the checkered flag.

Mitigating all of this meter-building trick busting is the boost meter. Using your ATV's boost will drain the trick meters, so the game quickly becomes a balance between using boost to gain air (or pass an opponent), and saving your trick meter so you can use your best tricks at the right time. Once you've banked a signature trick, however, you can use as much boost as you want without draining the meter, making signature tricks much more valuable than the normal trick. Up to five different paths throughout the same level--some of which are accessible only by using boost off of jumps--further complicate that balance, so that each lap of a race will likely have you facing difficult decisions.

There's still work yet to be done on Pure; the audio is still being cleaned up and there are a ton of particle effects to be added for things like dirt and mud being kicked up by the ATV's tires. And of course, we still have to learn about things like additional game modes, online options, and customization features. Nonetheless, the team at Black Rock still has roughly five months to go in the development of Pure--ample time to put in the finishing touches on a game that we're looking forward to seeing much more of down the road.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 69 comments about this story
69 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for ResEvilFreak

I guess for whoever is looking forward to this game will enjoy it hopefully and it may turn out to be great. But I don't think being developed by a Disney company that it'll be violent or anything of the sort nor do I think it can compete with the Off-Road king in the form of MotorStorm. But as I said for the people looking forward thus game Pure, I hope you enjoy it.

Avatar image for marc002

Does anybody think the Xbox 360's limitations could really break the game?

Avatar image for guerillaKZ2

this game looks awsome!!!!! yet it flat out sucks that you can only use atv's...

Avatar image for patrickkkk

I just hope that it being on the 360 also doesn't cripple the game because of the 360's limitations.

Avatar image for HAMODA

madnessssssssssssss its amazing !!!!!!

Avatar image for Slump3317

Death_Masta187 said: "I want Motocrosses Madness 3!" I hear that. Moto Madness 2 was amazing! But yea, after what I found to be a disappointment in MX vs ATV Untamed I'm hoping this game might give me something to look forward to.

Avatar image for Death_Masta187

I want Motocrosses madness 3!

Avatar image for Chrissyc86

Disney interactive studios? I'd better be able to play as mickey and goofy etc!!!

Avatar image for jacob-goodlich

theres alot of people here that obviously havent played motorstorm, motorstorm features motorbikes, massive trucks,rally cars,small trucks etc. motorstorm 2 will own this easily, this game is only atvs not that it doesnt look good.

Avatar image for AAwiidog

looks awsome, but yet another devoloper overlooked the wii. tut tut

Avatar image for broca

I'll believe it when I see it that these are in-game graphics. there isn't a single player aspect shot... I hope they are though but I know what these game developers are like!

Avatar image for xPork--Chopx

Hey cheers for tht info LozzaGs gonna to start saving up alot of games comin out for 360 in next month =)

Avatar image for wars45

yes but moterstorm 2 is out at xmas cant see it been good has that

Avatar image for LozzaGS

xPork--Chopx - The only release date we have for the UK is 'autumn 2008' at the moment, but well spotted - I have updated the site to reflect that.

Avatar image for jamesinho

"turuk: I honestly think that was poorly animated" BULL!!! Two animators from WETA Digital, one doing facial animation of gollum/smaegol, mumakil, and the battle sequences in the Return of the King and you have the cheek to say its poor? I would love to see your stuff. I had a sneak peek at a lecture they gave at UWS, and yes, that is in game graphics. They went into great detail about animation and the ideas behind the environments and I think anyone who was there would agree it was insightful and it looked solid.

Avatar image for Blaze_Hrimfaxi

No way will it beat Off Road Fury.

Avatar image for xPork--Chopx

PPL the screenshots are in game gameplay these graphics are insanely good shame they havnt given a release date for the UK

Avatar image for xPork--Chopx

Oi yourdaddy88 y u dissen the 360? they sold like twice as more console than ps3 and the wii the console will only break if you over use it for hours on end. and some of the ps3 games are just coppied ripp offs. Like gears the ps3 copied the idea and called it resistance so xbox rules

Avatar image for YourDaddy88

n3ck said: "yeah but motorstorm is rubbish, rubbish physics, rubbish gameplay, the only reason people bought it is cos they had no choice as there were no games on the PS3." You obviously don't get what Motorstorm was all about. It did not suck. It's a FUN game to play, especially with the in-car view. To me it's more fun that DIRT. The only thing Motorstorm needs is more tracks - gets boring before you beat the game. But still worth it. "its the same with Resistance, a proper average game but its popular cos it was THE ONLY GAME OUT AT THE TIME ON PS3 FOR AGES, on every level that game is flawed," Resistance was a solid game. Halo was a solid game but overrated in general and recently nothing more than the same thing renewed over and over again. Lost Planet sucked balls. The only better game on the 360 is Gears. What's your point? "if you have motorstorm i feel so sorry for you, in 2007 the 360 had the most amazing games but instead you played motorstorm and resistance ,MAN DID YOU MISS OUT!, 360 HAS THE BEST GAMES ITS JUST THE STONE COLD TRUTH, PS3 IS GOOD, BUT ITS GAMES SUCK, AND MOTORSTORM WILL HAVE NOTHING ON PURE" If you have a 360 I feel sorry for YOU. Congratulations on being brainwashed by a company that sold you a system with major engineering design flaws in it with a pathetic 90 day warranty, and didn't admit to it until AFTER both Nintendo and Sony released their higher quality systems with 1 year warranties. The 360 had the best games in 2007 but it also had the crappiest hardware. Sony and Nintendo have the best hardware - hands down - that's the "STONE COLD TRUTH". And the games are starting to roll in, so don't worry about us. Just worry about how much longer your 360 will last...

Avatar image for killzone_gamer

Really cool, but i have Motorstorm. Nothing new here. Apart from stunts. Bah.

Avatar image for KevComesRipping

That video is obviously just the opening video like the incredible one in the beginning of MX vs ATV untamed, just like that game I'm sure it will suck.

Avatar image for wakko19991

this doesn't look like the real grpahics, if it is I'll be amazed...there was one quick blip of what looked like in game graphics during the trailer..didn't look as sharp as the so called screen caps

Avatar image for rotiv415

Reminds me of downhill domination.

Avatar image for hoolesy

I'm assuming this isn't "in-game" surely?? it looks IMMENSE!!!

Avatar image for Quadrifoglio

This game looks amazing...

Avatar image for NND1

Awesome!! \

Avatar image for ronniepage588

looks great, these guys always do a really good job with graphics it seems

Avatar image for bearded_snowman

looks sweet, got to keep an eye on it

Avatar image for gimlifn

Looks good but if motorstorm can come up with some extra modes and better tracks then it will be very hard for Pure to Beat Motorstorm 2.

Avatar image for turuk

I honestly think that was poorly animated

Avatar image for Avenger1324

Is this game about racing or pulling stunts in the air on ATVs? Stunts makes for great publicity stills, but the aim of a race is to finish first, not be the one that did the biggest trick off the biggest jump, so what is the point in focusing so heavily on tricks?

Avatar image for Paul_TheGreat

I'll much rather have Motorstorm 2.

Avatar image for is0lati0n

Looks awesome. Nice graphics.

Avatar image for CapoX

nice stripper.

Avatar image for slimdog363

owwwwwww, purty.

Avatar image for mortzilla3

Could be good.

Avatar image for dutch777

sounds just like another Motorstorm. No real umph!!!! is it a case of same same??

Avatar image for nonstop619

yeah i agree sounds boring, riding in real life is a blast but atv games just dont match up

Avatar image for other44


Avatar image for -barker-

i've never understood the demand for offroad atv racing...i read the article, but i was bored

Avatar image for Poutsoskabila

Hands down, one of the prettiest titles out to date. If this supermodel can compete on more than looks alone, folks will buy 360 consoles just to get to play this.

Avatar image for 5FingersOfDeath

Pure... sounds like a perfume.

Avatar image for pixelsword

Looks Nice, but Motorstorm really spoiled me... this better have more to it than what I'm reading... *Just saw the clip... Doesn't seem better than motorstorm to me... this is just the ATV version of NBA jams; ridiculous verticals that'll be fun at first, but has no depth of play to keep you for the long haul.

Avatar image for itzmec

i want another v8

Avatar image for littlestreakier

this game looks like it's gonna be really fun, i'l definately have to keep an eye on it

Avatar image for FireBurger

Not only are the graphics better than Motorstorm, but the environments are actually nice to look at. Motorstorm had great graphics, but the tracks were fairly dull in color and setting. Only question I have is which system to get this on...

Avatar image for Ravi_1900

Yes the graphics are better than Motorstorm and DIRT I can see it myself every thing is stunningly detailed. As far as Forza goes it was more abt depth and gameplay it delivers rather than Graphics.

Avatar image for truenextgen

And buy the way Motostorm is motostorm. Its vary much its own thing. For those who have it "which I takeit anyone that mentions it dont" you know Its kinda like Mad max at a race event? Kinda, but without guns and stuff. Nothings like motostorm. No its not thebest racer out their. But neither is Forza lol. But out the list of top 100 BS for Box fans to write.. Thats one that just dont work lol

Avatar image for truenextgen

CGI intro ughh. But A sim dirt racer is needed, since Untamed could not even become half the game Unleashed was, Long enough a sequel to Unleashed. Still haven't seen anything good since unleashed "PS2!." When it comes to the motocross type of style.

  • 69 results
  • 1
  • 2