Rallisport Challenge Q&A

Check out an exclusive Q&A with developer Digital Illusions.

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Rallisport Challenge, Microsoft's upcoming racing game for the Xbox, is aiming to provide gamers with a unique rally racing experience. Developed by Digital Illusions, the game is aiming to offer a solid gameplay engine as well as a variety of eye candy, such as swaying trees, grass, and animals, which react to your car when it drives by. We managed to get answers--from Tobias Andersson, the game's producer--about what Digital Illusions is doing with the game.

Rallisport Challenge will feature some slick visuals.
Rallisport Challenge will feature some slick visuals.

GameSpot: How long has the game been in development?

Tobias Andersson: We've been working on RalliSport Challenge for 18 months, from start to finish.

GS: How large is the team working on it?

TA: A lot of people have been involved in the development, from both Digital Illusions and Microsoft, somewhere between 15 to 25 at DICE alone.

GS: What are the backgrounds of the people working on it?

TA: Well, Digital Illusions has done some great racing games before, which of course has been a great help in this project. Our team's talent includes titles like Rally Masters, Motorhead, and STCC2 (Swedish Touring Car Championship 2).

GS: How has working with the Xbox hardware been?

TA: Great! It's a lovely piece of hardware, and the developer support for it is great! It has been very interesting to have the opportunity to follow the Xbox through the different steps of its development. We started with a specification on it, got different kinds of test kits, and, finally, the final hardware.

Now you can watch yourself skid out in gorgeous detail.
Now you can watch yourself skid out in gorgeous detail.

GS: Have there been any challenges getting anything out of the hardware?

TA: No, not at all! As I said before, I think this is a great piece of hardware, and even though we think we push it a lot, it still gives us what we want. But then, if the Xbox had 512MB of RAM...

GS: What are your proudest achievements in terms of graphics and gameplay?

TA: Most important--and what we really are satisfied with--is the driving experience. Graphics or features don't matter if the control of the car sucks and the feeling of speed is missing. The thing with the Xbox is that we can spend a lot of CPU time on car handling and physics but still have loads over for nice environments and effects. I think we succeeded in both those areas.

GS: Which titles did they draw inspiration from?

TA: We've gone through a lot of different kinds of real-life racing and racing titles when doing the design for RalliSport Challenge. Most important, though, I think our own Rally Masters has been the biggest inspiration for us.

GS: What are the team's goals in its development of the game? What did you feel was key for RalliSport to offer to be a strong game?

TA: Our goal was, obviously, to create the best rally game ever from a driving experience standpoint. We all feel that the car handling is the key, and we didn't want to do a game that was close to reality but no fun to drive. On the other hand, we didn't want it to be just another arcade racing game, so we set out to get the most fun driving experience we ever could. When we got the final hardware specifications, we realized we could do some amazing graphics, which add to the driving experience. We want the players to feel like it's something they play all the way through because it's so fun; at the same time, it is a game that you can pick up for a couple of single races, whenever you've got the time.

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