Ferrari GB boss Massimo Fideli, race driver Bruno Senna and System 3 CEO Mark Cale
Recently, I was flown out by veteran UK games publisher, System 3, to the glorious Mugello race circuit in northern Italy to check out the company?s forthcoming PlayStation 3, Wii and DS racer, Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli
. As press trips go, it rarely gets better, as this meant being treated to the pleasure of finally getting to drive some of the most embarrassingly fast cars of my dreams. (Much, I might add, to the green-faced jealously of friends, family members and colleagues ? some of whom have since had the gall to suggest that I just "shut the f*ck up about the Ferraris already!")
Towards the end of a hard day spent in the pleasant company of incredibly courageous (read: foolhardy) instructors patiently teaching me to race F430s and F360s round the track, and caning System 3's videogame in-between laps, I was treated to a particularly special lap of honour with race driver, Bruno Senna (nephew of the late, great Ayrton), casually hitting speeds of up to 270kph under the glorious ?SEGA blue? autumnal skies over Mugello.
I idly wondered at one point if Senna had as many speeding points on his license as I foolishly have. Or, for that matter, if I should have mentioned my impending speeding ban to the instructors earlier on in the day. Ah well, too late?
Senna, it seems, as well as being possessed of of his uncle?s good looks and amiably laid-back nature, has also inherited the family?s ?racing genius? gene. Not only that, he has been genuinely hard at work as System 3's technical consultant on Ferrari Challenge
It is very soon apparent that Mark Cale got Bruno involved in the project for all of the right reasons: they both share a deep love of videogames (particularly racing games) and Senna is clearly a fount of knowledge for Mark South (interviewed here
) and his development team up at Eutechnyx in Gateshead.
Bruno provides the team with the kind of first-hand knowledge about racing Ferraris around the various European and North American circuits found in the real-life Challenge that just cannot be gleaned from books, in-depth physics modelling and terabytes of car-handling data. Senna, as Cale himself tells me, ?adds the magic touch.?
After dinner that evening I caught up Cale (pictured on the right in the above picture), Bruno Senna (middle) and Ferrari UK boss, Massimo Fideli (the tanned Italian fellow on the left) - the three driving forces behind Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli
In between the jokes and the banter, the three guys share some of their thoughts on just why they fervently believe Ferrari Challenge
is going to be a rather special treat for PS3, Wii and DS gamers when it releases later next month.
hi guys, thanks for your time. So, Mark, what?s so special about Bruno?s involvement in Ferrari Challenge
Well, what?s been unique about this product is not just that Bruno is a fantastic race driver, he?s actually a videogame fanatic. It was really like having our own test driver in the game.
How detailed are the in-game cars?
At the moment, in-game, the cars are around 300,000 polygons (and around 800,000 polys for the cars in the virtual garage).
What?s the process of capturing that model?
Well basically the model is built from scratch from a wire-mesh by these guys at Eutechnyx. They really have done a phenomenal job. Though I was a fussy bastard though wasn?t I, Mark?
(game producer): Mmmm, sometimes! (laughs)
It?s just that I know what I want, in terms of quality. But, in terms of car approvals from Ferrari, they came back to us straight away with approval and told us they were the best models they?d ever had from anyone.