Interviews// Ben Ward, Studio Communications of Bizarre Creations

Posted 2 Jun 2009 18:00 by
Games: Blur
When you think of Bizarre Creations, the racing series Project Gotham Racing will spring instantly to mind. So when the team behind the most meticulously detailed racing game ever approaches an audience with an ‘accessible, fun party racer with power ups’, you can imagine the curiosity in people’s minds. Blur. Were Bizarre going casual? Is this Activision’s answer to Mario Kart?

In showcasing a demo during a pre-E3 press conference, the developer showed that any fears of dumbing down the racing genre could be put to rest. With a style that fits the Need For Speed series, physical power-ups that have varying degrees of effectiveness depending on skill and a social networking feature that is the building block of the game’s online mode, it’s clear that we’re in for an interesting ride.

I sat down with Ben Ward, Studio Communications of Bizarre Creations, to chat about the concept of Blur, input from the studio’s loyal fanbase, casual gaming and their recent signing on to Activision’s publishing brand.

SPOnG: Let’s talk about the inspiration of Blur. Obviously there’s a lot that you want to innovate in this game, but were there any games that you looked at and took reference from?

Ben Ward: Yeah, a game called Project Gotham Racing (laughs). No, honestly we play a lot of racing games and enjoy a whole heap of them, but for Blur we didn’t really take inspiration from any particular one.

SPOnG: Bizarre have been doing racing games for many years now, and with the advent of Metropolis Street Racer tried to do something different in making more of a simulation racing game. What’s the draw in creating an arcade racing game this time?

Ben Ward: Well, we certainly had fun doing the more simulation side of things with PGR, but I think racing games have taken a bit of an odd turn lately. It’s become the fashion to go ultra-realistic and you kind of lose the fun in the race when you try too hard to simulate the action.

There’s a bigger distinction between the two types of games as well - driving sims target more of a niche market, whereas racing games are more accessible and easier to get into. There’s more of an ‘arcade’ feel to a racing game, so it should be the bigger genre really – but it seems like the line has blurred more in recent years. I think racing’s just lost its way really, it’s gone too far towards realism these days and most racers try to be full-on simulations or something.

SPOnG: So you’ve mixed it up by making it a little less realistic and included power ups… you mentioned Mario Kart on several occasions during your presentation – does that help to describe Blur in more detail?

Ben Ward: Sort of, I mean whenever I’ve mentioned Mario Kart it’s been to explain that people shouldn’t think we’re going over the top crazy on this. We’ve said it’s to be more accessible and not as realistic as PGR, but it’s certainly not Mario Kart or anything like that. I’ve always put it down as Mario Kart being one side of the fence, PGR being the other side, and Blur pretty much sitting right in the middle.
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Games: Blur

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