You’ve got a lot of fans from the PGR
games, were you afraid of any backlash from them?
We did put a lot of thought into the reactions of the community and fan base because if we do anything different to the norm, we’ll have the odd person complaining that ‘it’s not PGR
’, no matter what the game is. But obviously we can’t ignore our fans that want a more substantial experience in a game, so we’re always thinking of ways to create games that are accessible to everyone yet have meat in it that the hardcore gamers can really appreciate.
There have been motions by a lot of developers to make games more accessible to players and cutting out the fluff that makes a lot of titles too confusing for people. But on the other hand, there’s a negative connotation that has arisen from the casual gaming phenomenon. Do you think that negativity levied towards casual gaming is a misconception by some gamers?
I think the term ‘casual gaming’ is the misconception, and how you specifically define what a casual game is. Just because you have an accessible game doesn’t mean that it’s casual. Being casual means you play an hour of games a week; being accessible means that even if you don’t know anything about a particular genre of game, you can still jump in and enjoy playing the game in 30 seconds or so.
I don’t see why you shouldn’t be able to make a game that appeals to a wider audience, as long as the content and quality is still there. I don’t think every game should be a shitty, one-hour party experience but I do think that games should be simple and fun to get into, and the substance should be there to justify the experience.
Could you explain a little more about the ‘social networking’ aspect of the game, and how it comes into play in multiplayer?
The social networking side essentially comes from the idea of social groups, in a Facebook style. A social group is basically a collection of events. Events are different types of races.
In the single-player, they’re all pre-determined groups that have comments from AI players that look a little like the Status comments in a networking website. In multiplayer you can set up your own custom group and create up to five different events, with rules specified by you
If you think of the Matchmaking menus in Halo
, when you go online the social groups will appear in a similar fashion to that, with the top few groups being Bizarre groups and then a couple of top user-created groups for you to try with friends.
You’ll also be able to create your own rules and have people play games based on them too, and that came from watching fans play PGR
in the past – there’s the whole ‘Cat and Mouse’ saga, where players in PGR
just started playing beyond the rules and essentially created their own unofficial game within the game. So we’re giving players the tools to do that officially in Blur