At the PlayStation 4 conference held on February, we not only laid witness to the unveiling of the console, but to some of the games that would launch with, or near, the system itself. Some of these games were new franchises in existing properties, while some, like Evolution Studios' Driveclub, are completely new properties.
Who Is Evolution Studios?
While Evolution Studios may not be a household name, PlayStation fans will recognize them as the team behind MotorStorm and previously, a large number of games in the World Rally Championship series. Evolution Studios is bringing that love of cars and racing to the PlayStation 4 with Driveclub, a brand new racing property exclusive to the PlayStation 4 as Evolution Studios is a part of Sony.
Taking the stage at the PlayStation 4 conference, a representative of Evolution Studios claims that this game is “one they've always wanted to make” with the company even going so far to trademark the name nine years ago; the only thing stopping Evolution Studios from making this game was waiting for the technology to catch up to their vision. With the PlayStation 4, that time is now.
Driveclub is a racing video game that at first glance, looks like it has a lot in common with Gran Turismo. While both games do focus on track-based racing, Driveclub will be more arcade-like in its feel, enabling beginners to the racing genre to quickly get a handle on the game. In fact, the game is best compared to GRID 2, with the developer being hesitant to classify the game as a "racing simulation" at all. Evolution Studios has claimed the movie Drive as a big inspiration behind the gameplay.
Multiplayer and Social Aspect
Driveclub is focusing on the social aspect of racing, allowing you to create and race in teams. Driveclub will focus on club vs. club interaction, with the emphasis not on winning races but on challenges: laying down a challenge for your friends and competitors and defeating those challenges yourself. Not only can you issue that challenge on your PlayStation 4, you'll be able to issue a challenge on your PC and smartphone, providing access to your club no matter where you are. Driveclub looks to be take full advantage of Sony's commitment to the social aspect of gaming.
Evolution's Matt Southern tells CVG how Drive Club will be a racing experience like no other:
"For example, being able to help a friend remotely and seamlessly from one living room to the next, take over someone's race, show them where they're going wrong, use post-race data to analyse where they were going right and wrong in more detail, and share the experience in that way."
" The game can highlight content that is more relevant to you based on who your friends are or your most regular activity, as well as a personalised experience, and then take you into the game you're currently playing."
Another aspect of Driveclub will be immersion, which Evolution Studios is accomplishing by using a first person mode for getting into and out of your car. It was mentioned at the conference that not only does Evolution Studios want gamers to feel a sense of speed, but they want gamers to feel like they are in the car as this is as close as many gamers will come to being behind the wheel of an Agera R, one of the fastest cars in the world.
Evolution Studios has lovingly recreated every aspect of each car in amazing detail, from the emblems and hood ornaments down to the leather adorning the seats. You'll be fully immersed as, before a race, your driver buckles in and starts the car in the exact manner the car would start in real life.
One of the goals of the studio was to recreate the exact patterns of how certain aspects of the car, such as the spoiler, looks when reflecting light in order to provide a totally immersive experience. Only the PlayStation 4, they claim, enables them to render such details, and one of the goals of the game is to achieve photo-realism for every vehicle present.
How Driveclub Differs
As discussed earlier, when taken at surface value, Driveclub looks to be no different than any other racing game, such as Sony's own Gran Turismo series. Gran Turismo, as Sony fans know, strives for graphical perfection as well. However, what sets Drive club apart from other racing games, including Gran Turismo, is that emphasis on clubs and social interaction. Gamers are rewarded for joining a club, they are encouraged to play with others and, while most other racing games are mostly about winning a race and jumping from track to track, none of them have the social interaction that Driveclub is promising.
PlayStation Plus Version
When the PlayStation 4 launches, PlayStation Plus members will receive access to a free beta version of the game that slightly differs from the full game. This beta version will contain all single player and multiplayer game modes in addition to challenges but with fewer cars and tracks than the retail version of the game.
Should you wish to purchase the remaining cars and tracks, you can do so at a discount from the game's standard press. Think of this less as a beta and more like a very generous demo with a discount attached to it.
Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation Plus version of the game will launch at the same time as the retail edition: October 7th in the US and October 8th in Europe. However, that didn't turn out to be the case.
Sony has announced that the DriveClub PlayStation Plus version has been delayed to an unknown point in time while Evolution stabilizes the servers for paying customers. When the servers are stable, the PlayStation Plus version will be released.
Here is what you'll get in the PlayStation Plus version of the game:
- All game modes
- 11 tracks
- 10 cars
- A $10 discount on the full version of the game
Locked At 30 FPS
Over on the PlayStation Blog, Driveclub's new game director Paul Rustchynsky stated that the game is locked at 30 frames-per-second:
"The most important thing for a racing game is a locked frame-rate – whether it’s 30fps or 60fps. It’s vital that every controller input you make is consistent and also equal for all drivers. We chose a locked frame-rate for this very reason and with 30fps we don’t have to hold back any of the obsessive visual detail in our game."
At Gamescom, Sony announced retailer specific preorder bonuses when you preorder the game at either GameStop or Amazon. Each preorder pack contains the car named in the pack's title along with a driver experience boost to give you an immediate head start over the competition.
And as a special bonus, all preorders also receive one additional pack: The RUF RT 12 R Pack.
Finally, in what may be the best preorder bonus of them all, preordering the game at any retailer or digitally through the PlayStation Store will give you three free months of PlayStation Plus, a $17.99 value!
Driveclub will feature a mix of both free and paid DLC.
On the free front, expect seven free tracks, along with cars to accompany them, for the first few months after the game has released.
Releasing alongside this free content will be 38 cars and 176 events that will require payment, though how much money you'll have to fork over has not been released.
Gamers who know they will want all the content can opt for the $25 Season Pass, available when the game launches.
Driveclub was set to release on November 15th, 2013 as a PS4 launch title; however, Sony has now officially confirmed the game has been delayed to "Spring 2014."
Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida stated that the delay was "to ensure that when Driveclub launches, it will realize the next-gen racing vision."
As of January 2014, Driveclub still has no release date and Sony has explained why. At a recent PlayStation UK event, Sony UK MD Fergal Gara shed a little light about what was going on with Driveclub:
"The only reason that product was delayed and we haven’t accurately communicated a revised release date is that we want it to be right. There’s a fair promise in that title in what it wants to do with social features and really innovating in the driving genre. There’s no point in it coming out and half doing that job. It was quite ambitious and didn’t quite get there in the timeline hoped."
Current rumors have pegged the release date at June 2014. We'll see just how accurate those rumors are in the coming months.
March 2014 Update: Not so accurate after all, it turns out. In an interview with IGN, PlayStation Worldwide Studios executive Scott Rohde has stated that the game has gone "back to the drawing board":
""So, I think that at PlayStation, perhaps more than at other places, we're willing to kinda eat that [cost] and go back to the drawing board and make sure the game is great before we ship it. And that's what's going on right now with that game."
Rohde wouldn't comment on if the game would even ship during 2014 at all.
Driveclub officially shipped on October 7th in the United States and October 8th in Europe! Check out the release date trailer below.
Unfortunately, while Driveclub may have shipped the online components of the game have been down since launch. Evolution Studios is working hard at getting the game to work but so far has had little success. One of the major issues was that the game's servers were not adequately prepared for the numbers of gamers at launch who bought the game, and many multiplayer features still remain disabled.
On its Facebook page, Evolution Studios posted this message:
"We're still working, and will be around the clock, to keep improving social connectivity and online play, and we are pleased to say we have also added in friendly leaderboards now. We will have info about more updates to the game and the servers soon. In the mean time, while this work continues, we are also paying attention to all of the feedback and comments you're sharing with us too - so please keep sharing so that we can keep improving the game and giving you more to play for."
Game Category: Driving / Racing
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 2/23/2013