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Split/Second Velocity

Disney gives CVG the low-down on its new explosive racer...

This week sees the release of one of the most anticipated arcade racers of the year: Disney's Split/Second.

Developed by Black Rock - the Brighton-based team behind popular Disney racer Pure - the title offers humongous set pieces that shatter opponents' chances.

From crash landing planes to demolished towers, every bit of breakable scenery is designed to do colossal damage - all at the press of a button.

We caught up with producer Jason Ried to ask him more about the game - and what inspired it...

What are the major influences on the game?
The team at Black Rock are really experienced. They've done a few games before, but Pure was something totally different for them - and was quite unique coming from what they'd done before. We just wanted to make something even bigger and better.

Zoom

The team at the studio love movies, essentially. We kind took inspiration from a load of Hollywood action movies. We were thinking: What if Jerry Bruckheimer made a game? We wanted to look at it from that perspective - instead of doing the normal games, being kind of stuck in a rut doing the same sort of thing.

Split/Second is just so unique, it's totally, totally different - and that's shown in each of the different environments. There's one area in the city that's totally different again. It's massive and we're not even going to show anyone pre-review because it's such a big ending. People are going to go "Yes I've seen that in a movie before but - wow! - I've never seen it in a game before."

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Why do you think the 'we could never do that' attitude exists in games?
Yeah I mean there's two things to this. There's the technology - which wasn't really there to be able to do this kind of [massive set piece] before. What we're doing is massive. It's really an action adventure game which you race through. That was never possible before.

A lot of people moan about big team sizes, but we had a team of over 120, which is enormous - especially for us. But we would have never been able to do it without a team of 120. It's been a major benefit for us but it's also been a learning curve, because you have to deal with these environments, make sure you can race through them and make sure they're smooth.

Throughout development we ran into loads of issues because there's no-one we could speak to for advice - it wasn't like anyone's ever done this game before. When we found an issue we literally had to sit as a team and kind of figure out how to fix it, which is quite exciting but it's also quite daunting.

Zoom

The game seems to be genuinely non-stop - when you crash, you're straight back onto the track...
The faster we can go round the track the better. Because you're blowing people up that's an element of slowing down, so you've got to make people feel they're getting right back into the race.

You mentioned before about the size of the team - and I've heard you had a giant testing unit. How did that work?
It's essentially usability testing. It's probably reaching 300 [people] soon, just coming to the studio all the time. Essentially what we're doing is getting all their feedback in paper form after they've played eight hours of the game - but also we recorded what they were doing. We have software that actually figures out how they race, it takes the racing lines into account it takes into account and which cars they prefer - everything - and these are metrics we can pump out at the end. We then compare all the data.

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