Interviews

Race Driver GRID 2 interview: 'Be the best or don't bother'

Games designer Ross Gowing talks hyper-real AI, quality over quantity, and next-gen

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Given that car handling and modelling is already very advanced, do you think the future of racing games lies with realistic opponent AI and decision making?
GOWING: You're right about the stage our handling and modelling is at; but we feel we can actually push it even further - if you look at what we're doing with the suspension physics and damage modelling for GRID 2 compared to what it has been in previous titles, you'll see we're not scared to take a hold of something that was already superb and see what we can do to make it even better.

Realistic AI and decision making is already with us to a large extent - we have something in the region of 60 attributes for each AI driver which really helps us bring character and realism to each opponent, and going forwards we'd obviously be looking at how we can improve that even further.

How deep does the career mode go? What kind of options are you giving players to make the game their own?
GOWING: The career is all about the player being the cornerstone of a growing global phenomenon and how they develop within that, and we're confident that people will feel that it's all about them.

We'll guide the player from starting out in classic muscle cars all the way up to 1,000bhp monsters - but the journey in-between is down to them and how they want to play the game.

On a practical level, they'll be able to choose which vehicles and classes best suit the way they drive, stamp their visual style onto them, and then choose how they want to take on the world's best drivers across a wealth of different challenges.

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What are your thoughts on Forza Horizon, given that several members of the Codemasters team moved to Playground to create it? Did you enjoy it?
GOWING: I was looking forward to seeing how they would retain the Forza DNA and craft it into a different experience, and I think they achieved that - it's always interesting to compare what other teams do compared to what you think you'd do in the same position.

I think the movement of team members is probably a bit overplayed though - it's part and parcel of our industry that talented people will seek pastures new, and are replaced with other talented people.

Obviously the gap between current-generation consoles and gaming PCs is pretty substantial now. Given that GRID 2 has a PC version, would you - in theory - be able to scale that PC version up for next-generation consoles?
That's probably a question better suited to a member of our code team - but yeah I suppose in theory you could. Whatever the spec of next-generation consoles I'm sure our guys will be taking the earliest possible opportunity to look at what we can do with them, and I'd put my money on them superseding the quality we already achieve.

However, developing on the next generation of hardware requires some serious thought and consideration of its own.

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