Eurogamer Expo Sessions: Evolution presents MotorStorm Apocalypse

Shooting the breeze about burning rubber.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse is the latest in the PlayStation 3-exclusive series from Evolution Studios, a developer that's just finished showing off its sparkly racer at Eurogamer Expo 2010.

Because we know some of you missed out, we sat down with game director Matt Southern a day before his star turn at the Expo to get the skinny on all things MotorStorm.

Eurogamer: Why are you famous, Matt?

Matt Southern: Am I famous? It's largely because I'm a bit northern, isn't it?

I'm the game director on MotorStorm: Apocalypse at Evolution Studios. I've been here for six years, produced WRC Rally Evolved, and then worked in the background on MotorStorm 1 and Pacific Rift, working on concepts and prototypes.

Midway through developing Pacific Rift, a small team and I started to put together the pitches and the prototypes for MotorStorm: Apocalypse. So it's had a longer development phase than any other title we've worked on. Hopefully that will show.

Eurogamer: Will it make it the best game you've ever made?

Matt Southern: I hope so. We try to be very ambitious here and keep raising the bar. Especially since we became part of Sony we feel it's important as first party developers to show what's achievable with the PlayStation.

On PlayStation 2 we regularly surprised ourselves with the way we were able to continually squeeze more power out of the machine. It's pretty much panning out that way with PlayStation 3.

MotorStorm Apocalypse trailer

Eurogamer: What's your developer session about?

Matt Southern: I will have talked about the big changes that MotorStorm: Apocalypse offers, the move into an urban location, the thinking behind it, the couple of live demonstrations with myself and Rushy [Paul Rustchynsky], the lead designer.

Before I do the demonstrations I'll talk a little bit about the thought processes behind the game, the reason why we think it's going to be a winning title. I'll also show off some making of type material, some nice concept art and a little bit about why we came to these decisions and how we worked with the community and looked at the rest of the competitive marketplace and came up with this idea.

Eurogamer: How did you come up with the idea? Was it because a lot of racing game developers are moving away from traditional racing into action? Is that fair?

Matt Southern: Yeah. The reason they're doing it is because they are quite naturally and instinctively looking at other genres that are over delivering, that are doing something special with this generation of hardware.

That does tend to mean extremely epic, dynamic, high impact moments and lots of action. Scale tends to be one of the most noticeable features. A lot of us take inspiration from a wide range of other media and entertainment. In particular we might read certain comic books, Mark Millar's books, watch summer blockbusters. Even if we're not particularly enamoured by storytelling at times, we can't help but look at things on the big screen and immediately say to ourselves how cool it would be if that was interactive, if it wasn't a movie but a game, something inherently more satisfying and controllable.

That's exactly what's happening in the genre, particularly the action-racing genre, as opposed to the simulation field. We're always very keen to look at what Gran Turismo does and try and sit alongside it. They're best in class at offering a particular type of racing experience, so we are doing our very best to be best in class at offering the other archetypal racing experience, which is the one that's more inspired by car chases and action movies than by real motorsports.

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