MotorStorm's gameplay producer Jed Ashforth answers a few of our questions about the game's DLC support.
Eurogamer: Since MotorStorm first came out in Japan, we've had the multiplayer mode, time trial, various patches, new tickets and new tracks. Why spend so much time and money on downloadable content?
Jed Ashforth: We feel that downloadable content has the potential to be much more than a new console feature, it deserves 'Triple A' values and attention by itself as opposed to seeing it as a follow-on. We felt that the best way for all of us to benefit was with a very clear and major investment. Having said that, the picture some people have of us all working on it is somewhat off the mark. We're a multiple-project developer now.
Eurogamer: Did you have to reconsider or revise your approach based on your experience with early additions like the friends list and time attack, or did you fall into a workable pattern pretty quickly?
Jed Ashforth: Before the launch of any of our downloadable content we'd already gone through numerous revisions and brainstorm sessions. We didn't have to reconsider, but it clearly made sense to gauge reaction and tailor future content accordingly. Even with plenty of success in the bag now it's still 'frontier' time with downloadable content; we're figuring out what will work and what won't.
Eurogamer: What inspires the content that you release as add-ons? Is it cutting room floor stuff from pre-release, new ideas from within, feedback, a mixture?
Jed Ashforth: A mixture. The majority of MotorStorm downloadable content has been new ideas. We do scour the web looking for feedback though, and use focus groups. Nothing was culled from the boxed game and deliberately saved for later. We put all we could onto the Blu-ray in the timeframe.
Eurogamer: Are there any plans to release an updated MotorStorm SKU with all the content included, or an online bundle that includes everything at once, or anything like that?
Jed Ashforth: We don't have any plans for this at the moment.
Eurogamer: Did you plan to support the game this much? Has the fact that you're doing so much DLC had an impact on your work with MotorStorm 2?
Jed Ashforth: The level of ambition was planned. When we were indies we promised SCE that we would spearhead the field of downloadable content, and that's what we're still trying to do. We set up a bespoke team and no other projects have been affected.
Eurogamer: Given that you've done so much DLC, including premium stuff, what tips would you give other developers about getting a good return and keeping fans happy with after-market content?
Jed Ashforth: We have done a lot and been successful with it, but again we'd be the first to say we're still learning. Now we're part of the Sony family, we're exposed to some great cross-studio collaboration and have been sharing ideas and recommendations about downloadable content, Home, and loads of other stuff. Perhaps unsurprisingly this is most often with Studio Liverpool and BigBig Studios, but the dialogue is a global one. Really exciting times for us.
Eurogamer: What's left to add to MotorStorm? What sorts of things do you have in store for the future?
Jed Ashforth: This question goes way beyond downloadable content. We have the aim of turning our launch-window title into a sustained, massive brand. We plan to dominate reaction racing for a long time. We'd never aim any lower.