Hi guys! Mark's ready and we're going to begin. First of all, for the benefit of readers who may not know about your history at System 3, please could you introduce yourself and say what you do?
Mark Cale: So, I'm Mark Cale, CEO of System 3. We've been going for 25 years, developing games such as IK+, Last Ninja, Constructor, Puddy Squad, Myth and many others. Recently, we've released Gotleib Pinball Classics and Ferrari Challenge. We also hold the rights to some classic franchises such as Summer Games, Winter Games, California Games. We're one of the last truly independent publishers in the UK.
Welcome to Eurogamer's LiveText interview with Mark Cale, CEO of Ferrari Challenge publisher System 3.
This is your chance to ask Cale about Ferrari Challenge, which came out on PS3 and DS recently, and its future as a multiplayer game supported by lashings of downloadable content - the first of which we're expecting very soon.
Cale will be online with us from 4pm BST (UK time) / 5pm CET, and you can submit questions before that and throughout the chat. We'll put the best ones to him for as long as he can stand the heat!
What can we expect with the much talked about downloadable content? Any specific details you can divulge on cars/tracks? I know lots of us (well certainly me!) would like to see the F1 car, a Monaco track and perhaps even a night race mode/option.
Mark Cale: We've had a lot of interest from gamers about our forthcoming downloadable content for Ferrari Challenge. In fact, even we're surprised at the amount of forum threads being created across the internet to talk about Ferrari Challenge and its DLC.
We're happy to announce the first batch of downloadable content today, which will consist of one track and five cars, also with the ability to download these individually. The first track available for download will be Nurburgring's GP Strecke. As one of the classic car enthusiasts tracks, and the official circuit raced by Ferrari Challenge, we had to make this available...and the course we'll be offering is the Formula 1 layout, a fast track with quick corners, and more than enough straights for some classy overtaking manoeuvres.
And as for downloadable cars, the first pack will include: Ferrari Enzo, 599 GTB Fiorano, 612 Sessanta, 430 Scuderia and the P4.
We're sure this will be more than enough to satsify even the biggest petrolheads, and provide more options when racing online as requested by the community.
Ferrari Challenge does sounds like my cup of tea but with so many racers out there I like to try out a demo before I buy. Will a demo be released on PSN to help persuade those sitting on the fence?
Mark Cale: Currentlly, we've not come to a decision as to whether or not to release a demo on PSN. There's many factors that we need to take into account, and logistically, it's very possible, but I'm afraid we can't confirm anythihng at the moment. There's more video footage coming to PSN shortly, though.
What is the real reason why your game was not put on the Xbox 360? It is the console of choice for racing fans with more quality racing games this generation than any other system. After viewing the game I do not buy the official line that the game is to powerful for Xbox 360. Seems like there is a lot more to this than you are letting on.
Mark Cale: As much as we'd love to create this game for Xbox 360, we don't have the licence to produce this for the console. I know this may disappoint some fans, but unfortunately, for the time being, it's a PlayStation and Nintendo game only.
Hello Mark. Are you disappointed by sales of the game in the UK? It hasn't appeared in the Top 40 All-Formats charts at all since release, and has danced around the PS3 charts entering at 15, then 13, then back to 16.
Mark Cale: The game has done phenomenally well in most European territories, which typically have a large racing following. The UK has a predominently FPS-orientated market, and coupled with some regrettable distribution problems, we've only just now managed to get the game into all stores. We're really geared up for the release in the US, with our excellent distribution partners Activision, and we're expecting the game to perform just as well.
Really enjoying the game and collecting the in-game medals/awards. With the upcoming DLC can we expect to see these medals/awards linked into the recently added Trophy system on the Playstation Network?
Mark Cale: We're really impressed with what Sony are doing with Trophies, and we'll be making an update available very soon to allow the game to support these features in the future.
Just to follow up on the earlier question about Xbox 360, is there anything to stop you doing a PC version, and do you have any plans to do so?
Mark Cale: Watch this space!
Is it possible for a later DLC to include the Le Mans racetrack?
Mark Cale: With any tracks, each has to be licesned. Le Mans is an excellent track, and unlike most circuits it's an international brand in its own right. With such a large brand value, it's a long process in terms of licensing a track such as this. We're working towards making Le Mans available for Ferrari Challenge in the near future, but I can confirm other internationally famous tracks that will appear will be Laguna Seca, Daytona, Brands Hatch, Donnington, Barcelona, Hugaraoring, Suzuka and others, of which licences are being negotiated. Monaco will follow in September, after the first batch, with a few surprises.
[Asked loads, so we picked a couple!] 1) I read that in the near future you will release add-on hillclimb races or similar. It this true? If so, when will they be released? 2) The clutch, for use in old models Ferrari to manual for the G25 will be implemented or not?
Mark Cale: We can confirm that we're looking at adding races such as hill climb, and other types. However, currently, we don't have anything to announce. Also, on the G25 racing wheel clutch issue, we've had feedback from the community, and it's something we're looking at as a priority to implement in the near future.
How about a new Last Ninja?
Mark Cale: The Last Ninja is a game the company has always wanted to create a worthy sequel to. However, although it's always in our minds, we aren't announcing the Last Ninja Next Gen quite yet.
Are you planning any integration for Home?
Mark Cale: As any PS3 user is aware, Home is in an ongoing beta process before release, which Sony is improving all the time, and it's very exciting, not just for the gamer, but for publishers like ourselves. As with any beta process, it's always being refined. Once all the features are set in stone by Sony, and we know when the public release will happen, we'll be supporting it from the start.
"Monaco will follow in September, after the first batch, with a few surprises." That's a Night Race isn't it Mark? Come on, tell me it is.
Mark Cale: It's certainly not midday, is it? Of course, we want to deliver everything we possibly can to fully simulate Monaco perfectly. You will, however, have to wait and see, because we don't want to give away too much today!
The back of the box says the game has 50 cars...how did you come up with that number? The 24 F430 Challenge cars and 22 unlockable cars add up to 46. Are we missing something here? Also, about the 25 "coming soon" cars on the website, are they hidden somewhere in FC or is it downloadable content? If downloadable, why only 25? That's nowhere near "every ferrari ever made".
Mark Cale: Regarding the downloadable content, we're not restricting how many cars we're going to release, and the aim is to eventually have every Ferrari ever made. It's a bold statement, but we'll endeavour to deliver on that. Moving foward, we will deliver five cars each downloadable pack, starting with Nurburgring in August. Now, in terms of how many cars are in the game, there may be cars that haven't been found yet, as in non-downloadable content. There's definitely 50 cars on the disk, but you'll just have to keep looking!
Have you crashed any of your Ferraris?
Mark Cale: Good question. I've had 61 Ferraris, and yes, I have crashed a few on the track. In fact, I've crashed a number of racecars in my time. The Ferrari I crashed was an F50, along with a 360 Challenge for which we'll happily supply a picture to Eurogamer a little later along with some exclusive screens of the downloadable content!
The upcoming DLC pack includes the Ferrari P4, which immediately made me think about the P4/5 concept car. Are there going to be concept cars in FC? I'd love to race around in a Ferrari Mythos!
Mark Cale: The Ferrari Mythos, as well as the Dino 206 Competizione are two cars we'd love to include as downloadable content. These concepts are owned jointly by Ferrari and Pinnafarina, which present some licensing issues, which we're working hard to resolve with both parties. The Dino 206C Competizione is legendary in Japan, and both cars are a must-have for downloadable content if licensing issues can be resolved.
Are there any plans to implement a pit and pit crew in the races?
Mark Cale: Unlike F1 and other race series, tyre changes aren't permitted mid-race in the real Ferrari Challange series. The driver only comes in for a compulsory 45-second stop. For gameplay reasons, it didn't make sense to include this in the game.
[Editor's note: klondike's posted his questions several times and is now posting abuse because he feels ignored. We love you klondike! Mark's already dealt with a couple of your queries today, so here's the remaining questions.] Will you release the full Nordschleife track and do you plan to have an official forum?
Mark Cale: The old Nurburgring is no longer raced on, and hasn't been for many years. The Ferrari Challenge series races on the F1 circuit, therefore a decision was made to replicate a race circuit, and not a test circuit, which is what the behemoth is currently used as.
In terms of a forum, we're looking at all the options available to best engage the community, starting with the release of Ferrari Challenge in the US to best support a worldwide audience.
Moderator: That's all we've got time for I'm afraid! Thanks very much to Mark Cale for his time and to you all for coming along to join in. Sorry if we didn't get to your question but hopefully there'll be more opportunities in the future. Cheerio!