Bizarre Creations' Blur is a hugely significant release for the Liverpool-based studio. The first game to be released since the company's acquisition by industry giant Activision Blizzard, it's also the firm's first racing title since the epochal Project Gotham Racing 4.
As obvious as it is to say so, given its title, the first thing that hits you about Blur is how fast everything seems. As I hurtle around the first circuit in the opening stages of my hands-on with near-finished code, I'm experiencing sensory overload.
"It almost becomes like Street Fighter in a way," muses Gareth Wilson, lead designer at Bizarre Creations. "There's counters to everything." He's describing the power-up system in Blur at its first public sighting since the game was officially delayed last September.
Throwing off the shackles of simulation racing might sound like a good idea to some extent, but in Bizarre Creations' case, the simmy side of Project Gotham Racing was only shackling it to, er, enormous critical acclaim. Having been swallowed up by Activision, however, the Liverpool-based developer had little choice but to start over on something new - and after a decade making sim-leaning racing games for Dreamcast and then Xbox and Xbox 360, it's little wonder that Blur is such a departure.
This is how Bizarre Creations wants to save racing games.