Mad Max

Like Shadow of Mordor before it, Mad Max sees Warner Bros thoughtfully apply its filmic property to an open world.

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Digital FoundryFace-Off: Mad Max

PC owns the Fury Road, but PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren't left in the dust.

Key events

Here's April's PlayStation Plus games line-up

Mad Max! Trackmania Turbo! More!

Sony has announced its PlayStation Plus games selection for the month of April, and it's another good 'un, dropping Mad Max and Trackmania Turbo into the laps of subscribers.

I'm not sure I fully understood the Mad Max game until I read one particular loading screen tip. Not that on the surface there's a lot to misunderstand, of course. The plot of Avalanche's Mad Max game can be summed up as follows: man beats up other men in order to rebuild his car. Mechanically, it's pretty straightforward too: you drive about, you beat up men, you upgrade things so that you're better at driving and beating up men. You explore, you solve simple physics-based puzzles you encounter as you explore. You unlock the map so that you can explore more, and solve more puzzles. And drive further. And find more men to beat up.

When you play Mad Max, you're not really playing a single video game so much as you're playing a sort of cross-section: a geological sample of where many big-budget video games are at today. You're seeing the things big-budget developers like and you're seeing the things they think we like. Mad Max may seem scrappy, with all that rust and bent metal and all those insane, babbling NPCs, but this is game design as a sort of science - or game flow design as a science, at least. A huge map, constantly prodding you in a direction and then teasing you away again one gimmick at a time, with everything you find adding to a total somewhere, all of it taking you closer to completion.

Face-Off: Mad Max

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Mad Max

PC owns the Fury Road, but PlayStation 4 and Xbox One aren't left in the dust.

Our first look at Mad Max showed Avalanche Studios handing in a solid cross-platform conversion where the visually stunning open world wasteland is given the full 1080p treatment on both PS4 and Xbox One, with almost identical visual features and performance. Aside from a couple of mostly irrelevant visual anomalies, it's a great example of a cross-platform project done right - both Xbox One and PS4 owners can buy the game, knowing that they haven't been short-changed in terms of graphics or gameplay.

With that solid console showing in mind, how does the PC version hold up? Avalanche Studios lead development on PC first, with the engine designed to scale across multiple platforms. This allows for the potential of higher quality assets and better effects work targeting high-end gaming rigs, while the consoles and lower-end computers get by with lower graphical settings. In the case of Mad Max though, it appears that Avalanche has targeted the high-end experience across all formats, with PS4, Xbox One, and PC all sharing a similar standard of visual quality. The main difference here comes down to being able to power past 1080p resolutions on PC while delivering gameplay at a slick 60fps, though we see some small refinements in other areas.

Selecting 1080p resolution to match up with our console captures, initial impressions reveal a similar level of image quality across all versions. What we suspect is a custom post-process anti-aliasing solution is in play providing generally excellent levels of edge-smoothing across the vast desert plans and rolling sand dunes of the wasteland. Sub-pixel shimmering remains a bugbear when exploring the various outposts dotted about the environments, but otherwise image quality is generally solid.

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Performance Analysis: Mad Max

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Mad Max

PS4 and Xbox One enter the Digital Foundry Thunderdome.

Mad Max takes Avalanche Studios in a new direction: focusing strongly on vehicular combat and exploration of a vast post-apocalyptic wasteland, the developers successfully translate the bleak and unrelenting vision of George Miller's iconic series into a challenging action title. From a technological perspective, Mad Max also impresses with the studio's use of complex lighting and extensive post-processing to bring the wasteland to life. Physically-based lighting and clustered shading allow for a large number of simultaneous light sources without heavily impacting on performance, while materials such as sand, metals, and fabrics are accurately rendered with a suitably run-down aesthetic.

In terms of multi-platform comparisons, both console versions of Mad Max operate natively at full 1080p, with the Xbox One game matching the PS4 in the resolution stakes pixel-for-pixel - a pleasant surprise considering the resolution differential in many top-tier games. Edge-smoothing looks impressive, most likely handled by a custom anti-aliasing algorithm (Avalanche has a history of experimenting with its own techniques in this area). While the details on the actual AA implementation remain unknown right now, the technique in play here works well in tackling jaggies when exploring the vast wasteland, with rocky canyons and sand tunes appearing suitable smooth. That said, sub-pixel details aren't handled quite as successfully and shimmering across small objects and more intricate structures is noticeable when exploring outposts scattered across the post-apocalyptic landscape.

An initial gaze across the rest of the game's graphically rich visuals reveals a welcome level of parity across both consoles, with the same core art and effects work deployed equally in almost every area between the two formats. Texture filtering, depth of field, motion blur, and shadow quality all match up nicely to the point where differences you may see in our media are mostly a product of a dynamic time of time system, where slightly variances in shadow position and lighting occur depending on how quickly we complete certain missions.

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If you're reading this then you're probably not playing Metal Gear Solid 5 right now, which honestly feels like quite an achievement this week. Snake's swan song seems to be absolutely everywhere, so we appreciate you giving us your time and attention.

Oh, what a day... what a lovely day! Mad Max is finally out, which is great news; our very own ginger Warboy Martin Robinson highly recommends it. Of course, it just so happens Metal Gear Solid 5 is also out today, meaning it's a safe bet a few of you will be missing out on all that Mad Max has to offer and playing with a tiny digital puppy instead.

Mad Max review

RecommendedMad Max review

Fast and Furiosa.

There have been wastelands before, of course. From the Darling brothers' The Last V8 through to Fallout 4, the dust and decay of a post-apocalyptic world have long been one of video games' playgrounds of choice, where the sandboxes are dotted with discarded car wrecks and burnt-out petrol stations. How strange and satisfying it is, then, to return to one of the original wastelands, as birthed in George Miller's edgy cult 1979 film Mad Max before being fully explored in 1981's excellent sequel The Road Warrior.

Mad Max

Publisher: Warner Bros

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Watch 20 minutes of Mad Max gameplay

Watch 20 minutes of Mad Max gameplay

Meet lots of colourful characters (and blow most of them up).

A 20-minute section of Avalanche's upcoming Mad Max game has been revealed via IGN at Gamescom.

Set roughly halfway through the game, we see senior producer John Fuller walk us through a day in the life of Max as he deals with the dregs of the wasteland.

Like many open-world games, Mad Max tasks you with finding high vantage points to scour the scenery. Unlike a lot of similar titles, Mad Max requires you to actually observe each point of interest with your telescope before it gets added to your map.

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Much Mad Max actual gameplay footage

A good 10 minutes of proper Mad Max gameplay footage has been shown at E3.

Developer Avalanche Studios aired the footage during a videoed PlayStation sit-down. The footage is a mixture of direct feed and off-screen, interspersed with talking-head interview shots.

The footage shows many elements of the game. There's the Batman-inspired rhythmical melee fighting; there's the heavy vehicle customisation; there's vehicular combat.

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The Mad Max game takes a different path to Fury Road

And that's okay! Our first proper hands-on with Avalanche's forthcoming open world adventure.

I almost feel sorry for the Warner Bros VP sitting across the table from me. I get the strong impression he wants to keep comparisons between the upcoming Mad Max game and the recent film Fury Road to a minimum, but I'm not particularly keen to comply. Questions on their similarities come thick and fast; will Furiosa make an appearance? ("You know, we just never even went there with George.") The game's main villain looks a bit like the film's Rictus Erectus, doesn't he? ("They might share some DNA...") With hype for the film at fever pitch at the time of our interview, and a recent viewing still very fresh in my mind, I can't help but wonder where and how the game and the film reboot-slash-remake might overlap. Just a few minutes before sitting down for an interview with Peter Wyse, Warner Bros' senior vice president of production and development, I get a good 20 minutes of hands-on time with the game, where I'm free to roam the Wasteland as I please. In fairness to Wyse, I do get a sense that the two properties are cut from different cloths.

New gameplay video shows Mad Max game has a Thunderdome

The new Mad Max game by Just Cause developer Avalanche has a Thunderdome! That's a domed gladiatorial cage as made famous by film Mad Max 3 and strutting singer Tina Turner, who ran it.

That's not all the brand new Mad Max gameplay trailer shows - we see driving, combat, car/person customisation menues. In other words, we see the game and what it will be like to play.

It's handsome, dust billowing behind vehicles as they race across the harsh wasteland, giant explosions flaring into a relentlessly scorching sky above. What looks like rhythmical combat - a hallmark of publisher Warner's Batman Arkham series - delivers convincing heft, brutality and grunt.

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Mad Max release date set for September on PC, PS4, Xbox One

Warner Bros. has announced a 4th September release date for Avalanche Studios' Mad Max in the UK.

That date applies to the game's PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions.

There's no mention at all of the previously-announced PS3 and Xbox 360 editions, and a Game Informer report confirms that these have been "left by the wayside" to focus on optimising the PC and current-gen versions instead.

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Adam Sandler's gaming comedy Pixels gets a release date

Adam Sandler's gaming comedy Pixels gets a release date

Out the same day as the Mad Max reboot.

Adam Sandler's upcoming comedy Pixels arrives in cinemas on 15th May 2015.

The gaming-themed flick sees a number of classic 8-bit characters let loose over New York City, and a crack team of expert gamers brought in to battle them.

It's based on a popular YouTube short film of the same name, embedded below, which features appearances by Frogger, Donkey Kong and Pac-Man.

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Mad Max preview: Bringing Just Cause's insanity to the wilds

Mad Max preview: Bringing Just Cause's insanity to the wilds

An over-the-top open world makes this the perfect return for Avalanche.

Commandeering vehicles is nothing new in open world games. Heck, the genre was in many ways founded by a game called Grand Theft Auto, so getting behind the wheel to zip around an extended map is the oldest trick in the book. And yet it's hard to form much of an attachment to a particular vehicle when everything with a gas pedal is for the taking. In Just Cause 2 developer Avalanche's upcoming Mad Max game you'll be able to drive more than 50 vehicles over the course of its open-world adventure, but you'll only become intimately familiar with one: the Magnum Opus.

Max's iconic car, a heavily modded 1974 Ford Falcon XB sedan, is no more and Max needs to craft his new ride. The Magnum Opus may start out a rickety ol' jalopy, but throughout the course of Avalanche's post-apocalyptic open-world adventure, you'll be able to customise it to your liking. You'll be able to modify its chassis, ramming abilities, engine, harpoon, mounted sniper rifle, or even your idiot savant hunchback mechanic Chumbucket, who comes included.

The section of the game Avalanche demoes at E3 tasks Max with getting past a heavily fortified barrier guarded marauders. Using his binoculars, Max can see that the barrier is glowing red, an indicator that our vehicle is not yet strong enough to smash through it. In the real game, you'll have to explore the wasteland, fight foes, and loot gear to eventually upgrade your ride, but for demo purposes Avalanche cheats and pumps points into the Magnum Opus' vast upgrade tree.

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Mad Max game "a couple of years" off

Director says games no longer "poor cousin".

George Miller, the Australian film director of the Mad Max series and that one with the talking pig, has revealed that the Mad Max game he's working on with God of War II director Cory Barlog is around two years from completion.

God of War man doing Mad Max game

Movie delayed to give him plenty of time.

George Miller, director of the Mad Max films, has confirmed a videogame tie-in will be released alongside the latest instalment in the series.