It's raining. You're racing through a capital city at 120 miles per hour. You're in a Maserati 250F, a car that made legends of Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio (who in a single race, broke the Nurburgring lap record 10 times with one). You're powersliding like a bastard, and it's brilliant. You can only be playing Project Gotham Racing 4, a game that sings with its adroit refinement and howls with its exhaust notes. PGR2 may have made the legend and 3 took it into a new generation, but PGR4 cemented its reputation forever.
It is now dark when we walk home and birds are either dropping out of trees in frozen lumps or going somewhere much nicer for their holidays. And, as always happens, the shops are hoisting their Christmas decorations up and getting us all worried about buying presents because we never know what they want is it socks or aftershave. So, we thought we would join in.
Since this interview was conducted, Bizarre Creations has been acquired by Activision.
Last time we saw PGR4, we had to sit across the room from it while two of the developers did endos and talked about puddles. What we actually wanted to do was drag them out by the hair, lock ourselves in and then try and get ALL PLATINUMS for as long as it took Kevin Spacey to convince us to open the door again. So this time we did just that. Close enough, anyway.
A Most Wanted list you say? Cripes, whatever next: a Tips and Cheats pamphlet to go with Eurogamer's promotional Pacman Beach Ball cover mount? Still, it's the summer, there are precious few games around and, with an awful lot of new titles coming up towards the end of the year you might quite reasonably want to know which ones to keep an eye on.
Right, does anyone remember where we got to with "the promise of the next generation"? I recall J Allard wearing a hoodie under a suit jacket to tell us about high definition graphics, largely because my Mum was round when I watched the video and said "what a trussed-up yobbo" (harsh). So there was definitely some promising of the next generation there. Then it was having 1000 units on-screen, because that's all anyone was talking about for most of 2005. And then, more recently, Ubisoft refined that to "crowd gameplay", which doesn't really mean anything, although we tried not to point that out in case Jade Raymond got offended and refused to marry us. And meanwhile, over in sunny Liverpool, Bizarre Creations have come up with a quintessentially British alternative. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the promise of the next generation: puddles.