September 2007 - The Project Gotham Racing series is a favourite of most racing enthusiasts. The series' penchant for creating arcade styled racing game with fun gameplay and great visuals has made it one of the most anticipated racing games of 2007. The latest game in the series, Project Gotham Racing 4, brings new features like weather, new online modes, and even motorcycles to the beloved formula.
We caught up with Chris Pickford, the Associate Producer on PGR4 to ask him some questions about the upcoming racing title.
CP: Chris Pickford - Associate Producer of Project Gotham Racing 4
CCC: Cheat Code Central
CCC: Project Gotham Racing is a pretty successful series. What do you think is the biggest contribution to the series' success over the years?
CP: For me it's got to be about rewarding the player for all aspects of driving. Throwing powerslides out, overtaking, drafting, getting air - having Kudos instantly tell you that you're the daddy is a core element to our racing experience. It's good to tell people when they're doing something cool, and overtaking someone with all wheels spinning across the apex of a corner is pretty darn cool! :)
CCC: What are some of the more promising features we can look forward to in Project Gotham Racing 4?
CP: This time round we really wanted to push the "emotive experiences" our players would be having. Introducing a whole new subset of vehicles with the bikes has been really interesting, and then we've built on our existing tech by layering in weather effects, new race modes, and a very deep career mode. This is the biggest most ambitious PGR we've ever attempted, and in my opinion it's the best we've ever made.
CCC: What vehicles can we expect to see in this upcoming iteration? What kind of supercars can we expect?
CP: Every vehicle in the game had to pass through an "iconic" test, they are all world famous for a variety of reasons! Old favourites such as the Mini Cooper S will be making a return, along with some more unusual choices like the MTT Turbine Superbike, which is a two wheeled monster powered by a helicopter jet engine. From the very beginning we set out to give players the widest choice in any PGR game ever, and we're really happy with the result.
CCC: Has the level of customization been increased?
CP: In order to create an immersive experience we realised that the player needs some control over their 'avatar', so we layered in a selection of quickly customisable features to let players represent themselves. Players can choose their nationality, their sex, their suit and helmet options, as well as creating a basic 'paint job' which they can apply to any vehicle in the game. This lets players create their 'identity' in an easy to use way, but doesn't distract the player from actually racing. We want players to spend hours putting pedal to the metal on the track, not tweaking shapes and colours in the front end. ;-)
CCC: Has the A.I. been improved? Can you give us any examples of how the A.I. has been improved? Will this improved A.I increase the difficulty for newcomers?
CP: The AI difficulty has been given a much greater range this time - we're a lot closer to the platinum players, but we've also got much more convincing 'average' AI, which doesn't look dumb if we need to give the player break. Our dedicated AI coder spent a lot of his time getting the opponents to act more 'human'. Some of the feedback from previous PGR games told us that while you were sliding around, the AI were more concerned about racing line than kudos earning. This time around we've layered in a whole new subset of skills into the AI personalities, meaning they're out for glory and crowd pleasing as much as you. There's nothing worse than fluffing a corner up only to be overtaken by an AI doing a wheelie. It's embarrassing.