The racing genre has been around almost as long as there have been arcades and video-games. The trick nowadays is to offer up something that is new, intense and entertaining. When a new IP (intellectual property) is announced, one has to wonder if the dev team has any experience with the genre and if they will offer up anything new or merely retrace the paths already driven by other games.
Blur is a new IP and Bizarre Creations is the dev team working on this title. As for their pedigree – yep, you could say they’ve driven around the block a time or two. This is a team that worked on a benchmark title called Project Gotham Racing.
Activision had key members of the team on-hand at a pre-E3 event in Los Angeles in May to talk about the title and the first thing that was stated, and reiterated, was that the goal was to “bring fun back to real racing.” The team wanted to bring in “something brand new, innovate in a new way” and to “find the good bits and improve on the bad bits of what existed.” They thought the racing genre was inaccessible and wanted to improve on that and to address racer frustration. To that end the team brought licensed cars, real-world environments to the game, and are striving to make the game “less about technical precision.” They keyed on three words to sum up what they hope the experience with Blur is about – fun, intense (the whole experience is about trading paint, they stated) and inclusive (not geared for the nice racing gamer).
The game itself centers on the racing scene and friendly competitive racing (well, friendly if you don’t mind the bumping that will go on, and the power-ups that can be activated and turn a race upside down quickly; it was pointed out that the power-ups augment the racing and won’t win a race for the gamer). There are no illegal street gangs, nor are there police chases through the streets.
There will be up to 20 cars on a track, and there is a full storyline that is delivered through an in-game social network that basically centers on text messaging. The cars will run the gamut from sports cars to off-road vehicles. The online mode will feature up to 20 competitors, while multiplayer offline will sport up to four players in a split-screen format.
Players will be able to create custom groups, which will help define the race mode. And the storyline will take players all over the world.
The live demo showed a game that
looked very solid with a few arcade touches (mostly in terms of the power-ups)
but solid physics. Current plans call for a fall release for the game.