E3 2013 Preview: Mad Max brings open-world car combat to PS4, Xbox One

With my time at Warner Bros. booth at E3 2013, one of the game I had the pleasure of seeing was Mad Max, a new game from Avalanche Studios. As you may know, a new Mad Max movie is currently filming — set to release in 2014 — so a game to invigorate its target audience isn't a bad idea.

The problem that oftentimes plagues movie tie-ins is that they horrible. The latest example is Star Trek, which I was hyped for and just left a "blah" taste in my mouth. Luckily, it seems Avalanche Studios has a firm grasp of what a Mad Max game should be. Mad Max features an original story for the game, which is completely open world with some fast, over-the-top car combat — with some hand-to-hand combat as well.

Now while I didn't get to play the game — no one did — I did get to see about 10 minutes of gameplay. First off, Mad Max has lost Interceptor, his car. If anyone knows Mad Max, you'll know that vehicles are everything — without them, you're dog food. Now, Max has another car, I assume in an effort to get Interceptor back.


Most of the game revolves around upgrading your car — Magnumopus, which has your mechanic Chumbucket in the back — from parts that you scavenge. Doing so will upgarde your car enough to progress to other areas of the map. For instance, in the gameplay we saw, the goal was to tear down a gate in order to get to a town where there's an abundance of gas. When we scouted the gate from afar via binoculars, the gate was flashing red, indicating that our car wasn't good enough to break through.

It's an E3 demo, so John Fuller from Avalanche Studios cheated a bit, upgrading the car without the necessary salvage. Enter customization, and viola! We have a barricade-destroying shovel on the front of our car. Needless to say, the barricade was soon gone and the demo was over.

I left out a few things, like car combat, melee combat and the world itself, which I'll cover now. As far as customization to Magnumopus is concerned, you choose what upgrades you want, created a unique war machine like no one else's. You choose what to scavenge, and what to do with it. Traveling around the huge open world map (one of three different maps in the game)? You can take roads or rough the mountainous terrain. If you want to do the latter, you'll need upgrades, like better tires and nice suspension. However, every upgrade changes the drivability of the car. So that barricade breaker we put on the front of our car, we had to balance out the negatives of it with better tires and an upgrade to the engine.


As far as car combat, it's over-the-top. There's crazy car physics, orgasmic visuals and particle effects, and tons of random encounters. We saw the devs use a harpoon gun to take off the wheel of an enemy vehicle, which caused it to go off, hit a dune, and flip. It was awesome watching enemies jump on the car, only to have Max lean out the window and blow their head off with a shotgun. When all is said and done, exit the vehicle and get your loot. But beware, burning vehicles will attract more attention — namely the attention of enemies.

With melee combat, there are times when Max will have to get his hands dirty. For combat, Max can use fists, knives, a shotgun and Thunderstick. We saw Max take out enemies with each of them, and then snipe enemies from the back of Magnumopus. It was pretty sweet.

Now there were some instance of Max's body parts going through an enemy he was fighting. And with the ragdoll physics, we had an enemy's body get caught on our car, but Avalanche has plenty of time to fix those issues. For now, it's a nice next-gen title that'll provide some really fun car combat in an open-world environment.

Mad Max will release on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and also on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. There is no release date announced yet.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com