RACE Pro on the table
RACE Pro, from SimBin and Atari, is the latest racing title to be making an assault on the ever-competitive racing genre - and its developers clearly have confidence in their new opus - given that it will be released as an Xbox 360 exclusive. We lured Diego Santori into a corner and quizzed him on this new foray.
Racing games have faired well on the Xbox 360 - do you watch the competition?
We do look at and play them, but we do no restrict competition to the racing genre, we think that any major title is competition.
Why is Race Pro a 360 exclusive?
SimBin is an independent developer and therefore there are limitations to the risks and tasks we can take on. Taking on the console market is a big task so it was decided to start with the Xbox 360.
What can you tell us about your physics engine, Lizard, and its impact on gameplay?
In terms of tech I think there is very little I can say that would make much sense to the gamer, but in terms of gameplay I think it is more about how we do things at SimBin that will have an impact on the players experience with the game. We have a good relationship to teams and drivers in many different race classes and many of the guys in management and production at SimBin have a background in and around real racing, that is what impacts the most on our games, we know the real thing and we try push the limits of how much of the real thing we can put in our games while still having both average, new or highly skilled gamers enjoy the experience.
A realistic simulation is promised of Race Pro - to what lengths will the realism go?
There is a very long short version of the long answer to this question, confused? Picture your self in one of those mix-it-yourself candy stores that has hundreds of individual and different pieces of candy, your task is to create the "perfect" bag of candy with only 15 different types of candy. It does not matter what types of candy you choose to use, once they are in a bag that bag has become a bag of candy, but the appeal of it might vary a lot depending on what candy is in it. We can simulate anything we want, our challenge is to choose what elements to simulate and to what degree we want to take the simulation, with RACE Pro we have accessible realism as the keyword and we have things as accurate to real life as we can have them with this keyword in mind.
Are you taking measures to assist those gamers not 'hardcore' enough for a true 'sim' title?
Accessible realism is key to SimBin and we have used this approach for some of our PC titles as well, what this means is that we want the player to be able to make the game as much of a simulation as the player is ready for; this goes for the strength of the competition in the game to the purity of the drive the player experiences. RACE Pro features driving aids able to harness even the most powerful cars in the game, these aids can be taken off gradually so that the player can approach the challenges of the cars step by step. RACE Pro will suit the average gamer and the hardcore gamer while at the same time allow for the players completely new to racing games to grow with the game and themselves become average or hardcore gamers.
Which racing disciplines are represented, and how many vehicles will be offered?
RACE Pro features 48 different car models presented in more than 300 different variations. All racing is circuit racing on real race tracks, RACE pro features production cars, production race cars, formula cars, GT cars, sports cars and prototype race cars; if you like race cars you will find a car for you in the game.
What tracks will be offered, and which is your favourite?
When the game ships it will feature 13 FIA sanctioned tracks from all over the world, some are permanent circuits and some are temporary city circuits that are only in use when there is a race in that city. In RACE Pro you will find tracks like Brands Hatch, Zandvoort, Laguna Seca, Valencia, Monza and Macau. I do not have a favorite track as such but I must admit that I love the thrill of driving around Macau, the mix of fast and slow corners as well as the mix of wide and narrow passages makes each lap interesting and challenging.
How important is handling in Race Pro?
Handling is everything in a racing game, we think it should be at least. But handling is not just car physics related, handling and the perception of how well a car handles in a game is a mix of car physics, car setup, camera calibration and controls. RACE Pro comes with what we think is the default settings we could offer, but the game allows the player to tweak controls as well as car setup to make the game suit them even better.
Will the game head to other formats in the future?
The only thing I can say about the future at this point is that it will be an interesting one.
What can you tell us about online play?
RACE Pro supports 12 players on Xbox Live or when using System Link, there is support for ranked and unranked races and the host can set the game up to suit the challenge level wished for by the host.
Lastly, what do you believe sets Race Pro apart from a crowded genre?
I think that what sets RACE pro apart from other racing games is the SimBin way of doing racing games; it is the individual pieces of candy that we choose to put in our candy bag. All developers and publishers have their own take on what makes for a good racing game and we have ours, now we just hope that you all share our taste of candy, if you will!
Thanks for your time, Diego.