Ubisoft has a string of titles set to launch alongside the 3DS, but Driver Renegade will arrive later in the year. We spoke to Ubisoft senior producer Nouredine Abboud about the new game, its features and the Driver brand.
Q: With a Metacritic average of 40, DRIV3R is widely considered to be one of the worst games of the last generation. Do you think the association with DRIV3R will affect consumer interest in Driver 3D?
Nouredine Abboud: The 3DS is a new console, Driver Renegade 3D a new game, so hopefully people will have their interest driven by the game, not its predecessor.
Q: What will Driver 3D do that makes it stand out in one of the most saturated genres in gaming?
NA: I do not know of so many Driving games in 3D. Also, Driver Renegade is really about driving aggressively. The setting (a dark NY), the story (a crusade against the crime lords), the destruction gameplay make it a unique Driving experience.
Q: Can you explain the 'Rage' meter shown in some of the screenshots?
NA: It's a good example of how the whole game is about this offensive driving. Tanner is in a rage state and the more you drive in a crazy way, the more the rage meter fills up. Once it's full it increases the damage you can do, the damage you can take, the speed you go...
Q: Driver 3D has an interesting art style. What influenced this?
NA: We wanted to convey a dark and broody atmosphere and at the same time be coherent with a dynamic driving feeling, and this is where we got. Also, we've decided to use 2D graphs for the cinematics because we thought that we would be able to create really unique cinematics that would leverage the different drawn layers shown in 3D. It's like a living comic book where the different elements show up with a feeling of depth...if you think the art is nice, on the console you'll like it even more!
Q: We've not heard much about the game since its announcement. Should we take this as a bad sign?
NA: Since the game is on a new console we had a different communication approach.
Q: Are you under any pressure to ship the game to retail as soon as possible so you can capitalise on the 3DS launch window?
NA: We've decided not to ship at day one, which shows that we're focusing on the game more than on the launch window.
Q: I played Ridge Racer 3D the other day and I found a 3D effect mixed with the racing genre a little uncomfortable after about 20-30 minutes of play. Will Driver 3D have a better implementation of 3D?
NA: We don't have comfort issues with the 3D when we play the game. And we hope we have a great implementation of the 3D. That said, we can't of course speak for all driving games on 3DS. What we can say is that yes, there is a limit to the time you should play in 3D in a row, something that Nintendo gives info about.
Q: Do you think 3D is a gimmick technology?
NA: Definitely not. In general we think that 3D in games brings a level of immersion that is quite exciting. Once you've driven in the 3D NY of Driver Renegade, it's difficult to go backward and drive in an open city in a non 3D game.
Q: If successful, could Driver also make its way to the NGP?
NA: Driver Renegade was built with the 3D in mind so this makes it quite console specific. However we develop games on all the consoles and Driver is a large brand!