SCEA president Shawn Layden has defended Evolution Studios for having “the ambition to try” new things with troubled PS4 racer DriveClub, despite the serious problems the game has faced since launch.
In an interview with IGN, Layden said that the connected nature of DriveClub meant that Sony just couldn’t “effectively test” the game’s real-world performance prior to release and “what it means to have 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 users hit your service”.
“[Evolution has] done innovations in the racing genre that even my good friend Kazunori [Yamauchi, Founder and President of Sony-owned Polyphony Digital] hasn’t replicated yet in [Gran Turismo], about deformation of the environment, of the cars, of that type of thing,” Layden told the site. “Their ambition with Driveclub was to create this uber-connected experience, melded with the driving experience…”
He continued: “In the development cycle, we try to do all things. In the development cycle, we try to test against every possibility. We have a [Quality Assurance] team, we have a QA plan. You do a beta test, you scope against that. But now, in a connected world, you can’t effectively test in your house or in your beta group what it means to have 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 users hit your service. And the guys [at the studio] are struggling with that. It’s throwing up things they had not anticipated.
“And I get reports from them every day on the progress that they’re making, and it is going forward. It is going slowly, but, you know, they tried to do the best, newest, greatest thing ever to happen in the driving genre and they hit a hiccup. I prefer people to have the ambition to try that, though. It’s no fun being safe all the time.”
DriveClub hit more than a “hiccup” when it went on sale last month, with its online infrastructure crumbling under the weight of users attempting to connect. It still isn’t fully fixed, with the DriveClub PS Plus Edition remaining postponed until further notice.
The problems were so severe that one law representative suggested that UK buyers may be entitled to return the game under the Sales of Goods Act.
By way of compensation, Evolution said that it would be giving all of November’s premium DLC away for free to those who bought the game.
A new update containing the game’s Photo Mode is due to launch later today.