Overdrive is a high-octane street crime movie, set in modern day San Francisco. The film is presented as a retro homage to 70's style action movies, with tough, hip characters and an unquenchable thirst for vehicular carnage. Our hero is Stone, a loose cannon cop determined to sweep the city clean of the drug dealer Varga and his new designer drug Gristle. Stone's crusade against Varga turns the once peaceful city into a warzone of high-speed chases and running gunfights. In the end Stone stands alone against Varga, mano-a-mano, machine vs. machine in a deadly duel to control the city.

The six scenes that make up Overdrive are directly inspired by the thrills of classic urban crime dramas; desperate men on desperate missions smashing their way though a dense urban environment at breakneck speeds. The film is a mash up of gritty 70's action and modern high tech vehicles, setting the player loose in a world of old-school car chases amped up with all the crazy stunts and high-end pyrotechnics we've learned to expect from 21st century Hollywood. In "Kill Stone" for example, the player flees through the city avoiding heavily armed drug dealers while dodging barrages of rocket fire from attack 'copters piloted by Varga's men. The resultant maelstrom of exploding cars, automatic weapons fire and collateral damage creates excellent opportunities for over the top stunts and sustains a constant high level of excitement.

The city's complex urban environment presented significant technical and game balancing challenges as well. The sheer density of terrain - particularly when combined with large numbers of active vehicles and characters - complicated level flow and put a heavy strain on our framerate. A balance had to be found for both gameplay and technical reasons. Too few vehicles, props and characters and the environment felt unrealistic and uninteresting. Too many and the scenes became crowded, snarling the player's path and creating problem areas where a single mistake would bring him to a dead stop. Thankfully, early focus testing had revealed that frequent dead stops were one of the most frustrating things for players to deal with. As a result we thinned out the traffic in the levels, made more obstacles breakable and generally removed elements that interrupted gameplay. Additionally we pushed hard to optimize the art assets and find technical solutions that would allow us to keep the environment richly populated while maintaining a steady framerate. This sort of problem solving is an excellent example of close coordination required between art, design and engineering when working on a complex project of this nature.

In the end, Overdrive has emerged as one of our most successful environments, combining dense, challenging gameplay with spectacular visuals, excellent pacing and a hip retro vibe.

Two men stand, one man falls....Overdrive.

Director Biography - Robert Rodino

Although rather young, Robert Rodino, the director of Overdrive has rocketed to the top of the Hollywood elite in only a few short years. His first two movies blew the doors off of the box office and built a huge popular following by combining his unique taste for retro cool with a gratuitous "anything-goes" approach to over the top violence. Controversial and widely disliked within the industry, Rodino nevertheless is regarded as one of few true "superstar" directors and is often more widely recognized than the stars of his own top-grossing movies.

On the set Rodino is known to be an unpredictable tyrant, frequently breaking off into incoherent 30 minute rants about everything from failed stunts to bad catering. Ill-tempered and irritable as he might be, Rodino is committed and passionate about his film. Perform well for him and you're golden, but screw up and you may never stop hearing about it.

Designer Blog Entries:

Kill Stone:

In this scene Stone has been spotted while attempting to tail one of Varga's trusted lieutenants. Gang members in SUV's pursue Stone through the city while rocket armed attack 'copters move into position to deal the blow that will finally kill Stone.

As you start off you'll immediately veer left to pass through the explosion and to the left of the oncoming semi. Follow the arrows around to the right and set yourself up for a 90-degre drift right. Smash through the glass into the convention center then take the jump, smashing back out the other window while heading slightly right. Pass close to the SUV then gun it down the street so you can get maximum points from the timegate and reach the drift stunt before getting pinched between the two trolley cars. Try not to use the e-brake for that drift or you may slow down too much and get smashed between the two trolleys. You'll pass through gunfire hit a gap and pass through another explosion before you turn right. Try to turn in the middle of the street to set yourself up for a "pass close" to a car and then throw a quick 90 into the first alley on the left. Here you'll be stopped halfway by oncoming SUV's firing SMGs at you. Stop in the indicated zone and backup into the intersection, where you'll need to pull a reverse 180. Don't use your e-brake for the reverse 180, just gun it in reverse and throw the stick to one side to begin the reverse 180. Let go of reverse and slam the stick the other way while throttling it hard to finish the 180 and end up facing the opposite alley. This stunt is a bit tricky, so don't be surprised if it takes you a couple of tries to get it right. Do it fast enough and you'll pick up some extra points from a timegate in the alley.

You'll wind your way back around through the streets for a bit, until you turn left into Chinatown. Here you'll need to hurry to reach an explosion stunt ahead of you then move to the right side to set yourself up for a big jump through some signs along the wall to the right. Try to keep parallel with the wall, if you bump it while jumping you may roll the car and lose precious time. You'll wind your way through some more alleys and take a jump over cross traffic before turning left back out onto the main streets. Drift right to avoid the ignited semi-tanker sliding towards you and accelerate straight toward the action button stunt in front of you as the enemy copter drops down for a final shot. Hit the action button to trigger nitro once you reach the action zone. It'll slam you forward, smashing another car up and into the enemy copter, eliminating it once and for all.


At the end of the film, Stone has recovered Vargas' baby, a custom sports car in which the drug dealer has stashed important evidence that'll seal the trial against him. Stone is ambushed by Varga and the surviving members of his gang, desperate to eliminate him before the evidence is brought to trial. It's sports car vs. attack copter in a final duel to the death.

You'll start out in reverse as the attack copter closes in. Reverse quickly under the semi and then pull a reverse 180 and accelerate down the street. You'll drift left and then follow the arrows to pass under another semi and through the pillared area. Accelerate through the explosion and hit your action button to activate nitro and take a huge jump over another flatbed semi and down the hill. You'll need to drift left at the bottom of the hill, so be ready. In this car you'll probably want to use your e-brake to break your tires free and drift effectively. Take a bump and then drift left into the alley. Weave between the oncoming gang SUVs and then turn follow the arrows left as you pass through the explosion at the end of the alley. You'll follow the arrows around to the right and pass under another semi, head down the hill and overtake a trolley. Drift right in front of the stadium and then accelerate through the timegate as the attack copter shoots a tower that falls in front of you. Jump through the ruins of the tower as it falls and then drift right out of the parking lot. You'll find yourself headed for a series of jumps. Line yourself up and keep on the throttle, you'll need it for this sequence. Hit the first jump onto the parking garage and keep on the gas, hit the second jump to the next roof and try to aim for the center of the last ramp. Hit that last ramp and launch yourself into Varga's copter, bringing it down in a crashing ruin. Lining up the jumps and actually hitting the copter can be challenging, but don't get discouraged; it's all worth it to bring Varga down in the end.