CCC: Will the weather factor into the gameplay more than usual?
CP: Absolutely. Just when you think you've nailed a particular track, the game goes and makes it snow and you're constantly having to adjust your braking distance. It's so much fun which was really important from the start - we didn't want to end up with weather which players groaned at every time we used. We wanted players to get excited when we threw a thunderstorm at them, or nervous when the fog descends. Our scripting system allows us to change the severity of weather mid race, so as you race off the grid it might be overcast, but as you cross the line you could be in the middle of a thunderstorm. It's all very exciting.
CCC: Give us a general overview of the concept behind Project Gotham Racing 4. Where did you want to take the series as a whole?
CP: It's so very easy to attempt to throw out sequels these days, so from the very beginning we knew we had to go over and above to deliver a whole new experience. We really wanted to create something special, and the idea of capturing the excitement of the racing world stuck in our heads. The theme around PGR4 is the 'festival of speed' which you see with Formula 1, NASCAR or Touring Cars. We wanted players to feel immersed in an exciting world. Once we got the soul of the game in our heads the features followed suit, and our own brand of 'edge of your seat' racing was born.
CCC: Are there any new exotic locations?
CP: Of course! There are 5 new environments to race around, four of which are in cities brand new to the PGR series. These cities are St Petersburg, Macau, Shanghai, and Quebec. The fifth new location is a fictional Test Track, sponsored by Michelin. It's a Nascar-style oval, with lots of service roads and extra racing area in the middle. There's also a huge skid pan, which is a great place to go and burn some tyres to pieces. :)
Beyond this, the 5 previous PGR3 environments are also making a comeback (New York, Tokyo, London, Las Vegas, and the Nurburgring). They've been completely reworked to with our new "racification" layout, along with additions for the weather system.
CCC: Your games have quite a large reputation for excellence in the sound department. What can you say about this year's soundtrack?
CP: Well, we've tried to please again with PGR4's soundtrack. : There are a few big names on there, like Incubus and Lily Allen, but ultimately musical preferences come down to what an individual's tastes are. Hopefully we've got most bases covered though, as many genres feature again just like they did in PGR3.
CCC: Are there any new online modes this year?
CP: Yes, in PGR4 we've added quite a few new ways to play online. Firstly there is the party-based matchmaking system, similar to what Halo 2 did. You and your buddies can join up and never be separated again, no matter how many different game modes and races you move between. We've also got a redesigned Online Career section of the game, details of which we'll be unveiling soon.
CCC: Are there going to be cheat codes in the game? If so, what type of cheat codes will they be? Are there any hints or tricks you can divulge at this time?
CP: We don't have cheat codes, but we do have an unlockable photomode cheat which allows the user to take 3d screenshots! One of the coders put it in for a joke and we thought 'hang on, maybe people might get a kick out of this…' You'll need to rack up some Kudos to get it, but it's worth it :)
CCC: Which of the new vehicles is your favorite?
CP: Personally I love the Ducati 998. For me it's the embodiment of a true superbike - fast, sexy, stylish, and it makes one heck of a noise to boot.