To say that the Sony exclusive racing title DriveClub has had a rough road to launch would be to put it mildly. After an early debut alongside the PS4, the Evolution Studios-developed racer seemed poised to be one of the major showpieces for Sony’s (at the time) next-gen console. Then, news surrounding DriveClub dropped off, and the game was inevitably delayed outside of the PS4 launch window.
Since that time a lot has also changed internally, with the DriveClub team losing its Game Director Col Rodgers, and speculation the game had been cancelled building every month. But, as we now know, DriveClub has not been cancelled; in fact, it has a new release date of October 7th.
Still, what happened? Why was DriveClub delayed for over a year? New Game Director Paul Rustchynsky has provided Game Informer with an answer.
“It was primarily just one feature, what we call our dynamic menu. The dynamic menu is kind of the portal into DriveClub. It kind of acts like a social network. Not on the scale of Facebook, but similar to that. We need to make sure that all the connectivity that surrounds the game, whether it be joining clubs or sending challenges, or even interacting with the iOS and Android DriveClub apps — that had to be slick. That had to be absolutely seamless, and that was the one area we needed to put extra time into.”
As Rustchynsky explains, the DriveClub delay ultimately came down to one key element: the menu. With DriveClub, Evolution Studios is hoping to craft an interconnected experience that extends beyond the game itself. That means app management, Facebook integration, and any number of outside factors needed to work seamlessly with the in-game menu. Unfortunately, as DriveClub was nearing its November 2013 launch date, it appeared that the menu simply wasn’t there.
“What we originally had was something that was not necessarily as smooth, or the transitions or the way it connected you or other players weren’t as intuitive as we intended them to be. So we had to go back and re-look at those areas, and kind of look at different ways and new techniques to get people to socially connect.”
It clearly took some time to get right, but now DriveClub‘s menu is apparently where Evolution wants it to be. More importantly, the developer has used the mean time to polish some of the game’s other features, like the cars and the tracks, to ensure that gamers get a better overall product.
It may seem strange that a developer would delay a game for a full year all to fix a menu, but that is apparently the case with DriveClub. Luckily, Evolution used that extra time wisely and made improvements to the whole of the game, which should help DriveClub‘s case as a must-play PS4 title.
In addition to revealing the reason for the delay, Rustchynsky also talked (or actually didn’t talk) about DLC, which he says is something the team is discussing but they want to hear gamers’ thoughts on the initial release first. Also, in case anyone was wondering, DriveClub it still planning a free release, albeit a somewhat limited one, for PS Plus members.
How important are competent and user-friendly menus to you? Do you think that’s enough of a reason to delay a game for almost a year?
DriveClub releases October 7, 2014 for the PS4.
Source: Game Informer