It is often said that other than exclusives, the thing that can most help a console to sell units is a driving game. This is down to the fact that the nature of the driving genre, in which the visual of cars and locations are boasted in equal measure to the actual gameplay, allows a new platform to showcase impressive graphics with a picturesque track reflecting off its bonnet as it convinces us to love it.
PS4 game DriveClub was both of these things — a racing game and a console exclusive — when Sony announced it back in 2013 alongside the console reveal, telling everybody that it would be ready in time for the PS4’s launch. Except it wasn’t, and months of delays has seen DriveClub pushed back a year in order to let Evolution Studios work on its faults and come back with an even more impressive title than they started with.
To make matters worse, the terms and conditions behind DriveClub’s PlayStation plus offer were recently poorly explained/adjusted by Sony, causing controversy to interested players. So, with an updated statement and a plethora of videos explaining the game’s features, Sony finally set the record straight about all of the things that made us love the game in the first place. And better yet, they reverted their odd subscription requirement for players who purchased the premiere version of the game.
In the new video (above) Sony clearly reiterates the fact that in getting the PS+ edition of DriveClub (which comes with just one location and 10 cars) for free as part of your PS Plus subscription and then paying an additional $50 for the full game upgrade (five locations, over 50 cars), you are only entitled to it for as long as your subscription is active – meaning that defaulting on a payment for one month or ending your subscription results in you losing access to the game until you pick that sub back up.
That obviously resulted in backlash from gamers suggesting that Sony’s model is about as Neanderthalic as the animated characters in the above featurette, so Sony have quickly reversed this, announcing that once you upgrade the game from DriveClub PS+ Edition to DriveClub with all of its nuts and bolts, the game is yours to keep.
While the negative feedback to that aspect of DriveClub saw it swiftly chucked in the bin (a win for gamers!), other vital features to the Evolution-developed game received a huge wave of support, leading Sony to explain the community and challenge aspects of the rubber-burning title in two additional videos. First to be explained is the DriveClub community, which quite literally puts the ‘club’ into the game’s fitting title.
A club in DriveClub sees players embrace the competitive aspect of racing games with large teams that you can pick and choose to race alongside. The plan is to boost fun by way of competitiveness but in most normal games a player’s experience of this is going to be soured if they are about as good as handling a car as an inebriated honey badger, so DriveClub will allow races to be a combined effort, meaning that even if someone only excels at one aspect of a race (straights, for example) then their fellow players can do what they can to drift around corners to make up for it.
DriveClub’s developer even says that half your team could come last and in theory, if they’d managed to hold their own during the various stages of the track then no matter whether your wheels pip the other drivers across the checkered paint or not, you’ll still get the trophy at the end of the day. What’s more is that that trophies you win will be shared across your club too, making the need for teamwork as opposed to unfair selfishness another key aspect of the PS4 exclusive title.
Furthermore, challenges were the next things in DriveClub to get the trailer treatment. In the third video, Evolution says that challenges are a key way of boosting your rank in the game as you can set up club rivals by consistently sending off challenges to opposing teams. Challenges can be put together by choosing a track, race type and even the car that you want them to compete in so if you’re only good at drifting around corners in a Nissan in that one track in India then you can constantly challenge people to that as you so wish.
Players can also expect their challenges to go somewhat ‘viral’ too as sending a challenge to a club gives them the incentive to send that to other players and clubs to test their mettle and soon a club could see that the innocent challenge that they started has turned into a global battle, which is exactly the point – large scale gameplay is what Sony and Evolution are hoping will see DriveClub do well when it is (finally) released later this year.
DriveClub will be out on October 7, 2014 exclusively for PS4.