This week gamers are still primarily reeling from Sony’s press conference to announce the PlayStation 4. There will always be hype surrounding new gaming platforms, especially ones to usher in the next-generation of gaming. More importantly though, gamers will always be focused on the games themselves rather than the specifications or the peripheral gimmicks that companies tend to flock to nowadays. In that regard, Sony only showed a handful of games, no doubt leaving room for more announcements come bigger trade shows like E3. Nevertheless, a stand out exclusive title from the recent Sony press conference was no doubt DriveClub.
Whilst a new Gran Turismo game would have probably helped sell the PS4 like hotcakes, in absence of that game, DriveClub seems like a great alternative. The racing game market is a rather niche market, so for starters, the average racing fan will require more than just Gran Turismo to satiate their gaming needs. This is where DriveClub could be the perfect appetizer. Adding a touch of realism to the game, akin to Gran Turismo, will undoubtedly attract GT fans too. Many fans will love the care and precision that seems to have gone into making the cars on display and perhaps even the tracks used (tracks haven’t been explicitly stated yet).
One of the most important things that DriveClub must get right is the kind of racer it wants to be. It shouldn’t really be competing with GT to be a racing simulator. GT has that category pretty much sewn up especially on the Playstation. DriveClub will thus need to find its own feet, consensus being that the game should be a hybrid arcade-simulator racing game, reminiscent of Project Gotham Racing. By providing a different approach to racing whilst still maintaining realism in car detail, DriveClub has the ability to be a sleeper hit for the PS4.
Integrating the online well within the game will also be significant to the game’s success. The creators of DriveClub have already announced their plans to create something akin to a team sport, where players join teams in order to tackle objectives and essentially to become the best drivers in the world. It’s a fairly decent concept, and together with the PS4’s improved social component, could be a very addicting mechanic. Many recent driving games have included various social online components in their games, making it kind of generic in the eyes of those outside looking in however, as it looks to have become the norm, a lot of driving fans will most likely expect it within driving games nowadays.
Another feature lauded by the creators of DriveClub is their first-person perspective notion. The idea basically being that you the gamer are thrust into the game world and find yourself admiring the cars as if you were right there. To be honest, these would seem like a great feature to have alongside something like Oculus Rift, but perhaps this could be another great feature of the game regardless. Games don’t always have to be action oriented. There will always be down time where you just want to relax and maybe look at some stats without actually racing. This just allows gamers another option when they are tired of racing constantly. It hasn’t been stated whether the first-person perspective will be forced during driving as well, which would be an interesting if polarising feature if true. That remains to be seen though.
Either way, DriveClub looks to be shaping up as one of the better looking and more involved next-gen titles for the PS4. It may only interest a niche market, but if it pulls itself together well, that niche market could be as big as Gran Turismo’s.