Drive!Drive!Drive! is an upcoming racer with a difference – you’ll need to manage multiple cars on different tracks! We spoke to Gordon Midwood from Different Cloth to find out more.
Hello Gordon, thanks for talking with us! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Different Cloth, and how you got into developing games?
Hello, a pleasure for sure. I would certainly be happy to talk about myself for a few hours / days, no problem! My name is gordon, I like to spell it with a lowercase g, and I got into developing games via a love for them and the onset of browser based games technology (i.e. Flash) around the turn of the millennium (i.e. in 2000). I used to work in advertising, for which I apologise, but I always had a passion for games so I would create side projects in my spare time and stick them up on the web somewhere. When the iPhone arrived I started Different Cloth as an (almost) proper company & made a rhythm game called lilt line which did pretty well critically but disastrously commercially. That gave me a taste of things to come and I wanted more!
In 2010 I managed to secure funding to work with Ronzo to create the world’s very first underwater paper craft game with a dopey shark called Derrick in it, namely Derrick the Deathfin. That game came out on PS3, PC, Mac & Linux in 2012/3 and we were very happy with it – mainly because it’s pretty good.
After that I attempted and failed to get a Kickstarter off the ground for a sequel to lilt line, and thereafter I decided to dedicate myself to the most ridiculous game possible that I had in my little notebook of ideas: Drive!Drive!Drive!
Drive!Drive!Drive! is your current project, and is certainly very ambitious! Can you explain a little more about what gamers can expect?
Drive!Drive!Drive! is a driving game where you have to race multiple tracks at the same time. I tend to describe it as a mixture between arcade racing and track management, in that you have to hop between a number of tracks (up to 6!) to manage the races in order to position as high as you can. You control one race at a time, and while you do so the (incompetent) AI takes over the other ones for you…
What games have been the driving force behind the game? What inspired you to go for the multiple track mechanic?
The 2 things that really inspired me to create the game were playing Hot Wheels track sets with my kids and the ancient but thoroughly excellent racing game Stunt Car Racer. The multiple track mechanic is something that came to me in a dream I think, I woke up with the idea in any case. I considered it to be an excellent but inherently tricky game to make, so I stuck it in my secret game idea place for later use!
What racing/driving titles have been your favourites over the years? Are there any mechanics from those that you would like to bring into Drive!Drive!Drive!?
I’ve always loved WipeOut, in particular zone mode for the visuals and the feels. I might try to emulate that somehow. Burnout 3 will always stand out for me as a perfect example of fast paced arcade racing too. So I will try and put a bit of that in the game. Lastly Stunt Car Racer was an incredible impossible tracks in the sky type of racer, which I’m already copying a bit!
Is there anything new (or exclusive) that you can share with us about Drive!Drive!Drive!?
Sure, well the racing can actually take place on up to 6 tracks, which is something many seem to have missed, and at the very heart of the game is a track creator. And multiplayer! Which I am working on right now actually.
How has the early response to Drive!Drive!Drive! been?
It has been incredible! Back in February I released a teaser trailer of the game, before which time I had no idea if anybody would pay any attention to the game at all – or indeed whether I could secure funding to make it. Happily people seemed to love the look, the vibe, the music & the original gameplay concept – I guess driving is a genre that has been crying out for some innovation for a while now. I was inundated with meeting requests from publishers, platform holders etc – perfect 😀
The fact that I was able to tie up a deal with my very best friends in the industry, Choice Provisions is like a dream come true for me.
As the game is still in development, are there any ideas that haven’t yet been announced that you’d like to implement?
Well multiplayer is one! There will be many different vehicles too, with customisation options planned. Then there are the different game modes: time trials over multiple tracks – imagine having to race 6 ghosts at once! – and there is an endless mode planned too (think OutRun style checkpoints over multiple tracks). In short the answer to your question is yes, lots! We are still early in development and have lots planned.
Speaking of Multiplayer, what modes are you currently thinking of? And how will the mechanic work with the tracks – will the AI still take over?
This is currently in live development, so I can’t really answer definitively but we do hope for a few multiplayer modes. The one we are working on currently still has AI on the tracks you are not racing indeed, it kind of adds to the tactics – if you can mess up your multiplayer opponents AI you can be reasonably sure they’ll be less capable of recovery, thus forcing opponents to have to switch tracks to deal with it, leaving them vulnerable on the track they’ve just left… Hopefully a pleasant kind of mania will ensue!
The game is also coming to the PS4. Will there be any notable differences between the versions? Are you considering any of cross save/buy/play?
Hopefully there will be very little difference between the 2 versions, certainly it is planned that they both have the same functionality, gameplay and options – and yes we hope to have the game cross everything but we’ll see!
What made you want to develop the game for the Vita? How are you finding developing for the handheld?
I personally love my Vita & love playing games on it, it’s such a great little console, so in all honesty that’s the main reason. Secondarily the ease with which you can develop on both Vita and PS4 makes it very attractive. So far I am loving it, it will be my first Vita game so I’m stoked!
Drive!Drive!Drive!’s soundtrack is being produced by the “synth/prog/post-rock band” Zombie. How did that collaboration come about?
Oooh yes, and they have a new album coming out in October, and it is absolutely excellent – their best yet IMO. I have long been a fan of their music – stretching back 10 years or so – and when I was thinking about what kind of soundtrack would suit Drive!Drive!Drive! I immediately thought of Zombi. After emailing and tweeting the band they loved the idea, so we quickly sorted out the details – it was very easy, and I am very excited to have such ace and different music in the game!
Do you and Zombi have plans to release the soundtrack either alongside the release or separately?
No plans at the moment – all tracks from the game are commercially available already (or will be when the game comes out). Not that we’re ruling it out…
What Vita games do you look at as a developer and consider a benchmark? As a fan, what would you like to see come?
One of my absolute favourite Vita games has to be Rayman Origins, I love the visuals and the levels have a beautiful, almost musical flow to them. I am also a big fan of Tearaway, as a fellow paper craft game creator I know how tough that can be – such a gorgeous game. Of the indie titles on Vita I would have to give Sound Shapes a mention too, love its musical approach to creation.
As a fan on Vita what I would absolutely like to see is more games of all kinds, ideally more specifically developed for it too.
This is you first project as Different Cloth, but it isn’t your first game – most notably you previously released the PS3 title Derrick the Deathfin under the guise of Different Tuna. Has that boat sailed for you, or would you consider a Vita port of Derrick the Deathfin?
Actually Drive!³ is my second commercial game as Different Cloth, the first being lilt line which came out on iOS and WiiWare. Derrick the Deathfin was produced as Different Tuna for regional funding reasons, essentially it was myself and Ronzo behind the game. And we love that game so much still! We would love to bring it to Vita for sure, we have been asked about doing that so many times, if someone were to fund it we would do it at the drop of a hat!
How big is the team at Different Cloth?
It is really just me! I tend to collaborate with different people on a project basis. On Drive!Drive!Drive! I am working with Clemens Scott from Broken Rules on the visuals, Ten24 for 3d modelling, Zombi for the music…
What would you say to any indie developer looking to bring their game to the Vita?
I would advise them to do it, as there is an enthusiastic and game-hungry audience on Vita who seem to dig cool & different stuff.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the Vita owners reading this?
1. Your path is one of righteousness
2. If you like new things & fun keep your eyes open for Drive!Drive!Drive! when it comes out next year!
We would like to thank gordon for his time with this interview and we certainly can’t wait to find out more about Drive!Drive!Drive! Stay tuned to TVL for more news and make sure you follow gordon on Twitter!
This interview first appeared in issue 6 of The Vita Lounge Magazine. Stay tuned for the magazine for more exclusive content!