To celebrate the upcoming release of Evolution Studio‘s Motorstorm: Apocalypse on the PlayStation 3, GameSpot Australia in conjunction with Sony Australia held an exclusive Motostorm Apocalypse Preview Event in Sydney (March 9th) and Melbourne (March 10th).
35 invites were made available and I was lucky enough to receive one for myself and a guest. Naturally I took my brother since we both share a passion for gaming. Filled with anticipation we made our way to Element Lounge. Being a first time for us to attend an event like this, we made sure not to be late.
The event was scheduled to start at 7pm but we ended up arriving early which left us at the front of the queue. More and more guests appeared as the time grew near and once we were allowed in, we made our way down the stairs where we were greeted by a huge Motorstorm: Apocalypse display banner.
By this point my heart was racing with excitement. I turned the corner to find multiple PlayStation 3 set up with Sony 3D Bravia televisions with Motorstorm: Apocalypse already running.
A huge projector screen occupied a section next to the bar with Motorstorm: Apocalypse plastered on it. Motorstorm posters lined the walls with a large decal logo affixed to the floor.
Being one of the first people inside, we were greeted by warm staff at the Element Lounge who offered us a drink and nibblies. I had a quick sip and went straight for a controller. A Sony Representative came over and explained how the full stereoscopic 3D worked (stereoscopic 3D was also a first for me).
We were told that 3D gameplay did not work on split screen or multi-player mode in Motorstorm: Apocalypse due to the limitation of 3D technology. Stereoscopic 3D blends multiple images together to create the illusion of 3D. Running multi-screen gameplay is like trying to blend double the 3D images (or more) together which at this point in time is just not technologically possible.
With that in mind, I put on my 3D glasses and watched as my brother tried single-player mode in 3D. The visuals were stunning and breath-takingly beautiful. Motorstorm: Apocalypse was developed to incorporate 3D technology and you could realy feel the attention to detail that went into 3D component of the game.
The water effects that splashed up onto the screen took me by surprise, vivid with such realism. I couldn’t contain myself and let out an embarassing ‘whooo!‘. The huge jumps that propelled the vehicle into the air really gave a sense of depth and distance. Similar to the kind of feeling you get looking over the edge of a bridge, only more… well… over the top.
The post-apocalyptic theme introduced in Motorstorm: Apocalypse added a new dimension to the gameplay where natural disasters affected the landscape in real-time causing new paths to open up and old paths to close. During my hands-on time with Motorstorm: Apocalypse, I experienced twisting cyclones, sinking roads, crumbling bridges and buildings collapsing right in front of my very eyes.
I passed over the controller to other guests so they could experience the game while I had a quick bite to eat. After everyone had been given a chance to aquint themselves with Motorstorm: Apocalypse, we were introduced to the special guests of the evening – Assistant Game Director and Lead Producer, Simon Barlow, along with Development Manager and Programmer, Nadia Ankrah of Evolution Studios.
Simon Barlow gave a detailed presentation on the development of Motorstorm: Apocalypse showing prototype and demonstration videos that were used to pitch the game during early stages of development (for the original Motorstorm and Motorstorm: Apocalypse), concept art, a preview of an advertisement that will be used to promote Motorstorm: Apocalypse and highlighted why certain design decisions were made. Informative and entertaining, he gave a real insight into the amount of work that goes into creating a game of such high calibre.
After the presentation there was a short Q&A session. Questions that were answered:
- New Zealand will be receiving Motorstorm: Apocalypse, it has not been cancelled. It has been delayed due to the unfortunate event in Christchurch and will be released at a later date.
- The soundtrack will feature new remixed tracks that dynamically change as you race depending on the circuit and events taking place. Being able to select your own customisable music tracks will also make a return.
- Motorstorm: Apocalypse will feature both a chaos engine and pre-determined events occuring during a race. A strictly chaos engine approach did not work well during testing as races could be lost in the last crucial seconds that would infuriate players.
- A Track Editor will be added at a later date. Evolution Studios are still working on ironing out the bugs and producing an interface that is easy to use.
Once the Q&A’s were over we resumed gameplay. I had a crack at single player campaign mode while I noticed others trying out multi-player mode in standard 2D.
Motorstorm: Apocalypse features the artwork of Jonboy Meyers who I remember fondly as the artist behind one of my favourite World of Warcraft: TCG cards, Zy’lah Manslayer. His artwork and character designs are used to progress the story forward in campaign mode.
Completing a race and coming in first is a satisfying experience, especially when it is a come-from-behind victory. The spectacle of a high-speed crash is just as enjoyable, if not more fun.
We tried a race with another attendee and simply crashed into buildings just to watch our motorcyclist come flying off like a ragdoll, pure gold.
Time quickly flew by and soon enough this fun-filled evening drew to a close. We were handed large Motorstorm: Apocalypse posters on the way out as a momento of our experience.
The only lowlight of the evening was returning to the car to find that the parking garage had already closed. We found our way inside, paid off a staggering $42 parking fee before returning home.
Before attending the Motorstorm: Apocalypse Preview Event, I had my reservations about this upcoming title. After spending the few hours trying it out, I’ve been turned into a Motorstorm fan once more. I’ll be going back to the older titles to revisit the series before this new title launches next week (I have my pre-order placed).
Special thanks goes to GameSpot Australia and Sony Australia for organising such a well put together red carpet event. I would also like to give thanks to Simon Barlow and Nadia Ankrah for attending the event, especially with their busy schedule and GDC that just passed.
This event was actually the first of its type in Melbourne and I hope it won’t be the last. Truly an experience to remember.