Some time ago, I was struck by a realization: I couldn’t remember the last time I played through a car combat/racing game on the PC. In fact, if it weren’t for Interplay’s Carmageddon, I’d say that the genre barely existed on the platform (to my personal knowledge, at least). This is a void Gamepires is looking to fill with Gas Guzzlers, a combat racing game that allows players to pick from a large arsenal of weaponry to help blast their way to first place. We had the opportunity to speak with Creative Director Tomislav Pongrac and Technical Director Andrej Levenski about Gas Guzzlers’ development, from track design to car customization and its future appearance on Xbox Live.
It has been a good while since the PC saw a car combat game (Carmageddon immediately comes to mind). Why create a game like this?
Tomislav Pongrac: Exactly because of these reasons. When we were thinking about it good old Death Rally came over our mind first and also Carmageddon and we saw that for years nobody did not try to refurbish the genre with new title. The rest is history :)
I was immediately struck with how great the cars and tracks look. As most car combat-related games stick with a stylized visual design, was there a reason you decided to go with such a strong emphasis on realism?
TP: well the technology and the tools quality evolved substantially since the titles we have mentioned above appeared on the market. And the classical simulations such as NFS, Dirt etc. also went from that path to a more realistic and destructive games. As our team is experienced and has the highest possible qualities in graphical design it was really logical to offer to the players best possible visuals.
The public beta offers two distinct tracks. How many are you looking to add for the game’s release?
Andrej Levenski: There will be 32 tracks in total combined with 13 cars which will surely be enough even for the biggest fans.
This ties into the last question: are you thinking ahead and planning to support the game with new tracks post launch?
AL: We are planning to publish an PC expansion combined with XBLA version of the game so you can expect in 8-10 months whole lot of new stuff for our fans. Also we will continue supporting the game through patches after the release by adding new maps, multiplayer modes, cars…etc.
Would you mind explaining the process that goes into designing maps?
TP: We have tested numerous games on the market, especially those similar to our title. Our goal was to reach driving feeling like from the Flatout serial but modify the tracks to adopt them to usage of weapons. That is why decided to build tracks with more curves so the cars could easy hide but also we have put a lot of flat parts so the battle could develop. The very concept is much different than those in classic simulations full of long wide tracks which make players more vulnerable. We have rather chosen death match circular tracks to emphasize the action.
According to the Gas Guzzlers website, the full game will have a single and multiplayer component. Could you give us a little insight on the single player mode? Will it have an overarching story or is it just a series of races?
TP: Single player will have fully developed campaign where you will start with certain amount of money and you will be able to buy a car in the lowest category, initial weapon etc. The rest is completely upon player as he starts with a low-performance vehicle and gradually works his way up by earning money in a series of challenging races.With an initial amount of money,the player buys his first car without upgrades.
Will there be special community events for multiplayer?
AL: We will have ability to use multiplayer in LAN and on line through on line server dedicated for Gas Guzzlers: Combat Carnage multiplayer. Player will be able to create their own events, jump between the events and do all the stuff you usually use in online multiplayer. We plan to also make competitions which will be guided by Gamepires but let us leave this as a surprise for players.
Although the cars are the star of the show, will there be different driver personalities to choose from?
TP: Well we have one driver model but you can choose different skin and colour. Also drivers voice can be changed or completely switched off.
Can cars be customized outside of their original design? Will paint jobs, guns, car frames and such be open for modification?
TP: Yes. The cars will be customizable in certain parts such as paint jobs, stickers etc. Also you can change car plates (text and colors). The guns will be available for swap but no modifications as there would be no effect in the gameplay.
If you damage an opposing car enough, they are completely dropped from the race. Will this be a mechanic in multiplayer? If so, how can players get back into the race?
AL: If a player does not finish the game because his car is destroyed and he wishes to stay on the same game server he has to wait end of race to see the result. When the race finishes we return to the “multiplayer lobby screen” where you start new round. Of course all other player are always available to join.
When can players expect to get their hands on Gas Guzzlers?
TP: They can already purchase it with 20% discount on Gamefly, Impulsedriven and Cenega preorders and the full release which will include release on Electronic Arts digital download service Origin is about to come on the 18th of May. Sooo..be patient for a week or two. The carnage you have been waiting for so long is about to enter your living room :)
A big thanks to both Tomislav Pongrac and Andrej Levenski for taking the time to answer our questions! If you’re interested in trying out the beta, visit the Gas Guzzlers website to download the game.
Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.