GTAIV Caused Midway To Add More Realism To The Wheelman
Midway first announced The Wheelman quite some time ago, and it was initially scheduled to launch in the latter part of this year. But it suffered a setback and is now scheduled to release in early 2009; we don't remember the specific reason for the delay, but it was nowhere near as detailed as this one.
In an interesting revelation, The Wheelman creative director, Simon Woodroffe, spoke to Videogamer.com about how the advent of Grand Theft Auto IV significantly changed the gamer's expectations in regards to a realistic open-world title. We distinctly remember first playing GTAIV and saying to ourselves, "damn, this is way more authentic than before; we'll really have to concentrate on control." Clearly, we weren't the only ones who recognized this, and hence, expectations changed. Here's what Woodroffe had to say:
"Our game was already quite different, but GTA 4 moved the bar in terms of what people expected from an open-world driving game. Before GTA 4, open-world driving games generally had more accessible, more arcade-like, handling. Even the previous GTAs were like that. But GTA IV moved the bar towards realism - even super-realism, you know?
At first I found it fairly frustrating, in comparison with Wheelman, but it was different enough to make us say, 'Look, people obviously want a more realistic experience. They don't want to be given things for free'. They want to feel like the ultimate driving hero, but they don't want to feel like they're being given it for nothing - otherwise there's no sense of accomplishment. We started to get feedback from our focus testers, within weeks of GTA 4 coming out, that the basic driving was dropping in popularity. It had gone from being the most highly rated element, to one of the lowest on the list. And I'm looking at this and thinking, 'There's only one reason for this. GTA 4 has changed gamers' expectations.'"
Woodroffe concluded by saying it was their job as developers to stay "up-to-date" with the wants and needs of the gaming public, so they worked to make Wheelman more realistic based on the feedback they received. Now, after they've made the appropriate physics changes, he says the game is "right on the money in terms of what people expect from an open-world racer." We can't be sure if The Wheelman will prove to be a must-play title, but it's always encouraging when devs learn from other devs. We'll certainly be interested to play the final product.
Related Game(s): The Wheelman
12/1/2008 Ben Dutka