Although Gran Turismo fans may have expected a launch title along with the PlayStation 4 unveil, it was Evolution Studios that answered the call with Driveclub, game director Matt Southern told Polygon during a round table interview following the announcement.
"Obviously, I can't speak on behalf of [Polyphony]," Southern said. "We were asked to come up with a racer for new hardware. It's the fourth time we've been asked, and our answer is always, 'Shit, yeah!' We love that stuff. It's hard, but it's super, super exciting ... We came with a completely unfettered, uncompromised vision for the game that we wanted to make from the heart."
Driveclub is a new racing game that focuses on team-based play and social interaction — something that's a little different from typical titles in the genre.
"Racing, historically, has had one winner when you play together, and that's not particularly satisfying compared to other team-based online gaming experiences," Southern said. "We've had this vision for Driveclub for a very long time."
"They're not companions. They're a key part of the experience that we can all tap into."
Southern hopes that the more Driveclub is shown off, the more the team can demonstrate "how cool" it will be to race together in clubs.
"You know these things are called companion apps — its a really insulting name and makes it sound like it's this optional, trivial extension of the core experience," Southern said. "For us, Driveclub has real clubs that live across all or as many platforms and devices as possible. They're not companions. They're a key part of the experience that we can all tap into."
The company will continue to unveil different aspects of the game's core experience in the coming months. On the surface, the game appears to be very different from Evolution's previous work on the MotorStorm series that launched exclusively for PlayStation 3 in 2006. Unlike what we've seen of Driveclub, which seems to have a Gran Turismo-like focus on detail and a car's look, MotorStorm is about destruction and action. Vehicles remain battered during gameplay.
"[Driveclub is] very different to all of the racers, and at the same time really does draw on the heritage and pedigree of MotorStorm," Southern said. Speaking about Driveclub's cars, he explained that they contain "fully-functioning interiors."
"As the sun sets and the dashboard lights come on," Southern said, "you see the light suddenly reflected in the windscreen, and you show these to the guys that really make these cars — they've got just as much passion for what they do as we do for making virtual versions."
"There is something clearly very incredible about the way that people play games on those networks."
As far as the networking aspects, Southern says that social is a word that quickly becomes cliché, and developers must find their own angle. He believes that despite the general shrug or sigh that accompanies social networking platforms like Facebook, there's something important to be found.
"There is something clearly very incredible about the way that people play games on those networks compared to the way that people traditionally play online multiplayer console games," Southern said. "I mean, they are at right opposite ends of the spectrum. One is full of people who will humiliate you and insult you and embarrass you in real-time. And the other, and I think the key is because it's an asynchronous experience, feels incredibly welcoming, friendly and engaging, most of the time."
A trailer for Driveclub was released during Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2013. At the time of its unveiling, Southern said that the game's concept has existed within the studio for 10 years.