After years of having to deal with petulant games journalists, vocal forum members and an increasingly fussy buying public, we’re not surprised that more and more developers are turning to us and saying “Fine! You don’t like what we’ve done? Why don’t you do it yourself, then?” After all, if we are given the responsibility of creating the game, we’re going to make ours absolutely perfect, right?
This is where we put our hands up and say “no”. We’re staring at our little blank, naked kart racer with a head like a boiled egg and we’ve got ‘developer’s block’. We’ve got a blank canvas, endless opportunities and we don’t know what to do. It doesn’t help that ModNation Racers’ brief beta trial showed how clever you could be if your mind worked quick enough; Kratos, Kermit the Frog, Spider-Man, Captain America, a Killzone soldier, Mario, Sonic. If you’ve thought of it, chances are somebody has already made it.
Even if you haven’t, you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it first. In the end we created our version of The Stig (easy, already been done better), Chun Li (took ages, looked crap, already been done) and internet meme Techno Viking (but only because we started with the beard). Equally bereft of innovative ideas, we also managed to cobble together a kart that sported last years’ Brawn F1 livery, a rusted, ‘rat look’ muscle car and, er, a camouflaged school bus. MNR’s potential stretches far further than the creator’s imagination…
In case you haven’t worked it out already, MNR is a Do It Yourself arcade kart racing game in the vein of LittleBigPlanet. From your Modspot (read: hub) you’ll be able to access the Career Mode, which serves as a tutorial, inspiration and method to unlock pieces for the other part of MNR – the Creation Station. It’s here where you create drivers, karts and, more importantly, tracks to use for yourself or share with the online world. Modspot will also be the place to start multi-player races, ogle some of the clever creations other people have made and be teased with premium content so you can pay money for new shoes and moustaches. It sounds like a lot to take in but don’t worry – the editing tools are the most accessible and intuitive to date.
Unlike LBP, which can rely heavily on a gamers’ knowledge of intricate mechanics and physics, MNR is – at its most basic level – is easy as drawing a loop. While LBP might require countless elements before you have manufactured an entertaining and barely functional level, MNR excels because creating a functional raceway is idiot proof. If you can make a track with a slot-cars kit, you can make a race-worthy circuit in MNR. With the added bonus of not having to hunt around for a missing corner piece or needing to replace metal brushes.