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Project Gotham dev: How can we beat COD5?

"The focus for our new title," says lead designer Gareth Wilson of Bizarre's first Activision-funded game, "is how can we make a really, really big-selling racing game, something that people will buy over Call of Duty 5". Short of plastering cars, track and environment in scantily-clad girls with come-hither eyes, we're stumped. Fortunately, we don't design games.

"I worry that [racing games] might become an extremely niche area," Wilson continues, "unless we work out a way of making it become more mass market". So what can a developer do? Well, how about ganging up with four other racing game designers and having a good old chinwag?

That's what happened at an underground (well, we'll imagine it was for poetic purposes) go-kart racing track, recently, as Edge magazine rounded up the dev-team cream of the car-race genre to talk about the future of racing games. Their predictions? Not especially rosy, since, as Wilson's colleague Ged Talbot points out: "Most people don't like racing games". Right...

"All the research we've done says that hardcore simulators are selling less and less," chips in Gavin Raeburn, executive producer at Codemasters. So how the heck is a developer supposed to drum up interest, short of... no, hang on, we've done that joke.

"You've got to sell stuff that people want to buy into," believes Raeburn. "Damage, crashing, maiming - that's what people like. It's hard to sell 'being a racing driver'." So, with Bizarre Creations aiming at ensaring the mainstream gamer for its first Activision published title, we're expecting a lot more explosive appeal.

Get yourself a copy of issue 186 of Edge magazine, on sale February 14, for the full chat-o-feature, and learn about racing devs plans for force-feedback, AI, and proof that American gamers are simply far more aggressive and nasty than their team-play happy Japanese and European counterparts.

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