With Namco's Moto GP 4 just around the corner Climax have their work cut out if they are to match it. We've been playing Namco's effort recently and this year they have really thrown the gauntlet down to Climax. We chat with them to see how they are going with responding to the challenge.
Moto GP has always been seen as one of the premiere Xbox titles. Why do you think that is, and why do you think a game which is traditionally a niche genre, has made it so big?
Climax: I think this is mostly down to the quality of the bike physics. While initially fairly easy to pick up, there's a lot of depth in there that rewards practice and gives a huge amount of replay value. A lot of players got involved in MotoGP because of our award-winning Live implementation, but that's really just the icing on the cake: if the core gameplay wasn't so much fun, nobody would care how good the online lobby is!
For the first time, you're adding tracks and races outside of the actual Moto GP championship. Why was this decision made and do you think it will affect the authenticity of the game in a Moto GP fans eyes?
Climax: Street racing is cool. We already had 16 real world tracks, and to be honest once you have that many, there isn't a whole lot of point just adding more of the same. The new tracks are extremely different in feel, adding some fresh variety to the gameplay.
I don't think this will affect the authenticity at all. If people want to experience a simulation of the real GP season, they can still play through GP mode exactly as before. But now they have the option to take this same great physics out into some different types of environment as well.
What is the biggest new feature over Moto GP 1 and 2?
Climax: I think all the new tracks. There is a truly ridiculous amount of content in this game!
Can you give a brief explanation of the embedded gameplay feature - Will players unlock bikes etc quicker if they play against humans or is it just a case of being there if someone wants to use it as opposed to AI riders? If a person is on Live while playing single player, is this forced upon the player?
Climax: Nothing is forced on you. If you want to play offline, you can do that, but if you want to play online, you can unlock better bikes and more rider experience that way, too. It's entirely up to you.
The rate at which you unlock goodies depends on the skill of whoever you beat. If you keep winning against rookie mode AI riders, or spend all your time racing against newbies on Live, you aren't going to earn all that much, but if you manage to beat the Legend mode AI, or one of the top ranked Live players, you can get a load of stuff all in one go.
The commentator mode is one of the most unique modes seen in a racing game to date. How exactly does it work and what stops everyone just commentating on the race?
Climax: Only one person gets to commentate at a time, and the host chooses who that will be. So you have to all agree and set this up in advance.
What is your favourite track in the game and why?
Climax: I think the new Malaysia Extreme track. It's incredibly fast (reminds me a bit of Phillip Island), looks gorgeous, and generally just good fun.
With a brand new extreme mode this time around, can people expect real tracks such as the isle of man or are they completely fictional?
Climax: They are loosely based on real locations, but the track layouts tuned for gameplay rather than trying to exactly copy anything in particular.
What graphical enhancements has MGP3 got over the first two games?
Climax: The lighting has been much improved, using per pixel effects and normal mapping on the riders and tarmac surface. There's neon for the night time Tokyo level, a great new water effect, depth of field in replays…
How has the multiplayer changed since MGP2?
Climax: Probably the biggest improvement is the spectator mode, so you can watch the race rather than just having to sit and wait in the lobby if you join while a game is already in progress.
It's also cool that the hardcore Live players can unlock everything by playing online, so you are no longer forced to play the singleplayer game if you don't want to.
The livery editor is improved from MotoGP2, too.
What does the governing body of MGP think about the game especially when compared to Namco's effort?
Climax: Not really my place to comment on that: you'd have to ask them!
Thanks to Climax for their time.