Split/Second: Velocity

James Batchelor

Split/Second: Velocity

Disney interactive shifts its presence in the racing market up a gear with Split/Second: Velocity, amid a hail of acclaim from games journalists for its unique take on the racing genre.

The game is set within the world of a fictional reality TV show whereby drivers must trigger explosive events that can alter the track or take out opponent’s vehicles.
Disney Interactive is confident the game will prove to be a success at retail.

“Our expectations are that Split/Second: Velocity will be a success both commercially and critically,” says product manager James Thornby.

“It is a quality title developed by one of the best studios, innovation is key and it expands beyond the racing genre with epic action sequences rivalling the best games and entertainment media.

“Consumers will get a game packed full of thrills that they can’t put down.”

Disney has been successful at launching new franchises in the past, including family-friendly action titles Club Penguin and off-road racer Pure, which was well-received by the press and featured in an Xbox 360 console bundle from Microsoft last Christmas.

Pure was also produced by the same development team that worked on Split/Second, Black Rock Studio, and received an average review score of 85 on aggregator website Metacritic, putting the new racer in good stead.

SPLITTING GENRES

Split/Second pushes the racing genre to the limit with its blend of movie-like action sequences and fast-paced racing. Players can detonate bridges rigged with explosives, dodge crash-landing planes and even cause a meltdown on the course which runs through a power plant.

Players can race in 12 episodes across five locations including an airport, docks and power plant. The ability to alter the scenery means there are multiple routes throughout each track, with 72 unique events to discover in total.

The game also boasts a range of modes such as Race, Detonator – pitting players against the track as cinematic events occur by themselves – and Survival, where gamers must avoid explosive barrels and drone cars to stay on the track for as long as possible.

After building up a power bar, drivers can gain access to Split/Second’s unique ‘Power Plays’ – items or points on the track which can change the pace of the race. This can be a simple boost via a shortcut in the track or an explosion which destroys an entire building, blocking the path of other drivers.

Thornby adds: “Black Rock is doing something completely different in the racing genre and is moving away from the fixation on hyper-realistic driving simulations by creating a completely different gameplay experience.

“There is an incredible level of depth, diversity and innovation in the gameplay, some of which has never been seen in the genre.

“I believe we have the real difference in the genre, from a studio that has won the E3 racing award two years running.”

RETAIL POWER

Split/Second has already received a number of awards, including E3 2009’s prestigious Game Critics Award for best racing game.

“Split/Second: Velocity is a key summer release for us, not only because it is such a high quality title, but because unlike some of our more family orientated titles like The Princess and the Frog, Split/Second has an additional core gamer appeal,” comments Thornby.

“Most importantly this game embodies the innovation, quality and pure entertainment that you will continue to see in our releases planned later in the year.”

With Black Rock’s established racing game pedigree, Disney’s strong back record and the game’s mass appeal, Split/Second is ready to drive its way into retailers as a mutli-platform success.

Thornby adds: “Reception from the media has been fantastic and we are just getting first feedback on reviews, which are looking resoundingly positive and will create a drive to purchase.

“We had no doubts about the quality of the game and the reaction from consumers who have played the game has been fantastic.”

Split/Second: Velocity will be released for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on May 21st.

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