It can't have been easy for Evolution Studios, just days before the launch of a game they've been hammering away at for the best part of two years, to hold back the release by two weeks to avoid causing unrest or emotional harm in the wake of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis that have ravaged the coast of Japan, mirroring events in their delayed title, Motorstorm Apocalypse, which depicts a world crumbling apart due to an onslaught of natural disasters. But according to game director Matt Southern, Evolution "did the right thing" in delaying the racer, with his first thoughts when he heard of the Japanese tragedy not for his game, but his Sony colleagues in Japan.
"I remember waking on the morning of the Friday, near the end of what was already a pretty heavy week gearing up for European release, switching on the news and being stunned," recounts Southern. "My first thought wasn't for the game, but for our Japanese producer and his family". Thankfully, the employee in question had survived the record earthquake and devastating tsunami waves. In fact, he emailed Southern to apologize and explain testing for Apocalypse would have to be suspended! "That sums him up, and his fellow countrymen – courageous, unflappable and so gracious, even in the face of such tragedy," said Southern, "It really put everything into perspective. We did the right thing when we decided to delay it".
Evolution could hardly have anticipated the release of their game - which pits races on the crumbling stages of cities enduring earthquakes, typhoons and twisters - would coincide with a similar, only real-world, natural disaster striking Japan. Indeed, it's a topic of much heavy debate as to why no-one, not even the best scientists in the world, could predict an off-the-scale earthquake was imminent.
But it can't have been an easy decision, as now the game's launch is forever marred by its connection to this indelible moment in history. Thankfully, Sony has now launched Motorstorm Apocalypse to the expectant masses, leaving a respectable two-week gap between the Japanese tragedy and the game's release. You can catch up on Brendan's review right here. [Eurogamer]