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U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors

Jonathan Lester
DriveClub, Evolution Studios, PS4 games, Sony

U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors

Over the last few months, we've typically associated Microsoft with utterly atrocious protracted reveal campaigns, whereas Sony have managed to get their message spot-on.

But Driveclub reminds us that Sony can still botch a PR campaign like an absolute champion.

Ever since the release date was confirmed for the busiest time of year, eleven months after its original launch window, things have been getting substantially worse for Evolution's delayed racer - not least because they keep getting caught massaging the truth or going back on previous statements in sensational style.

The latest debacle comes with the announcement that Driveclub will ship with plenty of microtransactions... after game director Paul Rustchynsky described them as a "plague" and promised that Driveclub wouldn't feature them at all. Oh dear.

U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors

"Rushy" Rustchynsky previously blasted the idea of microtransactions in a tweet about Trials Frontier, mincing none of his words in the process. It's well-deserved since Trials Frontier is an abusive economy, so we were pleased to see Rushy deliver a strongly-phrased statement while pledging to keep Driveclub free of nasty extra payments.

U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors


Moving on, and Evolution Studios has revealed that Driveclub will feature shortcut DLC in large amounts, designed to let players unlock every specific car in the game without grinding up the requisite amount of 'fame'...

...wait, what?

"In Driveclub you earn Fame, and as you earn Fame, you level up," Rustchynsky told IGN. "Every time you level up, we give you another car. There's no double gating or anything along those lines, you're given the car straight away without having to do anything else. The only thing we do have is a couple of shortcuts.

"If you want to unlock a car immediately, you can pay to unlock that car straight away but it's not a consumable microtransaction," he continued. "We don't let people buy Fame, for example and spend lots and lots. The idea is if you want to shortcut things you can do - it's identical to what we did in Motorstorm RC. So if you played that, you know what we're doing here."

U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors

Okay. Though you could pedantically argue that shortcut DLC is very different from Trials Frontier's swathe of currency transactions (thus making Rushy's original tweet valid), it still boils down to paying to avoid grinding away at a progression system that's deliberately designed to withhold content for an extended length of time... unless you pay. Before you leap to the defence, consider that microtransactions are only necessary in a game that actively encourages you to grind or sink an extraordinary amount of effort into unlocking things - as opposed to featuring a smooth progression curve, boasting freely-unlocked playground modes or allowing gamers to use cheat codes.

Forza 5 came under similar criticism for its appalling economy at launch, before Turn10 reduced the price of its 200+ cars - comparing surprisingly favourably to DriveClub's 50 vehicles.

Plus, you know, yet another full-priced game is getting micro-transactions, whereas Frontier is free to play. We still don't know if the PS+ version will allow access to these extra payments -- if it does, it could be a neat way of cherry-picking a couple of cars without splurging on the full game -- but even then the whole thing seems more than a little hypocritical.

U-Turns, Lies & Microtransactions - DriveClub's Comedy Of Errors

This is just the latest in a string of high-profile controversies, mixed messages and frankly silly decisions that Driveclub's top brass rolled out over the last few weeks. Let's recap, shall we?

The release date was confirmed... eleven months after its original launch window at a ridiculous time of year.

The PS Plus edition is basically a demo... despite Sony promising that "the PS Plus version will be the exact same as the full version, except that it may be missing a few assets such as cars or tracks, that will be found in the full version" last year. Clearly their definition of "few" is different to ours.

The discounted PlayStation Plus upgrade offer was neat way of saving a few quid on the digital version... yet Sony confirmed that access to your $50 purchase would immediately cease if your subscription lapsed. They since U-turned on the decision, but the fact that it was made in the first place makes us wonder if they can actually discern arses from elbows.

The locked 30FPS frame rate, reduced club player size (12 to 6) and fifty car limit come as a bit of a disappointment too, though we don't doubt that Driveclub will be a decent game.

That's the thing. Despite troubled development, Evolution Studios know how to make great racing games - and there's been some good news in here too. We can manually use KERS in the top-flight McLarens. The tracks are built around fun and enjoyment first and foremost.  So let's hope -- if not actually pray -- that the finished product is eventually decent enough to make all this embarrassing omnishambles a distant memory.

Let me know if it is. I'll be playing The Crew.

Add a comment4 comments
norbert77  May. 13, 2014 at 17:31

"Let me know if it is. I'll be playing The Crew."

Lol... not heard about "The Crew"'s crippling microtransacions then ?
Enjoy paying per mile, you butthurt xbot fanboy

AlexHerrada  May. 13, 2014 at 18:33

DriveClub was a train wreck from the very beginning.

A 30fps train wreck

Lolllllll  May. 13, 2014 at 20:52

straw grasping, the article

"they didn't REALLY lie about anything but we're going to nitpick anyway!"

okay. the crew looks fugly btw

JonLester  May. 14, 2014 at 09:58

Ooh, fun.

@norbert: I'm excited about The Crew (which will release on PS4, you oddly defensive chap, likely as the lead platform) because it's trying to do something different and exciting. At least Ubi didn't hypocritically pretend that they were against MTs and then implement anyway.

However, if the economy is genuinely abusive, then The Crew will receive an even more severe lashing. See, that's kinda how we do things around here - we call it how we see it on a game-by-game basis, when they get something right or screw up as badly as Driveclub's PR campaign.

@Lolllllll: Seems like finding, picturing and linking to official tweets/statements saying one thing, then pointing out that Evolution did the opposite, isn't exactly grasping at straws - no?

Last edited by JonLester, May. 14, 2014 at 10:53

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