In a recent Metro interview with Sony Europe President/CEO Jim Ryan, he was unable to guarantee that the PS Plus version of DriveClub will ever be released.
Metro: And… is there still going to be the free PlayStation Plus version?
Jim Ryan: That’s still being looked at.
Metro: You can’t guarantee that it will ever happen?
Jim Ryan: I can’t say anything at this stage.
Well, that doesn't sound good does it? DriveClub was originally planned to be a launch game for the PS4, but was delayed numerous times before its eventual release last year. The game was also originally supposed to be released for free on PS Plus, but as time went by, it emerged that the PS Plus version would be a slimmed down version of the game featuring only the India-based tracks.
When DriveClub launched, it was beset by online issues that completely broke the entire online side of the game. Forget multiplayer races, you couldn't even get the Challenges to work for weeks after launch. And despite the experience being much more stable now -aside from the ridiculous penalty system- it looks like the free PS Plus version may never come into existence as it's encountered multiple issues during development.
So if developers Evolution can't get a smaller version of their own game to work. What does that tell you about the one currently on shop shelves? But should you care? Does it matter? Well, yes and no.
The full version of DriveClub can now be bought for less than £20 on a regular basis and the price will continue to fall over time if you really want to play it and as I said in my DriveClub review, it's undeniably gorgeous and the track design is excellent. But if the developers are struggling so much to get the PS+ version in a suitable state, do we really want it as a freebie? Not to mention it's essentially just a big demo for the full game. The India tracks are pretty damn great if I'm honest, but they only represent a small gamut of the game's track types.
It's important to remember that there will be racing fans that bought into PS+ (and maybe even PS4) especially for DriveClub and so far they've had no sign of the game they were originally promised and if they bought the full-priced version they were rewarded with a broken game with no online connectivity for weeks and a network that has proved unstable on multiple occasions in general, including a recent cyber attack over Christmas (to be fair, Microsoft were also attacked during the holidays).
So should we just forget about it? Well no, Sony still need to make amends. How do they do this? The simple version is to put something on PS+'s Instant Game Collection that makes gamers forget about ever looking forward to DriveClub. And no, I certainly don't mean just give us the full version of DriveClub for free (although I admit, this is looking increasingly likely).
As great as the small indie titles have been in recent months, the PS Plus offerings have been a bit low key in recent months. Nothing's been AAA quality on PS4, with only Infamous: First Light coming to mind. So what's it going to take to make us forget about DriveClub? A free download of Killzone: Shadow Fall? Knack (seriously Sony, this would not help)? Or maybe something a bit fancier. The Last of Us: Remastered? GTA V on PS4? We can dream right?
DriveClub on PS Plus started off as a great idea, a free AAA racing game for loyal subscribers. But over time, what it would actually be diminished into something much less. Frankly, we don't need it any more. Project Cars looks like a real contender and we've no room for sub-standard games. As long as Sony can save some face by making up for it, we can finally put the whole thing to rest.