How PS5’s Destruction AllStars Keeps Combat Fun, In and Out of Vehicles
PS5 exclusive and February PlayStation Plus game Destruction AllStars is a car combat game filled with several modes designed to let you cause as much destruction as possible. It’s also designed to let players get out of their cars, and run around on foot as one of a number of different hero characters. Keeping both types of gameplay fun, connected, and meaningful was a key component of Lucid Games’ development on AllStars, and it’s something that’s been core to the new game since its earliest days.
“The characters were in from month one of development,” Game Director Colin Berry told IGN in an interview ahead of AllStars’ launch.
And to create those heroes, who were most recently highlighted in AllStars’ State of Play presentation, Lucid and Sony XDEV actually wanted to make these characters from around the world respectful and authentic to where they were based.
“We contacted a bunch of artists from around the world who don’t work in video games, [people who work in] comic book, graphic novels, and so on. And we gave them a really simple brief of the game and what we thought these characters would be like in terms of personality,” Sony XDEV Senior Producer John MacLaughlin told IGN. “We contacted so many different people from around the world; South America, Africa, Japan, the Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe, and we got this wild, eclectic bunch of art through with these characters.”
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And those concepts found their way into the game thanks to the many diverse artists – key aspects of character designs like Genesis, who has blades instead of legs, came from the imagination of the artists rather than as mandates from the development team.
And while players will spend plenty of time behind the wheel as these characters, one of AllStars’ unique hooks is letting players jump out of their cars and run around on foot. Able to pull off unique hero moves, some impressive parkour, and more, playing as these characters is integral to the experience, and pretty much always was throughout development. Though it definitely took some tuning to get the on-foot gameplay right.
“For quite a while in the project, we had a really good sense of what the play is like in a vehicle. We want the vehicles to be super agile, even the heavy ones are more agile than you’d see in a racing game,” Berry explained. “Now we’ve got characters [and] we can’t just have them vulnerable because then it’s going to be no fun. But we can’t have them too powerful. We’re not going to give them rocket launches because that’s a completely different game. So we need them to be these hyper-real athletic characters.”
And as the team discovered how to weave the character and vehicle gameplay together so they went hand-in-hand, it helped the team also understand how to build arenas that would suit both types of gameplay without ever letting one get too far away from the other in the multiplayer-focused experience.
[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=%E2%80%9CWe%20didn’t%20want%20to%20separate%20the%20characters%20from%20the%20vehicle%20too%20much.%22″]“We didn’t want to separate the characters from the vehicle too much. We didn’t want skyscrapers, even though that could be cool to climb to the top of and dive into the arena, because while you’re climbing a skyscraper, climbing’s quite solitary,” Berry explained. “If you’ve got 16 characters and four of them are out of the vehicles and they’re climbing up a skyscraper, they’re not really involved in a multiplayer game at that stage.”
Berry explained how, while the early test versions of levels could be quite large and quite tall, Lucid did work to scale the arenas into more focused combat zones to keep players, both in and out of vehicles, as connected to the combat at all times as possible.
Players can see this for themselves now, as Destruction AllStars is available on PS5 and is included in this month’s PS Plus lineup. For more on the new PS5 exclusive, learn about why Destruction AllStars’ delay helped set it up for a PS Plus launch, and stay tuned to IGN for more on the new game.
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Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor, host of Podcast Beyond!, and PlayStation lead. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.