We’re going to do something a little different for Mad Tracks since its D3 Publisher’s first Xbox Live Arcade game. To get everyone up to speed about the title we have Denis Bourdain from Load Inc. to talk about it from the development side. After that we have a playtest in our first Play and Parlay feature article.
Siliconera: Even though Mad Tracks is out for PCs some people might not have heard of it. Can you explain Mad Tracks for our readers?
Denis Bourdain: Sure! It’s a toy car arcade game taking you from mini games to races. Our inspirations are various (like Mario Party or Micro Machines). You drive around in everyday environments, picking up a rocket or a cryogenic beam to slow down your friends. It’s a sharing experience, even if you can compete seriously, you always end up having fun playing Mad Tracks.
What kind of power up can players snag in Mad Tracks and how do they affect races?
From simple ones like oil drop or rocket to elaborate ones like the mortar (hitting the first one no matter where he is) to a time warp slowing the whole game down (including the music!!).
The impact each have is aimed at making sure no one is first very long. You will run into heavy barrels or pick up a fake one reversing your right and your left! If you’re last, you’ll get more powerful weapons J.
Are there any tips you can give to newbie racers trying Mad Tracks out for the first time?
In every race, there’s a second path…
Where did the concept for Mad Tracks come from?
We were hooked on Darda cars when we were kids. These pull back friction toy cars were the fastest and had very strong metal bodies. Since the license was not available, we tweaked it a little to make Mad Tracks.
What’s new in the Xbox 360 release that isn’t found in the PC version?
Almost everything excluding most level design. We revamped the graphical aspect, made new cars, redesigned all menus, added leader boards and achievements, made it Xbox Live and turned the game into an HDTV title.
Online play is one of the notable features in Mad Tracks. How difficult was it to set up online play over Xbox Live compared to developing it for the PC?
Sometimes the things that you don’t see are the hardest to build. The hard part of the Xbox Live is that any player should be able to play instantly without worrying about a thing. Requirements from Microsoft are numerous and pretty tricky to implement, but at the end of the day, we managed.
Has Load Inc. considered developing and releasing extra tracks or cars as downloadable content in the future?
We and D3Publisher of America (our co-publisher) are releasing two add ons called “Mad Tracks Encore” and “Mad Tracks Bravo” for end of June and end of July. We’ll see how the game is welcomed by the Xbox 360 community before we consider more add-ons (read: we’re already working on it!).
Mad Tracks recently got its final Xbox certification. Were there any challenges to earning the certification?
You can say that! I used to curse in the office almost everyday when checking the bug data base!!
It’s always a challenge to work on a new platform. Now we’re grand fathers of the 360. It’s going to be a lot easier for probable future titles. On top of that, the XBLA team wanted every game to be perfect and (along with their testing crew) are pushing our limits until we deliver something better. It’s a challenge, but once achieved, we get a lot of satisfaction.
Can you share any information about your next project?
I could, but then I’d have to kill you. And if you hear it’s a racing game, you didn’t hear it from me!
Thanks for the details Denis and keep us posted on your upcoming racing game project on the Xbox 360.