There's been plenty of speculation on exactly what caused DriveClub's delay. At the time, Sony blamed it on quality assurance, but the prolonged silence since the delay suggested that something was amiss.
Indeed, it's been a bumpy road to say the last, with Evolution facing redundancies while the game's release kept slipping further. Following yesterday's long-awaited release date reveal, Game Director Paul Rustchynsky admitted that it's been a "long and hard winter" and explained exactly why the game was delayed so long, missing its original release date by almost a year.
Apparently, the game's dynamic menu is to blame.
"The dynamic menu is key to how much fun you’re going to get out of the game because it is the glue that connects you to everyone else in the DRIVECLUB community," he explained. "Whenever you fire up the game; between every race you play, and when you log in to DRIVECLUB on your phone or tablet, the dynamic menu has to be slick to ensure your experience is seamlessly connected. Essentially it’s where you discover what to play, and who to play with."
"It's also absolutely vital to our ambition of growing a vibrant network of millions of connected clubs, who all share the excitement of driving amazing cars together. Whether they play just to have fun, or to complete every challenge and beat their rivals in every race, it's this connected community who will keep the game fresh and enjoyable well after launch, so it makes sense for the connectivity to be perfect.
"No racing title has ever combined the development of a socially charged, multiplatform dynamic menu with all the other connected online elements that DriveClub delivers. We know that what we are creating here is hugely ambitious and we're proud of the fact that we're getting close now because we're a relatively small studio. The progress we're making is great, so I'm looking forward to showing you more as development continues and prove that all the hard work has been worth it."
Of course, Evolution hasn't completely devoted the extra development time just to make a menu. The game's visuals are said to have been improved (albiet at hte cost of achieving 60fps, audio, which he describes as "state of the art," physics and clubs.
Speaking of which, clubs will now support up to 6 players instad of the originally intended 12, as Rustchynsky feels "the game is more fun with tightly-knit clubs and it paves the way for awesome six on six club races".
It's certainly been a long time coming, but from the evidence we've seen so far DriveClub should be well worth the wait, and there's plenty of time for Evolution to build anticipation again. "We appreciate that there's a lot of anticipation and excitement for everything that DriveClub promises to be, so we hope that you understand why we won't compromise on quality to rush it to you."