DriveClub should have been the PS4's premium racing title at launch. Instead, it was a colossal car crash, with crippling online server issues that have been documented to death. Speaking to IGN, PlayStation UK boss Fergal Gara has admitted both the company and Evolution Studios is "embarrassed" over the debacle, using it as a pertinent reminder of why games should always be delayed if they're not up to scratch.
Indeed, it's ironic that DriveClub's failure to deliver a connected social experience at launch heavily contradicts with Sony's "4ThePlayers" slogan, which Gara alludes to: "It’s a disappointment," he said. "When you lay your soul out as being '4ThePlayers', then what you certainly don’t want is games that are not fully ready. It certainly wasn’t any ill-intention on behalf of the team. It’s ambitious as a game; they’re as embarrassed as we are and all you can do in those situations is say sorry."
As a result, the team is understandably hesitant to unleash the still unreleased PlayStation Plus version: "We apologise to any players affected and are doing our damndest to make things right. So that’s what we’ve been doing and the game is pretty near-complete now. We don’t want to introduce the PS Plus Edition until we’re confident the servers can take the load."
"Unleashing it on the millions of PS Plus users is the next step, but we want confidence in the capacity and concurrency figures. I’ll say again: we apologise and are trying to sort it, and we’ll hopefully learn from it so we see it less in future."
Interestingly, some have criticised Evolution for not further delaying DriveClub to avoid the situation – despite it already being released a year later than originally intended. "[Delays] are always frustrating, and it’s certainly never our intention to sell a false promise," he continues. "You work with the best information available at the time. It’s the right decision to delay but, of course, to delay and then have issues is certainly not ideal, but it’s better than releasing a broken game."
"I really believe it’s year two when you tend to see those titles come through that start to define the whole generation. The best is yet to come on PS4. We’ve seen a brilliant start with the mega-franchises, like the FIFAs, Call of Duties and the Assassin’s Creeds, but we’ve also seen some strong new IPs launch – the likes of Destiny and Watch Dogs. But I think that the ones that are truly to define the generation are probably still to come, to be honest."
"I mean you look back and there wasn’t really a truly memorable title on PlayStation until ’96, so a good year after the European launch and getting on for two years after the Japanese launch. It shows that it does take some time for a platform to mature and for developers to make the best of it. In fact, you look at PS3, two of the highest-rated games of the entire cycle came in the last year with The Last of Us and GTA 5. So it’s a great sign of how things can progress over several years."
Fortunately, DriveClub has been getting back on track lately – not only are the servers finally stable at the time of playing, but new content has reinvigorated interest in the stalled racer, with the release of free DLC, a photo mode and awe-inspiring weather effects. Look out for our full review coming soon on the TeamVVV site.