Final Freeway 2R, David Pasca’s loving homage to SEGA’s classic arcade racer Outrun, is easily one of our favorite iPad games to come along in some time due to its retro-style graphics, tight controls, and incredible sense of speed. In fact, we liked it to much that we have it a 2D-X Excellence Award.
So how did Final Freeway 2R come into being? We spoke with the game’s creator, Davide Pasca (the founder and CEO at Newtype K.K./Oyatsukai Dev Team), about inspirations and the development process.
Outrun is an obvious inspiration for the Final Freeway series. What strides have you taken to separate your product from SEGA’s?
I’m not big on creating artificial gameplay and I like games to be simple. I like the Outrun experience and atmosphere, and I don’t think that that’s necessarily domain of a single game. It’s not unseen to drive a convertible under the baking sun and it’s fun, so why spoil that.
Nevertheless, we wanted to render the game a bit more personal and so we decided to introduce different drivers, each with different driving skills.
In so doing, we’re put more emphasis on the character and less on the car. This is in contrast to many other modern racing games, where it’s all about the ride, how much it costs, how fast it goes, and how pretty it looks with the supercharged chrome mapping effects.
We also added a challenger. It’s always the same guy, but he never gives up, and I like how that came up. It really kept me going for the days of testing that I had to endure before the release!
Why did you go with the retro arcade style instead of the more realistic sim approach?
I like both styles, but I always wanted to make a 2.5D racing game and I figured that this was the time. As an employee I could never dream of working on something like that, so here’s my revenge as an independent.
In a sense,I also felt that if I weren’t to do a game like this, then nobody else would have stepped up, and that’s another great motivator…knowing that you aren’t working on yet another racing game like many others on the App Store.
Is there much difference between developing on the iOS and Android platforms?
Our approach is to develop first and foremost on PC using C++. It takes more effort initially, but it pays back in the long run, because one doesn’t have to buy into any specific platform and isn’t forced to base all development on Apple or Google’s toolchains, which are, to put it kindly, less than optimal.
Unfortunately, to actually release an application on a platform it takes more effort. On iOS one has a few different resolutions and 2 aspect ratios to work with. On Android it’s a much more painful experience. Changing resolutions are not ideal but the real problems come from different hardware, graphics drivers, OS versions and user tweaks. On Android anything can and will happen during testing and after the release and that’s the real problem with it.
Are there any features that you wanted to include that were left on the cutting room floor?
There never was a master plan, so there isn’t something that I feel it’s really missing. Then again, releasing a game is always a compromise.
I, personally, did want to try and add a turbo feature. That may eventually make it in the game through an update, but it’ll be challenging to let the player both going extra fast and still managing to handle the car!
We also had some graphics ready for items to pick up on the road, coins and things of that sort. But we were short on time and we didn’t want to throw in a feature without spending enough time on it.
How long did it take you to develop the first game? The second game?
The first Final Freeway took roughly 4 months for the 1.0. I quit my job in April 2010 and I had the game on the App Store by the end of August. I started off a simple demo that I did 10 earlier, but I was totally new to the iOS platform.
For Final Freeway 2R, I’m not sure how long it took. Fractal Combat‘s first release and subsequent updates overlapped the development. But FF2R definitely required more effort, especially because the artist was involved from the start of the project. So, although we started off an existing game, the combined work between me and the artist and the musician was definitely more than for the first title.
What other games are you working on?
Right now, we’re working on a major update of Fractal Combat. We’d like to work on new titles, but we just can’t afford that. We must do the best of what we have and work through marketing and updating the current titles. In fact, FF2R still hasn’t made up the development costs and at this rate it looks like it may take a very long time for that to happen.
What are your favorite games of all time?
I don’t really have a few sure favorite games. In general, I like arcade games, and the only time I came close to an RPG it was when I had to work on it. I clearly liked very much Outrun, Afterburner II, Power Drift…most of the arcades from the ’80s were very inspiring, then Tekken, Ridge Racer, and the likes.
One game that I particularly liked on PC was Kingpin: Life of Crime. I liked it because it was crude, real and funny. It made fun of itself naturally, and that’s something that I’d like to see more in games.