During a recent interview with Metro, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe president and CEO, Jim Ryan, seemed fairly reluctant to talk about the state of the announced Driveclub PS Plus Edition, which was meant to be free to all PS Plus subscribers and should have been released alongside the launch of the boxed version of the game last October.
When pushed on the subject of whether the free version of the game would ever see the light of day, he simply replied with: “That’s still being looked at. I can’t say anything at this stage.” He did, however, elaborate on the publisher handled the situation once it became clear that Driveclub’s launch was having issues (to put it mildly) – and claimed that it was made a priority.
“Everybody in this building [referring to the Sony Europe HQ in London] and in the development community was absolutely distraught,” he said. “I don’t think anybody should labor under the opinion that there was any feeling of insouciance or anybody being relaxed about that being the case.
“People were working 24/7, and that’s an expression that’s lightly used but people were working 24/7 trying to fix this. Now, should the game have worked at launch? Of course. Should people pay £50 for something and expect it to work? Of course.
“I think one thing that the industry appears to have misjudged in the generational transition – where there’s a lot spoken about moving to a more straightforward PC architecture that should make it easy for developers to come to terms with next gen and all of that – is I think the massively enhanced online ambitions a lot of developers and publishers have identified as one of the opportunities of next gen, appear to have been way more technically challenging than anyone realized.”
Driveclub‘s online launch problems were widely reported at the time, but playing the game now is a very different story. Thanks to a raft of updates which stabilized the game’s online component – the main focus of the game – and added features such as dynamic weather, Driveclub finally works as intended. The racing game also has a dedicated and passionate player community, rather than petering out shortly after release – a problem which often plagues multiplayer-focused games.