Where did you first get the idea to make a game about destruction derby?
We’d seen Ridge Racer, which was already out in Japan, but we hadn’t taken anything from it. The game was a result of a personal passion for stock-car racing. In the ’80s I’d go and watch it live, or on Grandstand or World Of Sport. The courses were little more than these muddy bowls, but the sport, back then, was quite well known.
As first-time PlayStation developers, what tools, if any, were available to you?
The first PlayStation development kits were about the size of a photocopier, but you couldn’t use them to build an intricate 3D mesh or a car model because the only way you could interact with them was with a game pad. They didn’t have a bespoke modelling tool either. So, Psygnosis provided us with a kit that came with a modelling tool, called Softimage. We used that to build the cars then ran the blank 3D models through our in-house texturing tool. It took a few days to build a model and you’d have to make a lot of optimisations to save polygons. True circular wheels, for example, would waste lots of polygons. The textures make them look circular but they actually aren’t.
Was there much secrecy around the console?
Our office had to be secure. We had to sign a lot of stuff. The people working directly on the machine had to be very clear about their obligations and any other companies they might be working for. But it was only natural. This was a machine that for years had been kept under lock and key in Japan, and suddenly it was in an office in Newcastle. It wasn’t an insignificant thing to be responsible for.